Soy, also known as glycine max, is a legume from which products like edible oil, food additives, flour, soy nuggets etc are procured. Soy is a rich source of nutrients. United States is the largest producer of soybeans and it is considered to be one of the most important grains after rice, barley, millet and wheat.
Soybeans are a rich source of Vitamin B, fibers, omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium and amino acids.
Some of the health benefits of soy are as follows:
– It reduces LDL cholesterol to a great extent.
– It reduces blood lipid levels.
– Soy is beneficial for post – menopausal women who also have Type- 2 diabetes as it controls glucose and insulin levels. It is good for post – menopausal women because the level of estrogen is naturally high during this time.
– Teenagers should eat soy often as it reduces the risk of breast cancer.
– Soy milk has been known to reduce cholesterol levels. Only 25 grams of soybean a day is enough to control the risk of heart related ailments.
– High levels of boron and magnesium helps to improve the density and strength of bones.
– A drug called ipriflavone found in soybeans is used extensively in Asia and Europe to cure osteoporosis.
– Many studies have indicated that soy is most beneficial in curing prostate cancer. Soy has nutritional qualities which help to treat and prevent cancer.
– The American Institute for Cancer Research says that soy can be beneficial for breast cancer but more data is needed to qualify this claim. They say that soy leads to an increase in estrogen levels which is harmful as it increases the chances of breast cancer.
Thus we see soybeans are an essential food product with many benefits. It can be had in the form of salads, sautéed, roasted or used in preparing diet foods.