The Benefits And Risks Of Soy Protein: What You Need To Know

Soy protein has become increasingly popular in recent years, with people from all walks of life looking to incorporate it into their diets. Its demand is rapidly growing among athletes striving for peak performance and health-conscious individuals seeking a healthier lifestyle.  

The growth in soy usage is evident across many industries and sectors. Domestic production growth of soybeans could hit 7% for the year ending 2023.  

But with many animal and plant-based protein sources, why soy? Is there something special about soy protein that makes it superior to the rest? This article addresses the significance of soy protein and any related risks.   

You will get the information to consider this delicacy for your daily diet or pick other protein sources.  

Benefits of Soy Protein  

You will hear everyone say soy is an alternative to meat and dairy. Why? Can it replace beef completely? Or would you need it as a substitute when you cannot afford meat? Are there added advantages to eating this plant-based food? And are they worth your money?

Boosts Heart Health

Soy protein is a plant-based protein containing high fiber, a good component for the heart. Also, switching from animal-based protein to soy would reduce saturated fat and boost your heart health. 

According to a U.S. Soy latest study, some fermented soy products help inhibit the risk of cardiovascular diseases. An example is natto, a Japanese delicacy. Soy does not contain cholesterol. Also, the protein can lower bad cholesterol and triglycerides in the body, contributing to a healthy heart.

Helps in Weight Loss

 Incorporate soy products into your diet to supplement your fitness journey. A high-protein diet effectively reduces your body weight. But how does soy food help in weight loss? When consumed, soy products manage your body’s sugar levels and fats (triglycerides). Reducing stored fats limits your excess weight and chances of becoming obese.

It Reduces Cancer Risks

Did you know there is an association between soy intake and decreased risk of contracting breast, prostate, or gastrointestinal cancer? Research reveals soy has antioxidant properties (Isoflavones) that kill cancer cells.   

It also contains polyphenol properties that prevent cell damage. Further, systematic review and meta-analysis show a link between soy consumption and reduced risk of contracting prostate cancer and its recurrence

Also, moderate consumption of Isoflavones (35-55 mg per day) reduces the risk of suffering from breast cancer and prevents recurrence among breast cancer survivors. Consuming soy food also inhibits contracting gastrointestinal cancer.

Lowers Blood Sugar

If you are at risk of developing diabetes or are diabetic, include whole traditional soy like tofu in your menu as it lowers blood glucose. Based on a published review, the consumption of fermented soy products helps with the management of the effects of diabetes mellitus.  

However, if you are a diabetic patient under hypoglycemic medication, consult your doctor before taking soy products since both work to reduce blood sugar levels. Consuming both could leave you with too low sugar levels in the body, which is potentially harmful.

Inhibits Menopausal Symptoms

The phytoestrogens component in soy helps hinder the effects of menopausal symptoms. For instance, soy enhances bone health by balancing calcium levels in the body. That protects women from osteoporosis during menopause.

It Improves Sleep

Soybeans contain high concentrations of magnesium, known for aiding quality sleep, especially among insomnia people. Magnesium helps you sleep quickly, enjoy prolonged slumber, and wake up effortlessly. 

Risks of Soy Consumption  

Does taking soy pose health risks to your body? Soy foods are not toxic naturally. However, your consumption may trigger adverse effects in various conditions. Those could depend on your current health status, quantity used, and lifestyle. Below are some risks associated with taking soy meals.

Hormonal Imbalance

Soy is rich in phytoestrogens, a plant-based hormone that functions like estrogen in the human body. This component is particularly beneficial in treating hormonal deficiencies, particularly among women during menopause.  

However, if you do not have any hormonal deficiency, it is best to avoid a high soy intake as it tends to disrupt the natural hormonal levels. And you know what that means. Consult your doctor about how much is the best-recommended volume.

May Cause Allergic Reactions

Some people develop allergic reactions to soy food products. They may develop rashes, body itching, depression, anxiety, breathing-related complications, and long-term illnesses like Ulcerative colitis. Also, you may experience mild intestinal irritation that involves nausea or constipation. You will likely have this symptom if you consume soy food for the first time. 

These symptoms may appear immediately or after a few hours of ingestion. Note that not all soy products are allergenic. Raw soybeans are highly allergic. However, soybean oil and fermented soy products rarely trigger an allergic reaction in your body.

Unsafe During Pregnancy: Impairs Food Digestion and Absorption

Soy contains anti-nutrients that may impair food digestion and nutrient absorption. It becomes detrimental, especially during pregnancy. Phytic acid inhibits the absorption of essential minerals such as magnesium, which is responsible for the proper development of the fetus’s brain and balancing blood sugar levels in the body. Trypsin hinders the digestion of proteins, an essential nutrient during pregnancy.

Kidney Complications

Soy contains phytoestrogens that cause kidney diseases. Also, it has an oxalate component that may put you at risk of contracting kidney stones when consumed in large quantities. Consume soy in moderation and talk to a healthcare professional if you have any concerns. It helps you reduce the risk of kidney problems. 

Summing Up  

Besides proteins, soy has high fiber, essential vitamins, and minerals. Incorporating soy into your diet provides substantial health benefits that outweigh the risks. They include aiding weight loss, preventing cancers, boosting heart health, lowering blood sugar levels, and helping you sleep better. 

Some of the risks associated with soy include kidney complications, sparking allergic reactions, hormonal imbalance, and hampering digestion and absorption of nutrients. Also, overconsumption of soy products may prove unsafe during pregnancy.  

To minimize the risks, consume moderate amounts of soy food. Also, stick to whole and organic soy like tofu and soybeans rather than processed soy products (soy protein powder or isolate) and enjoy its health benefits. 

Health & Personal Care

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