Improved brain function, reduced risk of sleep disorders among health benefits of adding soy foods to your diet
Soy foods have immense nutriotional benefits due to their macronutrient composition, which is very different from other legumes especially due to the high protein content and a bioactive compound known as isoflavone
Be it through a box full of chunks you can boil and use at home, a vegetarian burger patty or chaanp, or the dark-brown gravy of your favourite South-East Asian curry, soy is everywhere. Tofu, soy milk, soy sauce, soy chunks or proteins, soybean oil, miso, edamame and other soy products have gained immense popularity all over the world, primarily due to their nutrient-dense nature and the amazing health benefits they reportedly impart.
According to a study published in the journal Nutrients in 2016, the health effects of soy foods have been rigorously studied in the last 25 years, with almost 2,000 peer-reviewed articles being published about it every year. This is primarily due to the fact that soy’s macronutrient composition is very different from other legumes, especially due to the high protein content and a bioactive compound known as isoflavone.
Soy and its many derivative food products have immense nutritional benefits. The following are a few reasons to add more soy foods to your diet:
1. Provides protein
A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives in 2006 explains how soy is a complete source of dietary proteins, meaning that unlike most plant-based proteins, it contains all the essential amino acids. This makes soy foods one of the best ways to get enough dietary proteins for healthy muscles and bones, especially for vegetarians and vegans.
2. Aids digestion
Like most legumes, soybeans and other soy products like flour, edamame and protein chunks are rich in insoluble dietary fibre. Sufficient fibre intake in your diet is linked with a healthy gastrointestinal system because fibre bulks up the stool and can help regulate its consistency, timing and avoid risks of indigestion, constipation and diarrhoea.
3. Prevents sleep disorders
A study published in Nutrition Journal in 2015 showed that a higher daily isoflavone intake from food was significantly associated with better sleep duration and higher sleep quality, thereby reducing the risks of sleep disorders like insomnia and hypersomnia.
4. Improves heart health
Soy foods contain almost no cholesterol, but at the same time are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, potassium and magnesium. This is the reason why consuming soy foods is linked with improved blood circulation and better heart health.
5. Improves brain function
The nutrient content of soy foods is linked to improvements in cognitive and memory functions. A recent study in npj Science of Food indicates that dipeptides derived from soy foods can help minimize memory degradation and can reduce the risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s.
6. Prevents menopause symptoms
Menopause is associated with a drastic reduction in estrogen levels, which causes symptoms like hot flashes, inflammation, irritable mood and fatigue. The isoflavones in soy have been linked with improving phytoestrogen levels, which helps alleviate the symptoms of menopause.
7. Aids healthy weight loss
With high protein, fibre, phytochemicals, vitamins and mineral content, soy foods are the perfect addition to healthy, long-term weight-loss diets. Not only do these foods provide all the nutrition you require, but they also improve metabolic, cognitive and cardiovascular function - all of which can help you manage your weight while staying completely fit.
For more information, read our article on Soybean: Benefits, uses and side effects.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.
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