Maïa Baudelaire sheds some light on the benefits of soybeans.
Even if you’re not a vegetarian, soy is nutritious and an important food item which everyone should consider integrating into their diet. Possessing abundant nutritional qualities and existing in multiple forms (tofu, milk, flour and soy beans), it can easily be used as a substitute for meat.
Soy is an important source of protein containing 38g per 100g (against 30g in 100g of beef). These proteins have a nutritional quality similar to those found in meat. Soy is therefore the ideal food for those looking for meat substitutes.
The fats found in soy are polyunsaturated and are considered “good” fats. While meat is richer in “bad” fats, soy’s polyunsaturated fats are essential in maintaining a healthy brain.
Soy also has a cholesterol-lowering role, with the ability to decrease the levels of “bad” cholesterol without reducing the level of “good” cholesterol in blood.
It also contains special hormones known as isoflavones that aid hormonal balance on a small-scale.
Many studies have demonstrated the positive impact of soy on cardiovascular disease. This results from its cholesterol-lowering capabilities that eliminate some of the “bad” cholesterol, often found in arteries.
Research has also shown that soy has protective qualities against breast and prostate cancers. Scientists have attributed this to the two hormone compounds found in soy (genistein and daidzein) that reduce the effects of oestrogen on breast and prostate tissues.
Finally, some studies have revealed the protective effects of soys’ isoflavones against osteoporosis. Research has shown that isoflavones can slow down the process of bone loss and even increase its strength. But these capabilities are still somewhat contested and require additional experiments.
In general, we consume far too many animal products rich in bad fats. It is thereby essential to increase our consumption of vegetable products to benefit from their protective effects against cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancers. Replacing meat with soy once a week is a good start!