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Health Benefits of Soybeans - Prevention of Osteoporosis, Kidney Disease and Menopause Symptoms

Updated on August 21, 2011

In recent years, scientists have found that soybeans, which are rich in soy protein, can produce antioxidant peptides after enzymatic hydrolysis. The peptides can lower blood pressure and improve immune function of the body. In fact, epidemiological studies have shown that Asian people, whose main dishes contain a large amount of soy products, have lower rates of many chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and osteoporosis than people in the United States and Western Europe. 

One of the major health benefits of eating soybeans is that it improves bone health and lowers the risk of osteoporosis. Bone health is closely related to the level of calcium intake as well as the amount of calcium retained by the body. Osteoporosis risk increases with the loss of calcium. Calcium is mainly lost through the urine, and factors such as high sulfur content of animal proteins can increase the excretion of calcium in the urine. Eating soybeans helps to inhibit the process of calcium loss, improve bone health and prevent osteoporosis.

Besides its high content of soy protein, soybeans also contain a type of phytoestrogens called isoflavones, which are also considered to be closely related to bone density. Several studies have shown that isoflavones can slow the speed of resorption of bones and thus increase the bone’s rebuilding process to prevent the occurrence of osteoporosis. Soybeans are also rich in well-absorbed calcium, which also help to improve bone health.

Soybeans also have health benefit in the prevention of kidney disease. Eating soybeans and other soy products instead of meat and cow’s milk can reduce the blood filtering rate of kidney, while a higher filtering rate is considered to be related to renal diseases. Replacing animal protein with soy protein or eating a protein-restricted diet is a common treatment for people with chronic kidney disease.

Isoflavones contained in soybean are recognized as effective factors in alleviating symptoms related to menopause, such as night sweats and hot flashes, because isoflavones have some effects in regulating the body’s estrogen levels. In menopausal women, isoflavones possess weak estrogenic activity that may help to offset the effects of reduced estrogen production by the ovaries. An increased level of phytoestrogens helps to prevent the occurrence of many menopause symptoms.

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