Is Soy Good For Health?

Panaimaram

Is soy good for health? There is quite a debate about the efficiency of soy and it's one of the most controversial foods in the world. For some people, it might be a superfood while for some, a hormone-disrupting poison. Let's decode it here.

Soy is majorly consumed in two ways - whole soybeans and soya chunks.

Soya chunks are made from soy flour from which fat has been extracted in the form of soybean oil. The soy flour is then compressed and processed into chunks.

Soy flour is obtained from ground soybeans that are known to bring moisture to baked goods, and provide the basis for some soymilks. Soybeans are legumes that must be cooked before eating as they can be poisonous when eaten raw.

Soybeans are used in tofu and various other dairy substitutes. It's also used in miso, tempeh and natto.

In 100 grams of boiled, whole soybeans, there are ample amounts of manganese, copper, potassium, selenium, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, calcium, vitamin B6, thiamine, vitamin K, folate and riboflavin.

This exact gram of soybeans also contains 173 calories, 9 grams of fat, 17 grams of protein and 10 grams of carbohydrates.

Soybeans are packed with omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and a high intake of this fatty acid could lead to inflammation and all sorts of health issues. That's the reason it's very important to consume it optimally.

Soybeans are rich in micronutrients, and they also contain phytates which block absorption of the minerals.

Soya chunks contain a range of important nutrients with 50 per cent of protein. Though the quantity of protein isn't as good as meat and eggs, it is better than most plant proteins.

Soybeans are an important source of protein, they are the building blocks of cells and blood vessels. Proteins from soybeans ensure good health and regrowth of cells by repairing them. For vegetarians, it is difficult to get sufficient amount of protein, so soybeans is an excellent source of plant protein.

Soybeans have enormous amounts of antioxidants that prevent the onset of various cancers. It neutralizes free radicals which are the by-products of cellular metabolism and these free radicals give rise to deadly cancerous cells. Cancers like colorectal or colon cancer can be reduced if soybeans are consumed as they contain high fibre that eases the digestive process.

Soybeans are good for weight loss as they have been associated with suppressing appetite and prevents the urge to overeat. They are also high in fibre and decent amounts of protein which can help in gaining weight if eaten in large quantities. Therefore, soybeans are beneficial in both ways - to gain or lose weight.

Soybeans are full of unsaturated fat that lowers your cholesterol and this prevents conditions like atherosclerosis (the build-up of fats, cholesterol on the artery walls) which can lead to heart attack and stroke. Soybeans are also packed with two types of fatty acids - linoleic acid and linolenic acid that help in maintaining stable blood pressure levels and regulates smooth muscle functioning in the body.

One of the health benefits of soybeans is that it is rich in fibre which regulates the digestive system and ensures its smooth functioning. It stimulates the contraction of the smooth muscles that push food through the system. Fibre bulks up your stool, making it easier to pass through the digestive system.

Copper and Iron are the two most important minerals found in soybeans which are necessary for the formation of red blood cells. The right count of red blood cells in the body will prevent anaemia and increase energy levels too.

Soybeans have vitamins like Vitamin B2 & K and mineral content such as calcium, copper, selenium, magnesium and zinc which are vital for bone growth and speeds up the healing process of the bones. Consuming soybeans can prevent osteoporosis due to the presence of these nutrients.

For men, 25-30 grams of protein can come from soya chunks as this will not raise the oestrogen levels in the body, which is a common side effect of soya chunks(if consumed in excess). Consumption of 70-80 grams of protein from soy-based products will increase the oestrogen and decrease testosterone in the body.

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