Nuts & Seeds

Benefits and Side Effects of Soybean

Soybeans or soya beans belong to the family of legumes and are biological named as Glycine Max.  Soybean is more of an oilseed than a pulse, as it contributes to 60% of the universal oilseed production. It is an edible source of seed and is used in many different kinds of preparations, such as soy-oil, soymilk and to name a few. Soybean is a resident crop from the eastern region of Asia.  The crop has been cultivated in China for above 5000 years.  Soya bean is a very rich source of proteins, dietary fiber, and Omega-3 fatty acids.   The shell of soya bean seeds varies in color from green to yellow, or can be of brown, black or blue color.  The seed sizes also vary tremendously.

Benefits of Soybeans

Soya products are beneficial for heart

Soya bean helps in maintaining a healthy heart by lowering the cholesterol levels. The response of Soy protein in the prevention of Cardiovascular Disorders is still a topic of discussion and has been under the scientific observation and research for quite some time now.

Soy Protein is the consumable form of protein that is made from whole soybeans when they are raw. The soybeans undergo a series of process, during which the unwanted fats and the malodorous ingredients are extracted.  Soybean is a rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. For a healthy heart, it is always recommended to consume foods, which are rich in unsaturated fats and less or negligible amounts of saturated fats. Omega-3 fatty acid is unsaturated fatty acids, and hence aids in preventing heart diseases.

It is also believed and recommended institutions in the field have concluded research that soy protein has its effects on the risk factors such as high total blood cholesterol, low levels of HDL, increased LDL, and increase in the triglycerides, high blood pressure, hyperglycemias and obesity. Thus, soy-protein can be recommended as a help for lowering the risk of cardiovascular disorders.

Prevention against Cancer

Soybean and its products are highly encouraged as prevention for cancer.  They are recommended, especially for Prostate cancer, Lung, Breast and Colon cancers. Soy-proteins possess a substance called as phyto-estrogen, which is known to have effects equivalent to that of the human estrogen.  Isoflavone is a type of phyto-estrogen, which is present in soy-protein. It is believed that the isoflavones are very helpful in prevention of cancer. Omega-3 Fatty acids have also been known for reducing the hazards of colonic cancer.

Alleviates Post-Menopausal Symptoms

Soy is rich in phyto-estrogen in the form of isoflavones.  Isoflavones have a resemblance to the human estrogen level.  In and the around the menopausal stages many women have experienced hot flashes.  Hot flashes are very common symptoms during the menopausal stage, due to the changes in the estrogen levels in the body.  Isoflavones are also known to reduce other symptoms of menopause such as mood swings, night sweats, and fatigue.  Although isoflavone can be considered or recommended as a treatment regime for the menopausal stage, but it can be considered to alleviate a series of symptoms.

Soybean Helps in Weight Management

  1. Soybean has high content of proteins and can be consumed as a replacement or substitute for meat protein.  Protein stuffed in the body through meals, has a feeling of fullness for a longer time, which prevents the in-between snacks and hunger bouts.
  2. Similar to meat, the soybean is also rich in the fats, but unlike the meat, it is rich in fat too, though it is the unsaturated fat.
  3. Since it is a rich source of fiber too, it reduces the absorption of sugar in the body. Hence also helps in weight loss.

Lends a Hand to Control Type-2 Diabetes

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate and existing in two different forms such as soluble and insoluble forms. The human body is not metabolizing fiber.  Hence, it does not add any calories or extra calories.

Since fiber is not catabolised in the body, it has no effect on the blood sugar levels. Hence, fiber is a good nutrition for patients who suffer with high blood sugar levels. If the fire has no effect on the calories, consuming it should make sense.

However, the two forms of fiber have its own effect on the body.  Soluble fiber in fact helps in reducing the glucose and cholesterol levels in the blood. This soluble fiber when in the system mixes with the digestive enzymes released by the liver and water to form a kind of gel, which helps in reduced absorption of sugar and other harmful substances.

Hence, soluble fiber helps in reducing the sugar levels in the blood, which in turn helps to control diabetes mellitus. Also few points to remember is that hydrate yourself when on high fiber diet, else it may lead to constipation.

Other health benefits of soya beans

  1. It aids in maintaining proper bowel health.
  2. It assists in the prevention of osteoporosis.
  3. It is a good source of nutrition.
  4. It helps in enhancing the immune system.

Side Effects & Contraindication of soybeans and soy products

Know Allergies to Soy-Products

There have been reports about allergies of soybeans and soy-products.  If you are allergic to the legume family, then it is preferable that you avoid consuming soybeans or any related products.

Pregnancy and Lactating Mothers

Few of the mothers have reported intolerance to soy-products such as soymilk leading to nausea, giddiness. Hence, it is not recommended as a supplement of protein or calcium, but could be consumed as a meal occasionally.

Effects on Men

There have been cases reporting unpleasant effects on men, such as regular intake of soy-beans or products of soy extract have raised the estrogen levels in men as high as eight times , as compared to that of a normal estrogen level of a women.  This has had problems like gynecomastia, changes in the mood and obesity.

Soybean has a number of minerals and components, which can have various side effects on human body, but most of these minerals, are prone to lose their effects when exposed to heat or cooking. It is been used in the industries as a plastic, lubricant and many more applications.  Researchers are still concluding an ongoing study to find a better way to include soybean or its extracts to be included in a daily diet.

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