Soybeans and soy foods

Soybeans are members of the pea ( legume ) family of vegetables and have been a staple of asian cuisines for thousands of years. Soy and soy foods are popular specially for people following vegetarian and vegan diets. This is due to their high-quality ( “ complete ” ) protein content, and their ability to be processed into milk and kernel substitutes. Soybeans contain hormone-like substances called phytoestrogens that mimic the action of the hormone estrogen and have been associated with beneficial health effects. Eating soybean-based foods may reduce the risk of respective health problems, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, coronary heart disease ( CHD ), some cancers and improve bone health. evidence besides suggests the pulmonary tuberculosis of soy and soy sauce foods is beneficial for peri-menopausal and postmenopausal women and is linked to fewer and reduce badness of hot flushes. More research is needed, but the evidence so far suggests that it is wise to include solid soy ( or soy ) foods in your daily diet. See your doctor of the church or dietician for far guidance.

Nutrition profile of soybeans

Soy is a high-quality protein. It is one of the few know implant foods ( the early is amaranth seed and to a lesser degree, quinoa ) to contain all the essential amino acids, like those found in kernel.

The soy is :

  • high in


  • high in


  • low in

    saturated fat

  • cholesterol


  • lactose


  • a good source of omega-3 fatty acids
  • a source of


  • high in phytoestrogens.

Soy products

Soybeans can be consumed in many ways. Foods made from soybeans can be divided into fresh and ferment foods. Unfermented foods include – bean curd, soya milk, edamame, soy nuts and sprouts, while fermented soy products include – miso, tempeh, natto and soy sauce. Some soy products are sources of calcium and iron – such as bean curd or tempeh ( made with a calcium coagulant ) and calcium-fortified soy drinks.

‘Second generation’ soy products

Another class of soy-based food exists which in Australia we call ‘ irregular genesis ‘ soy food. This includes bean curd sausages and burgers, soy breads, soy sauce pasta and soya milk yoghurts and cheeses. It besides includes products that contain soy or soy-based ingredients such as – lecithin ( linear 322 ) which can be found in some cocoa and broil goods.

Soybeans and phytoestrogens

Soybeans contain hormone-like substances called phytoestrogens ( ‘ phyto ’ means plant ), which are naturally occurring chemicals found in plants. Given the right conditions, these compounds copy the action of the female hormone estrogen but are much less powerful – about 1,000 times less.

There are many types of phytoestrogens, one example being isoflavones. Isoflavones are very impregnable antioxidants and can mimic the effects of estrogen, but their full physiologic effects are still being investigated.

Soybeans are the most common source of isoflavones in food. however, the measure of isoflavones varies with the type of soy sauce food, readiness method acting and post.

Some of the richest sources of isoflavones are soy flour and soy nuts.

Health benefits of soy foods

research suggests that soybeans and soy foods have a roll of health benefits.

Coronary heart disease and soy 

Having a diet ample in soy foods is linked with a lower hazard of cardiovascular disease, including stroke and coronary thrombosis heart disease. estrogen may protect women against heart disease during their generative years, but rates of affection disease increase after menopause. Soybeans have been shown to lower sum cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels, both known risk factors of center disease. An analysis of clinical trials suggests 14g to 50g of soy protein can significantly reduce total lineage cholesterol levels, LDL ( bad ) cholesterol levels and triglycerides, while reasonably increasing HDL ( good ) cholesterol levels.

The United States Food and Drug Administration besides found adults who include at least 25g soy sauce protein ( about four servings of soy ) daily in a diet low in impregnate fatty and cholesterol can reduce LDL cholesterol by about 3–4 %. hale soy products ( such as soya milk, soybeans and soy nuts ) have a greater impression on improving cholesterol levels than processed soy sauce products.

It is not known how this happens – it could be phytoestrogens or soy proteins working alone or in concert. early factors, such as soy sauce ’ s high-fibre or humble saturated-fat subject may play a part. Another reason could be, the amount of animal protein in the diet ( including saturated fat and cholesterol within the animal protein ) may be reduced and indirectly improve our blood cholesterol levels. however, studies besides show that eating soy protein without isoflavones results in merely little cholesterol reductions, and isoflavone supplements alone have minimal cholesterol lowering effects.

Soybeans and menopause

due to their phytoestrogen content, it is thought soy can reduce menopausal symptoms ( such as hot flushes ). This is based on observations of women in some parts of Asia, who tend to have soy-rich diets and typically fewer hot flushes during menopause than women on meat-rich diets.

