Health Benefits of Soybeans

soybeansIn the recent years, Soybeans have been in the midst of several controversies, regarding their effects on health. Some Researchers refute their positive benefits on health while others vouch for their safety and their favourable effects on health. Nonetheless, despite the claims and conflicting reports, with some studies remaining inconclusive, soybeans have gained tremendous popularity across the world. Having originated from East Asia, soybeans or Edamame, as they are popularly known in Japan and China, belong to the family of peas. Scientifically known as Glycine Max, Soybeans despite the contradicting claims are a chockfull of nutritive elements offering numerous health benefits. In this article, let us see a few of the proven aspects.

 

Nutritional Constituents of Soybeans       

 Nutritional Values of Soybeans (per 100g)

Water

8.5

g
Energy

416

kcal
Energy

1741

kJ
Protein

36.5

g
Fat (total lipid)

19.9

g
Fatty acids, saturated

2.9

g
Fatty acids, mono-unsaturated

4.4

g
Fatty acids, poly-unsaturated

11.3

g
Carbohydrates

30.2

g
Fibre

9.3

g
Ash

4.9

g
Isoflavones

200

mg
Calcium, Ca

277

mg
Iron, Fe

15.7

mg
Magnesium, Mg

280

mg
Phosphorus, Mg

704

mg
Potassium, K

1797

mg
Sodium, Na

2.0

mg
Zinc, Zn

4.9

mg
Copper, Cu

1.7

mg
Manganese, Mn

2.52

mg
Selenium, Se

17.8

µg
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

6.0

mg
Thiamin (vitamin B1)

0.874

mg
Riboflavin (vitamin B2)

0.87

mg
Niacin (vitamin B3)

1.62

mg
Panthotenic acid (vitamin B5)

0.79

mg
Vitamin B6

0.38

mg
Folic acid

375

µg
Vitamin B12

0.0

µg
Vitamin A

2.0

µg
Vitamin E

1.95

mg
[Source: USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference]

  

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HEALTH BENEFITS OF SOYBEANS

1. Antioxidant Benefits of Soybeans

 

The isoflavone genistein compounds in soy, profuse with potent antioxidant substances, help scavenge and eliminate the destructive free radicals from the body. The harmful free radicals are precursors to a number of degenerative diseases, which accelerates ageing.

 

2. Soybeans’ Cardiovascular Benefits

 

A number of clinical trials support the claim that soya provides positive benefits on cardiovascular health. This is mainly owing to the presence of isoflavones and saponins existing in soybeans. According to Researchers the saponins in soy, help maintain healthy cholesterol levels, protecting build up of plaques in the arterial walls, posing serious risks of stroke and heart attack. The isoflavones genistein compounds keep the blood vessels flexible encouraging healthy blood flow. Moreover, another way soy promotes cardiac health is by way of its rich protein content, which controls the cholesterol synthesis in the liver. In addition to this, more than 50% of soy contains ALA (alpha linoleic acids) which is a healthy form of omega3 fatty acids that works excellently well for the heart.

 

3. Anti- Cancer Benefits of Soybeans

 

Soybeans have been celebrated for their anti cancerous benefits especially against cancers of the prostate, lung, colon and breast. Certain Researchers accredit the isoflavone components with antiangiogenic activity in soy for this particular effect, following various clinical trials. However, there is mixed evidence of soy’s effect on breast cancer. Experts opine that consuming soybeans from adolescence, a growth phase with high estrogenic levels, may help protect from risk of breast and endometrial cancer, later in age. Nevertheless, there is insufficient evidence to prove the same, post menopause, when estrogenic levels are very low. In the case of prostate cancer, there is enough evidence to prove that they help cut down the levels of a compound known as PSA (prostate specific antigen) that advance further with cancer growth.

 

4. Soybeans’ Benefits for Bones

 

The isoflavone genistein in soy prevents risk of osteoporosis by inhibiting bone breakdown with considerable improvement in bone mineral density in women. Besides this, unlike animal protein, soy protein prevents loss of calcium and does not flush it out through the urine.

 

5. Cognitive Benefits of Soybeans

 

The crucial components in soy safeguards from neurodegenerative diseases as Alzheimer’s disease and enhances cognitive skills. The lecithin and phytosterol elements in soy help feed and stimulate the nerve cells in your brain. The presence of folate and magnesium, prevent symptoms of depression and associated sleep disorders, thus promoting cognitive health.

 

Side Effects of Soybeans

According to some Researchers, soybean consumption can cause certain side effects. However, the facts are inconclusive and yet to be established. They are…

 

  • Goitre
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Kidney and gall bladder problems
  • Decreased calcium absorption

 

Common Allergic Reactions

 

  • Stomach cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Rashes
  • Breathing difficulties

 

Despite the ongoing controversies, nutritionists advise consumption of whole and fermented forms of soybeans (soy miso, tofu and tempeh) offering beneficial effects as against processed forms, which strips the vital nutrients, during processing.

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