The nutritional profile of soy beans and soy foods reveals that they are beneficial for the whole family to enjoy. Soy foods and beverages are generally low in fat, particularly saturated fat, and are naturally cholesterol free. The protein in soy beans has been extensively studied and shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels. Soy foods are rich in isoflavones, which act as antioxidants in the body. Common in other legumes, soy foods have a low Glycemic Index (GI), important in controlling blood sugar levels, and soy beans are rich in dietary fiber.
There are several compounds in soy which are known to lower LDL cholesterol, reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men / breast cancer in women, and help with menopause. Some studies show that just one serving a day of soy foods contributes to a reduction in cancer risk. Soybeans are also a natural source of lecithin — a brain food and fat emulsifier.
In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) the soybean is known to have a cooling thermal nature; it strengthens the spleen-pancreas, moistens dryness, cleanses the blood vessels and heart, improves circulation, promotes clear vision and lowers fever.
Heart disease is the number one killer of North American women. Nearly 39,000 Canadian women die each year from heart disease and 267,000 American women die from heart attacks—six times as many women as will die from breast cancer.
Soy protein plays an important role in a heart healthy diet. Rich in polyunsaturated fats and low in saturated fats, soy foods also contain dietary fiber, deliver high-quality lean protein and contribute key vitamins and minerals, such as calcium and potassium.
Soy foods are low in saturated fat, are cholesterol-free, and contain high-quality protein, essential fatty acids, dietary fiber, and numerous other nutrients.
As part of a healthy diet, soy foods can replace less healthy foods that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, thus enhancing their impact on cholesterol lowering.
Incorporating plant-based soy foods into the diet may also improve blood pressure and other coronary heart disease risk factors. Check labels for sodium content to stay within healthy limits – or those recommended by your doctor.
Using soy as an alternative to some meat and dairy products can reduce calories, fat, and cholesterol. Try these 2 simple suggestions:
Using 3 oz of SAN SUI tofu instead of 3 oz of beef steak saves close to 6 g saturated fat and 53 mg cholesterol.
Drink a serving of SAN SUI fortified Soy Beverage daily; it contains no cholesterol and little to no saturated fat.
The isoflavones found naturally in soy protein may protect the heart in other ways. Isoflavones are known to act as anti-oxidants and studies have shown that soy protein helps to relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure levels. In addition, soy protein with isoflavones, combined with soy fiber has been shown to reduce homocysteine levels, a key marker of heart disease risk.
For more information on your heart health, please visit the American Heart Association Internet site.
Diabetes is a condition where there is too much sugar (glucose) in the blood. It results when people either don't produce enough insulin or have high levels of insulin in their blood, which isn't working properly. Insulin is the hormone that regulates blood sugar.
There are three types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes is most common in children and young adults but it can occur at any age. It occurs when the pancreas no longer produces insulin and treatment involves lifelong insulin injections. It is estimated that 5-10% of Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form, affecting both adults and an increasing number of children and young people, particularly in populations which are sedentary and overweight. Being overweight puts added pressure on the body's ability to properly control blood sugar using insulin and makes it much more likely for you to develop diabetes. In this case the pancreas does not produce enough insulin. Almost 90% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight.
Gestational Diabetes which can occur during pregnancy - a time when the pancreas needs to produce extra insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. In most cases, gestational diabetes goes away after the baby is born. However, women who have had gestational diabetes are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Healthy eating combined with regular physical activity and weight loss (if you are overweight), are the cornerstones to managing diabetes or keeping it at bay. A balanced approach to life also reduces the risk of long term complications of poorly controlled diabetes, such as heart and kidney diseases.
Eating more plant foods is widely recognized to be beneficial for health, and diabetes is no exception. Increasing your fiber intake (from a colorful array of fruits, vegetables, wholegrain breads and cereals as well as legumes - including soybeans - and a small handful of nuts) helps regulate blood sugar levels and reduces your cholesterol. In addition, eating more of these plant foods in their unrefined or wholegrain form, can assist with weight control and insulin resistance as these foods are more 'filling' and generally cause a slower rise in your blood sugar levels.
Soy foods and beverages are generally low in fat, particularly saturated fat, and are naturally cholesterol free. The protein in soy beans has been extensively studied and shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels - even in people without diabetes. Soy foods are rich in isoflavones, which act as antioxidants in the body. In common with other legumes, soy foods have a low Glycemic Index (GI), important in controlling blood sugar levels, and soy beans are rich in dietary fiber.
For more information on diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association Internet site.