I am a female so instinctively many think I like pink and played with dolls growing up but alas that just wasn’t for me. I wanted to be one of the boys, so rough and tumble was the way I grew up, but now as an adult woman I realise that I am very different from the boys and so are my subsequent nutritional needs.
So when it came to soya and its health benefits it’s important to know what’s important for me as a women. In a previous article I discussed all the technical research around soya and what is in it that makes it so good for you but let’s go through the basics.
BACK TO BASICS
Soy comes from soybeans. In the food industry soya is found in many forms from infant formula, to the liquid milk substitute to cow’s milk. You find soya products that imitate meat and soya flours that are used as ingredient in foods and drinks. Tofu is a fermented form of soya. So soya is a very versatile food source.
Soya is a great food because it contains proteins and is a source of fibre when eaten whole. Soya contains polyunsaturated fats, the good fats that we need with none of the bad fats. The soya products that most people are more comfortable to eat are derived from soya that is non GMO. Because soya is a cash crop it is often modified to increase yield and there are many concerns (although these are controversial and slightly unsubstantiated) around genetically modified foods. Fortunately all the soya used by FUTURELIFE® is non GMO.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF SOYA
Soya has many health benefits which are attributed mostly to the isoflavones in soya. Isoflavones are a group of plant chemicals that are capable of giving oestrogen like effects. Also known as phytoestrogens. These isoflavones can actually be found in other foods such as legumes and green leafy vegetables as well.
But let’s talk more about the benefits for me as a woman. With so much research out there on soya it’s easy to get caught up and get left feeling confused. So I went and read all the research and here is what I found.
When it comes to cancer prevention, specifically breast cancer, soya has been proven to help in the prevention thereof. This is shown by a reduced risk in women in Asia who consume higher amounts of soya than any other nation. Most of the research shows a beneficial impact or no impact, but none showed that consuming soya increases risk for breast cancer.
Prevention of Osteoporosis
Many studies have shown that genistein (one of the isoflavones in soya) has been found to help reduce bone loss and thus can help with prevention of osteoporosis. Soya is also a good source of protein so this helps minimize bone mineral loss and generally strengthens muscles. So along with a good calcium intake, soya helps to keep the bones strong.
The cholesterol lowering effects of soya are recognised widely by many medical forums and I discussed them in a previous article (http://www.futurelife.co.za/a-closer-look-at-soya/).The FDA in America approved the health claim that eating 25g/day of soya can help lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol. And this leads to preventing heart diseases such as atherosclerosis.
Hot flushes or symptoms of menopause
In theory soya is full of plant based oestrogen “the isoflavones”, so eating soya should help with symptoms of low oestrogen levels. But unfortunately this is not the case. Research studies have found varied results that are dependent on many other factors than eating soy alone. Research has shown that it can be beneficial to some. And because it’s not harmful it’s always worth a try.
This is a controversial area of research, and more studies are needed but if you want to give soy a try, most experts suggest consuming one to two servings of soya per day, which translates to an intake of about 25 to 50 mg of isoflavones.
How much is enough?
Attempting to calculate serving sizes, grams of proteins, and milligrams of isoflavones in soya may be very time consuming. But a simple thing to remember is that you need 25g/day to get the cholesterol lowering effects. One serving of soya is equal to one cup of soymilk, one half-cup of tofu or one-quarter cup of soy nuts or if you not yet a soya nut and the taste or texture of traditional soya is not to your liking you can easily add to your soya daily amount from a 50g serving of FUTURELIFE® Smartfood or Zero.
So whether you a “rough and tumble” or “girly pink girl”, soya is one of the foods you should definitely be adding to your diet, but remember everything in moderation to get all the health benefits you need. So go on super women, break that glass ceiling, but remember to take care of yourself as one of the girls.