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Nutrition- What makes soy tick?

By Vision Reporter

Added 12th July 2009 03:00 AM

SOYBEANS (soya) are considered complete proteins because they are the only common plant that contains all the essential amino acids in the amounts needed for good health.

SOYBEANS (soya) are considered complete proteins because they are the only common plant that contains all the essential amino acids in the amounts needed for good health.

By Rachel Bahika

SOYBEANS (soya) are considered complete proteins because they are the only common plant that contains all the essential amino acids in the amounts needed for good health.

Animal protein contained in foods such as meat, poultry, milk, cheese and eggs has saturated fat and cholesterol, whereas protein from vegetable sources does not.

By substituting animal protein with soy foods, you can lower the amount of calories and fat you consume.

Soybeans are rich in iron, zinc, phosphorus, Vitamin B, omega 3 fatty acids and fibre. Soy is good for a healthy heart, strong bones, prevention of cancer and lessens menopausal symptoms.

Soybeans produce special compounds called phytochemicals, which prevent disease. Soy also has a group of special compounds called phytoestrogens.

These chemicals, along with the fibre found in soy, reduce bad cholesterol.

Soy lowers the risk of osteoporosis, a bone disease, by helping the body retain calcium.

Bone health
Many soy foods are high in calcium. Soy also contains magnesium and boron, which are important co-factors of calcium, an essential nutrient for bone health.

Intake of soy foods is associated with a lower risk of fractures, particularly among early post-menopausal women.

Diets high in animal protein cause more calcium to be excreted in urine. Replacing animal protein with soy protein prevents calcium loss from bones.

Menopausal symptoms
Soy helps lessen symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats caused by low estrogen levels because estrogens play a role in controlling body temperature.

Heart diseases
Research reveals that soy prevents heart disease by reducing cholesterol and preventing plaque build-up in the arteries, which could lead to stroke or heart attack. It also increases the flexibility of blood vessels.

Cancer
Studies have indicated that a regular intake of soy foods prevents hormone-related cancers such as breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer.

Soy products
Products such as soybeans, soy beverages or powder, soy flour, soybean oil, soy milk, soy yoghurt, tofu, soynuts and soy sauce contain the essential amino acids.

The writer is a nutritionist

Nutrition- What makes soy tick?

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