The phytoestrogens in soy appear to act like a balmy form of hormone substitution therapy ( HRT ). however, compared with traditional HRT, it would take about a year of regular soy sauce consumption to have alike health benefits.

More research is needed, but soybeans may help some women to manage menopausal hot flushes, even if only modestly.

Do not take highly processed soy supplements if you have a high risk of breast cancer, or are a front cancer survivor. Eating control amounts of whole soy foods appears to be healthy.

Other health benefits of soy

other potential health benefits of soy sauce foods include :

  • lowered

    blood pressure

  • improvements to blood vessels, (such as greater elasticity of artery walls)
  • improved bone health
  • protection against some cancers (including

    breast cancer


  • improved cognitive function and visual memory.

however, promote research is needed before soy ’ mho health benefits are conclusively known.

Amount of soy for health benefits

generally, around 30 to 50mg of isoflavones is adequate to offer health benefits.

Examples of the modal isoflavone content of some foods include :

  • half a cup of soybeans – 40 to 75mg isoflavones
  • quarter cup of soy flour – 45 to 69mg isoflavones
  • one 250ml glass of soy drink – 15 to 60mg isoflavones
  • one 115g block of tofu – 13 to 43mg isoflavones
  • one 110g block of tempeh – 41mg isoflavones
  • one container of soy yoghurt – 26mg isoflavones
  • two slices of soy bread – 7 to 15mg isoflavones
  • teaspoon of soy sauce – 0.4 to 2.2mg isoflavones.

Some studies have shown traditional soy foods tend to have more beneficial health effects compared with ‘ second generation ’ soy foods. Don ’ t forget to check food labels, many fermented soy sauce products like soy sauce are high in strategic arms limitation talks and are not beneficial to our health.

Tips for increasing soy intake

If you want to increase your consumption of soy sauce :

  • Choose whole soy foods like soymilk, tempeh, soy bread and tofu.
  • Check ingredient lists to make sure the soy foods you buy are made from whole soybeans and not soy isolates.
  • Make sure products (such as cereals) contain soy protein and not just added isoflavone.

Other foods containing phytoestrogens

Foods early than soy that contain phytoestrogens include :

  • wholegrain cereals

    – like oats, wheat, corn, barley, rye and buckwheat

  • nuts and seeds

    – such as almonds, linseed, flaxseed, sunflower, pumpkin and sesame 

  • sprouts – alfalfa
  • oils – extra virgin olive oil
  • other legumes – chickpeas, lentils and kidney beans.

Health risks of soy and babies

Eating soy foods as part of your normal diet is generally more beneficial than harmful. Although there has been refer that high consumption of soy for some men and people with thyroid conditions may be bad, research suggests this is not the subject. Studies have besides shown the habit of soy baby formula in healthy, full-term babies does not appear to be harmful. however, baby soy formula may be harmful to premature babies and is best debar. Check with your maternal and child health nurse or doctor.

Genetically modified soy products

Some people do not wish to eat genetically modified ( GM ) foods. Soy products imported from the United States are the independent source of GM ingredients in food sold in Australia. Some soy crops have been genetically modified to be resistant to herbicide, but they are otherwise identical to non-GM soybeans.

Genetically modified soy is found in basal soy sauce products ( such as bean curd or soy flour ), but it can besides be found in a broad compass of other foods ( such as chocolates, potato chips, margarine, mayonnaise, biscuits and boodle ). It is mandatary in Australia for approved GM foods and ingredients that contain fresh DNA or novel protein to be labelled with the words ‘ genetically modified ’.

Soy allergy

Soy allergy can occur in some people due to a chemical reaction to soy protein causing the immune arrangement to react abnormally. Soy allergies are common in babies and children. Symptoms include :

  • itching
  • tingling sensation of the mouth and lips
  • flushed skin
  • nausea
  • diarrhoea
  • wheezing and shortness of breath 
  • hives
  • dizziness and confusion.

Soybeans are wide used in many food products. Lecithin ( food additive 322 ) is made from soybeans and is much used in process foods such as cocoa, bake goods, margarine, sauces, cheese and dairy products.

not all soy products will cause a reaction. In fact, many people with an allergy to soy can safely eat soy sauce lecithin, soy bean anoint and some fermented soy foods as they are less allergenic than those containing sensitive soybeans.

Foods to avoid

If you have a soy sauce allergy, seek advice from your doctor. Always read food labels and invalidate :

  • soymilk
  • soybean 
  • soya
  • soy nuts and soy sprouts
  • soy sauce 
  • tofu
  • miso
  • tempeh
  • tamari.

Where to get help

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Category : Healthy