- On May 19, 2017
Soya protein has been around for centuries and was largely cultivated and used in a variety of different ways in Asian countries. China considered soya as one of the holy crops, alongside barley, rice and wheat. It has only been in recent years that the phenomena of soya became popular worldwide. For many years, just the animal feed industry was using soya as a food staple for animals. It’s only been in the last 10-15 years that soya protein has been recognised as a dietary ingredient because of its tremendous health benefits. The health benefits we receive from soya largely come from the quality of the soya proteins and isoflavones daidzein and genistein. Isoflavones are powerful antioxidants that prevent the effects of free radicals in the body, helping fight diseases. Below is a list of ways that soya can ben
Soya can help with HIV / Aids
In 2001, a Japanese soy sauce company inadvertently discovered an EFdA molecule whilst trying to enhance the flavour of soy sauce. The EFdA molecule is part of a family of compounds called “nucleoside analogues” which is very similar to the existing drugs for the treatment of HIV. Virologists are looking into the potential usefulness of the EFdA molecule in helping to treat drug-resistant HIV patients. Read more in our next blog Soya and your health: HIV for an in-depth look into Soya and HIV.
Soya improves menopausal symptoms
Oestrogen plays a role in body temperature control. This is why when a woman goes through menopause she experiences hot flushes and night sweats which are caused by low oestrogen levels. What is interesting is epidemiological data shows that Asian woman, whose diets are high in soya isoflavones, experience fewer menopausal symptoms than their western counterparts. Soya isoflavones control the menopausal symptoms with their oestrogen-like effect.
Soya improves Cancer
There are several studies that look in-depth into regular soya intake and its effect on preventing hormone-related cancers. See our third blog in this series: Soya and your health: Cancer for an in-depth look on this topic.
Soya improves bone health
Soya protein is beneficial for bone health. Replacing animal protein with soya protein prevents calcium loss, this is because animal proteins cause some calcium to be excreted in the urine, whereas soya protein does not. Soya isoflavones also help reduce the risk of osteoporosis and bone loss. The isoflavones genistein has a similar effect to oestrogen in the maintaining of bone tissue and appears to inhibit bone breakdown.
Soya and the critics
There are many critics and anti-soy people globally, their arguments are based largely on animal studies. However, one needs to remain cognizant of the fact that different species and different tissues are affected by isoflavones in completely different ways.
Soya is highly nutritive and soya products such as soya flour, soya milk and soya mince are very rich in protein. This particular protein is of a high quality because it contains all the essential amino acids. Soya is also low in fat and can be used to substitute most protein sources. But to make use of these health benefits one needs to stick to natural protein rather than processed protein, so always check with your soya supplier on the quality of their soya products….