By Dr. Janet Brill
For a healthy heart, live by the mantra “eat more plants and less animals”. Adding soy into your day is a simple way to live by this mantra. Soy is the perfect alternative for meat as it is a complete protein, a high-quality plant protein, meaning it provides all the essential amino acids required in the human diet, and unlike animal protein, it contains zero cholesterol and only a minute amount of artery-clogging saturated fat.
Soy is also an excellent source of dietary fiber, B vitamins (including the heart healthy folic acid), calcium, iron and omega-3 fats. Loaded with fiber, vitamins and other nutrients, soy is truly a nutrition powerhouse.
Soy is a safe and wholesome food (legume) that has been a staple protein source of East Asian populations for centuries. In fact, Chinese people have eaten it for at least 5,000 years, and Japanese for 1,000 years. Soy or soybeans are associated with a variety of health benefits. Let’s have a look at some of the benefits of adding soy to your daily diet:
Lowers blood pressure
Soy is and excellent source of amino acids. But unlike animal protein, soy contains ZERO cholesterol and miniscule amount of saturated fat. That makes it a heart healthy food that helps lower blood pressure. In fact, scientific studies have shown that eating soy protein can lower blood pressure whereas eating animal protein, more specifically red and processed meats increase blood pressure.
The leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women is heart disease. Two of the major risk factors predisposing you to developing heart disease is high cholesterol and high blood pressure. A diet rich in soy helps prevent heart disease by bringing cholesterol and blood pressure down.
Animal protein such as red and processed meat is high in saturated fat and dietary cholesterol. This increases the amount of (LDL) bad cholesterol in your blood and thus escalates your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Reduces blood sugar
Soy is not only good for the arteries, it also helps you regulate your blood sugar level blood sugar level and improve the health of your kidneys. High blood sugar and insulin levels, a condition called “insulin resistance,” has been implicated as a causative factor in the development of high blood pressure. Soy protein decreases blood sugar level and lessens insulin resistance.
Protect against osteoporosis
Soy contains isoflavones that are known to be effective in reducing or preventing bone loss. Soy also contains the bone-building mineral superstar, calcium. Thus, people who eat a soy rich diet are less likely to develop osteoporosis.
Good for menopausal health
Soy is known to relieve certain pre and postmenopausal symptoms in women. Women who consume soy are less likely to develop hot flashes and night sweats. Moreover soy is also associated with reducing the risks of developing breast cancer.
Soy is a true miracle food that not only reduces blood pressure, and promotes bone health but presents a host of other health benefits too.
You can add soy in your diet in a various ways. You can substitute cow’s milk with soy milk. You can snack on unsalted, dry roasted soy nuts. Or you can cook heart healthy recipes with tofu and tempeh.
And remember, whenever you have an option between animals or plants, always choose the vegetarian version!