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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Therapeutic Value of Different Foods >>  Beans and Legumes >>  Soybeans


Soybeans have been cultivated for more than 3,000 years in china now, however it is gaining importance in west in the recent years. All the varieties of this legume are available year round. Soybean is considered a complete protein food and it is rich in protein, vitamins and minerals like potassium, folate, fiber, manganese, magnesium, vitamin K, riboflavin, isoflavones, iron and copper.

Health promoting benefits of soy

  1. Soy and soy products are successfully used as a meat substitute for various culinary purposes. One cup of soybeans would give 57.2% daily value for protein with just the cost of 300 calories and 2.2g of saturated fats.
    Soy has good fats or omega 3 fats that help lower cholesterol, reduce platelet stickiness and decrease platelet aggregation (1 cup soy gives 41.2% daily value for omega 3 fatty acids). Besides proteins and omega 3 fats, same amount of soybeans would also provide 49.1% daily value for iron and 37% daily value for magnesium.
  2. Genistein are the isoflavone compounds present in soy that produce fewer and smaller fat cells and helps us to remain lean.
  3. In a recent study soybean consumption has been related to lower blood pressure, both diastolic and systolic pressure in men. Also it not only helps lower total cholesterol, but also increases HDL cholesterol significantly in middle aged men. In many other studies soy protein has been shown to decrease the risk of getting heart disease by lowering total cholesterol by 30%, LDL cholesterol by 35-40% (and produce larger LDL molecules which are less harmful) and raise HDL cholesterol significantly. Soy proteins are also responsible for increasing the nitric oxide levels in the blood which helps improve dilation of blood vessels and decreases oxidative stress by scavenging the free radicals. Moreover the fiber from soybeans is also an important medium to lower the blood cholesterol and maintain blood sugar levels in the body.
  4. Soybeans are important foods for post-menopausal women as they help to maintain the heart and bone health along with decreasing the risk of breast cancer and menopausal symptoms in them.
  5. Soybean is the best legume choice for people with diabetes as the proteins and fiber in it helps to prevent high sugar spikes by keeping the blood sugar levels in control. Besides diabetes is more often associated with high blood pressure and heart diseases, soy proteins is also been proved beneficial in these conditions.
  6. Soy protein is optimal for a healthy life and reduced the risk of colon and prostate cancer too. Choose minimally processed soy products like soy milk, tofu, whole soy flour or tempeh to gain maximum health benefits of all the nutrients and isoflavones.
  7. Soybeans are included under the foods that contain oxalates and also contain goitrogens that tend to interfere with thyroid gland functioning. Many people can also get allergic reaction to soy and its products so it is wise to consume soy in these conditions with caution.
Submitted on January 16, 2014