When we think of healthy eating, leafy greens and other vegetables often jump to the top of the list. There’s one vegetable (well, legume, technically, but who’s counting) you should include — soybeans.
Soybeans have plenty of protein, healthy fats, and soluble fiber. They also have a compound (called isoflavones) that has many health benefits. According to several studies, soybeans may help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer.
Keep Hearts Healthy
Soy protein can help lower cholesterol, which is a risk indicator for heart disease. Plus, the fat profiles for soybeans can also help reduce risk. Soybeans contain two types of omega-3 fats and about 84 percent of the lipids found in soybeans are unsaturated. Research has shown that replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats can contribute to a healthier heart.
Keep Bones Strong
The isoflavones found in soy can help protect against osteoporosis. Isoflavones have a similar benefit as estrogen-like hormones for women.
As women age, bone density decreases, but studies have shown that soy intake may help preserve density and reduce risk of osteoporosis by as much as a third.
Keep Certain Cancers at Bay
Soy intake has been linked with the reduced risk for various types of cancer.
- Breast cancer: Research has found that increased soy consumption may reduce the overall risk of breast cancer, as well as the mortality and recurrence rates of breast cancer in women.
- Prostate cancer: One of the isoflavones found in soy can help reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men. Additionally, soy may help minimize the side effects of radiation treatment for prostate cancer in men.
- Studies are still being conducted on other types of cancer. However, preliminary results suggest that soy may also help prevent or improve treatment for:
- Colorectal cancer
- Endometrial cancer
- Lung cancer
- Bladder cancer
Want some ideas of ways to incorporate more soy into your diet? Check out this handy shopping guide from Soy Connection.