The soybean is a legume that contains no cholesterol and is low in saturated fat, Asian populations have consumed large amounts of soy products while also having the longest and healthiest lives in the world. Soybean protein is a “complete protein” since it provides all of the essential amino acids for human nutrition. Processed soy protein appears in foods mainly in three forms:
- Soy flour
- Soy protein isolates
- Soy protein concentrates.
Research regarding soy protein and cardiovascular health became so robust that it was awarded a health claim, allowing food companies to state that “25 grams of soy protein a day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. Soybeans are the only vegetable food that contains all eight essential amino acids. Soybeans are also a good source of fiber, iron, calcium, zinc, and B vitamins. Benefits of Soy Protein are as follows:-
- Pregnancy. Use of soy products during pregnancy can be encouraged because expectant women are likely to receive the same health benefits as other women. Fortified milk and fortified soy-milk are the only reliable dietary sources of vitamin D. Soy milk may also be an alternative for women who do not like regular milk.
- Heart Health. Consumption of soy protein in place of animal protein has been found to reduce serum concentrations of total cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), and trigylcerides. Individuals need to consume about 25 grams of soy protein or more each day to obtain results. Twenty-five grams of soy protein equals 1¼ cups of tofu, 1–2 cups of soy milk, or an ounce of soy flour.
- Obesity. soy protein contributed to the control of hyperglycemia and reduced body weight, hyperlipidemia, and hyperinsulinemia. These characteristics may be useful to both non-diabetic and diabetic persons in the control of obesity and blood sugar.
- Cancer Prevention. Genistein, one of the phytochemicals found in soy, can reduce the risk of cancer. Genistein blocks cancer development by preventing tumors from creating blood vessels that would provide nourishment for growth. One serving a day (e.g., 1 cup of soymilk, ½ cup of tofu or soybeans) is effective for cancer prevention.
- Menupause. Soy protein has been found to positively influence bone and calcium balance in postmenopausal women, results were especially significant for women who were not receiving hormone replacement therapy.