- Diet & Weight Loss
Why Soy Protein is Good for You?
There are many reasons people decide to start including soy protein in their diets. Some people start out by substituting soymilk for regular milk as a lactose-free alterative. Others try tofu in an Asian or vegetarian dish and realize it tastes great. Still others substitute soy protein for meat in an effort to switch to a plant-based diet.
Regardless of why you choose to start including soy protein in your diet, you'll enjoy its health benefits. In addition to being a less costly alterative to meat and a fun and tasty ingredient to cook with, soy protein is good for you. There are so many health benefits associated with soy protein, many thousands of people consume it as a supplement every day.
What is Soy Protein?
Soybeans are a legume native to East Asia, where they have served as a crucial source of protein for thousands of years. Today soybeans are grown throughout the world, and they are used to produce a wide variety of soy products. Soymilk, tofu, soy yogurt, tempeh, soybean oil, shoyu (soy sauce) and miso are some examples of food products made from soybeans.
Soybean products are such an important part of the diet in Asia and many other parts of the world today because soy is a plant-based protein that contains all of the amino acids our bodies require. This makes soy protein an ideal substitute for animal-based protein foods. You will not miss one bit of protein by consuming soy protein instead of beef, chicken or fish.
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Why is Soy Protein Good for You?
Soy protein is beneficial to your health whenever it is included in the diet. It is good for you because of the essential amino acids it contains, but also because it is low in fat and calories and contains no cholesterol. Although you do not have to follow a vegetarian diet to enjoy the health benefits of soy protein, it is a healthier choice compared to chicken, beef, pork, and even certain types of fatty fish.
Soy protein is also good for you because it contains phytochemicals. These unique substances are antioxidants that provide a wide variety of health benefits. They support a healthy immune system and enable the body to fight of mild and more serious types of diseases.
Health Benefits of Soy Protein
Some of the health benefits associated with soy protein consumption include a reduction in cholesterol levels, heart disease and osteoporosis. Soy protein consumption is also linked with a reduction in cancer risk.
Clinical studies have confirmed that soy protein reduces cholesterol and helps people reduce their risk for heart disease. According to the FDA, including four servings of soy protein in your diet each day can reduce LDL cholesterol by as much as 10%. Heart health experts consider this as much as a 20% reduction in risk for heart disease. Soy protein accomplishes this without lowering HDL, or the "good" cholesterol our bodies need.
The isoflavones in soy protein are credited with improving the health of the cardiovascular system. To realize the biggest heart health benefits of soy protein, you should consume soy products in place of animal protein. You'll cut out the added fat, cholesterol (and calories) associated with animal proteins as you consume a much healthier alternative.
Soy isoflavones have also been shown to help protect against osteoporosis in various studies. This is a very significant health advantage for post-menopausal women who are at a high risk for bone loss.
Another health advantage associated with consuming soy protein is a reduction in the risk of certain types of cancer, including colon cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer. Once again, research indicates it is the isoflavones in soy protein that contribute to the reduction in risk. These antioxidants prevent free radical damage to cells that may contribute to cell damage and cancer.
Additional Benefits of Soy Protein
In addition to being so good for you, there are some other advantages to consuming soy protein. If you substitute soy protein for animal-based products, you will slash your food budget. Even if you still consume meat on occasion, simply choosing soy products as an alterative several times a week can stretch your food budget considerably. Even organic soy products are considerably less expensive than their animal-based counterparts.
Soy protein is fun to use and learn to cook with, and you will discover entirely new recipes by looking for ways to include soy protein in your diet. Learning to cook authentic tasting Chinese and Indian cuisine are two additional benefits of consuming soy protein.
As you learn to cook delicious foods with soy protein, you'll find yourself consuming it more and more frequently. You will also probably find you are eating more and more vegetables and other legumes that are included in soy recipes.
Your new dietary choices will allow you to enjoy all of the health benefits associated with soy protein, plus you are likely to lose weight. This natural weight loss will occur as you replace animal-based proteins that are high in fat and calories with low-fat, plant-based foods that have fewer calories. This is one more way reason why soy protein is good for you.