Benefits Of A Soy Protien Diet

Describes the health benefits of using soy as a dietary supplement. Also includes information on common soy food products and how they are used.

For years, food products derived from soy have been included as staples on the culinary tables of the people's residing in countries such as China, Indonesia, and Japan. More recently, western countries have been exploring the use of soy in cooking, specifically because studies have been performed that indicate that the use of soy in a person's diet has many health benefits. These benefits include the following: aids in the prevention of breast, colon, prostate and uterine cancer, aids in the prevention of heart disease, aids in the prevention of menopausal ailments, lowers cholesterol, and contributes to the general well-being of the intestinal tract. In addition, soy products provide a high content of protein and calcium. Some soy products also contain mineral traces such as iron, magnesium, selenium and zinc, which are recommended dietary supplements.

Currently, you can purchase soy products at many larger supermarket chains and at specialty health and organic grocery stores. Products available for purchase include whole soybeans, soybean oil, soy flour, soy milk, textured soy protein, soy protein isolates, soy protein concentrate, miso, tempeh, and tofu. You can also purchase many products that are made with soy as an ingredient. These products include high-energy sports bars, breakfast cereals, vegetarian burgers, and soy nut snacks. All of these products offer flavorful alternatives to more "traditional" foods while providing approximately 5 to 18 grams of healthy soy protein per serving depending on the item consumed.

Although including soy in your diet can be beneficial to maintaining a healthy body, studies have shown that combining the use of soy with other foods such as vegetables, fruits, grains, low-fat meats, and fish is more beneficial than a diet that consists largely of only soy products. For example, for those who have high cholesterol levels, it is recommended that approximately 25 grams of soy be ingested daily along with other foods. For those who have normal cholesterol levels, a lesser amount is advised.

While soy is beneficial for your diet, using soy products in large amounts over an extended period of time without the addition of many foods from other food groups can result in more harm than good. This is especially noted when large doses of soy pills containing purified soy isoflavones are digested on a daily basis. Additionally, concentrated, purified soy pills, which are commonly sold in markets, do not typically contain the necessary isoflavones that are associated with the reduction of cholesterol levels. Therefore, the best uses of soy products are in moderation and when used in a non-pill form to complement other food sources.

Because soy products can now be found in many supermarkets and health food stores, chefs are taking advantage of their availability and have devised clever ways to uses these products. For example, soy milk is being commonly added to puddings and shakes and is also delicious when drunk as is or when flavored with fruit. Meanwhile, tofu is popular as an ingredient in flans and in vegetarian casseroles. Another popular soy product, edamame, which is soybeans cooked whole in salted, boiled water, and which is a popular snack food in Japan, is gaining a following among western gourmets for its healthy offering of soy protein - approximately half a cup of edamame contains 10 grams of protein. Additionally, soy powder is also popular as an ingredient that can be added to soups, stews, and to baked goods, including breads and muffins. Many authors have also taken to writing cookbooks devoted to using soy, many of which provide good tips for healthy cooking overall. The uses of soy are seemingly endless and are as varied as one's imagination can devise.

Besides working as an aid in the prevention of cancer, heart disease, and other ailments, soy is also said to help prevent osteoporosis. This is especially noteworthy for menopausal women. Soy adds phytoestrogens into the body. These phytoestrogens, which are inherent in soy isoflavones, help to reduce the natural decrease of estrogen that occurs in menopausal women. This cessation also helps to prevent osteoporosis, which can occur in women as they mature and lose estrogen.

Because of these and other health benefits, soy is now being regarded as a wonderful natural product whose time for acknowledgement is long overdue. Additionally, many new studies are underway to determine the scope of soy's benefits and whether it can be linked to the prevention of other diseases as well. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently stated that soy food manufacturers can promote the health benefits of soy on their packaging and the American Heart Association has encouraged people with high cholesterol levels to add more soy to their diet, showing that the medical community believes in the benefits that soy can provide.

Soy products have existed for centuries and were widely known and used by ancient societies. Today, soy cannot only help prevent diseases from occurring, but also offers a tasty and healthy supplement to less nutritious meals and snacks.

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