All about soya as a wonder food

soya food protein

SOYA

Improves bone health

Helping HIV & AIDS healing

Helping reduction of Hipertension

Reduces risk of osteoporosis

Assists in reducing menopausal symptoms

Prevents calcium loss

In comparison to many of today's major food sources, soybeans are truly a nutritional superpower. They contain the highest amount of protein of any grain or legume, and substantial amounts of fat, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and a virtual drugstore of phytochemicals useful for the prevention and treatment of many chronic diseases.

Soybeans vary widely in nutrient content based on the specific variety and growing conditions, but typically they contain 35-40 percent protein, 15-20 percent fat, 30 percent carbohydrates, 10 to 13 percent moisture, and around 5 percent minerals and ash.

Elements of the Soya Bean

Soy Protein

The protein in the soybean contains all of the essential amino acids necessary for humans, and can sustain health at all stages of development. Using the protein digestibility corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) method, soy protein products generally receive scores of between 0.95 and 1.00, the highest value possible.
The soyabean is very high in protein (38%). So whole soyabeans and traditional soya foods, such as tofu, tempeh and soya milk are good protein sources. But it is not only the total amount of protein that is important, you also have to take the quality of the protein into account.
Currently, a PDCAAS (protein digestibility corrected amino acid score) is used to evaluate protein quality. This evaluation takes into account the amino acid composition and the digestibility of the protein.
The protein digestibility of most soya products is generally excellent. In fact, the digestibility of soya protein is comparable to milk and meat proteins and can reach 100%.
The chemical index or amino acid score is the ratio of the most limiting essential amino acid, calculated by comparing content of the protein with that of amino acid requirements as defined by the FAO / WHO / UNU (Food and Agriculture Administration / World Health Organisation / United Nations University). Different needs for different age groups have been defined.
The digestibility and chemical index together determine the PDCAAS value of the protein. The theoretical maximum value is 1.
The protein in most soya products has a PDCAAS that approaches a score of 1.0, indicating that both amino acid pattern and digestibility of soya protein are excellent. In addition to helping to meet the biological requirement for protein consuming soyfoods is an excellent way to increase the protein content of the diet as means of maintaining ideal weight. Research suggests that higher protein diets are more satiating and useful for weight management. Although high protein diets may increase risk of developing kidney disease in susceptible individuals, several studies indicate that soya protein favorably affects renal function in comparison to animal proteins .
The American Food and Drug Administration and the British Joint Health Claim Initiative approved the health claim that "Intake of 25 grams of soya protein a day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat, may reduce the risk of heart disease".

Soya Oil

Soybeans, in comparison to other beans, grains and cereals, contain a high amount of fat. Fortunately, the fat found naturally in the soybean, and that which ends up in whole soybean-based foods (and most traditionally processed soyfoods such as tofu, soymilk, tempeh, full fat soy flour, and liquid soybean oil) can be categorized as a healthy fat.

Approximately 50 percent of the fat in soybeans is linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fat and an essential nutrient. In addition, soybean oil can contain as much as 8 percent alpha-linolenic acid, which is an Omega-3 fatty acid, the type of fat found in fish which is believed to be beneficial in lowering the risk of heart disease.


Carbohydrates and Fiber


Unlike other beans, there are few complex carbohydrates in soya. Soyabeans contain 10-13% carbohydrates of which sugars represent 10-12% and starch 1%. The soyabean also contains 18% fibres, a mixture of cellulosic, and noncellulosic structural components of the internal plant cell wallSoluble and insoluble carbohydrates, including dietary fiber, make up about 30 percent of the soybean. The primary soluble carbohydrates in the soybean are the sugars stachyose, raffinose and sucrose. The amounts of these sugars vary according to both the variety of soybean and its growing conditions, but for the most part, together, they make up about 10 percent of the soybean.

The oligosaccharides raffinose and stachyose are significant because they are not digested or used as nutrients directly by the human body, but instead are used as nutrients by the bifido bacteria in the lower intestine to sustain and promote their growth. These types of intestinal flora are considered important for human health, as it is believed that their presence can reduce the incidence of many diseases of the lower tract, including colon cancer.
Vitamins and Minerals
The major mineral components of soybeans are potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur and phosphorus. Mineral content can vary widely due to both the type of soil and growing conditions for the soybean. Although soybeans are not considered be very rich sources of any one particular vitamin, they do contribute to an overall nutritional well-being.

The water-soluble vitamins in soybeans are thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, folic acid, inositol and choline. Fat-soluble vitamins present in the soybean are vitamins A and E. Vitamin A exists as provitamin beta carotene and is present in higher levels in the immature green vegetable soybean, than in the mature or dry soybean. Tocopherols are an important constituent of soy oil due both to the vitamin E supplied for human nutrition and the antioxidant properties of tocopherols that protect the oil.

Calcium

The soya bean is a good source of calcium (Ca) and contains approximately 225 mg Ca/ 100 g beans. The content of soya drinks, however, is only 12-mg/100 g, so to be a good source of calcium and obtain the same quantity as in cow's milk, soya drinks have to be enriched with calcium.
The bioavailability of calcium (the quantity available to be used in the biological processes), is very important. It is sometimes heard that the bioavailability of calcium from soya milk isn't as high as from dairy milk.
Research revealed that the bioavailability of calcium is comparable, and that both are good sources of calcium.

Isoflavones


Isoflavones belong to the 'phyto-estrogens', plant compounds with a chemical structure similar to the endogenous estrogen, oestradiol (see figure). The importance of this structural similarity and its possible favourable effect on hormone-dependent cancers was first discussed in the 1980s. Phyto-estrogens are very common in plants. Large differences however exist in the concentration and type of phyto-estrogens according to the plant, growing conditions etc. In food research 3 groups of phyto-estrogens get particular attention: isoflavones, coumestans and lignans.
Lignans occur mainly in cereals, fibre, fruit and vegetables under the form of precursors. These are metabolised by the gut flora to enterolactone and enterodiol. Flaxseed is a rich source of lignans.
Coumestans are found mostly in alfa-alfa and animal feed. The content is however strongly dependent upon growing conditions, such as moisture.

Soy isoflavones are not only special because of the effect they are believed to have on health, but also, because for all practical purposes, no other food contains as significant an amount of these chemicals as does the soybean.

The major isoflavones in soybeans are genistein, daidzein and glycitein. Of these, it is genistein which is believed to have the most potential to prevent or treat certain cancers. Isoflavones are also sometimes referred to as phytoestrogens, meaning plant estrogens, because they have a similar chemical make-up as does estrogen (although the estrogenic effect of isoflavones is approximately one thousand times weaker than the natural hormone).
The soya bean is unique as it contains the highest levels of isoflavones. Soya contains three types of isoflavones; genistein, daidzein and to a lesser extent glycetein. They appear mostly in the form of sugar conjugates called beta-glucoside conjugates .
Bioavailability which is crucial for clinical effectiveness of soya isoflavones is dependent on intestinal metabolism because the intact beta-glucosides cannot be absorbed into the bloodstream. Hydrolysis of these sugar groups is an essential first step for absorption and activation of their biological activity and this occurs along the length of the intestine by the action of specific beta-glucosidase enzymes located on the mucosal membrane. Further, metabolic transformation of soya isoflavones takes place by the action of intestinal bacteria leading to the formation of many isoflavone metabolites. One of these metabolites, equol, has been found to possess even greater biological activity than its precursor in soya, daidzin.
Isoflavones have a low estrogenic potency; 1/10 000 to 1/140 000 of the activity of oestradiol, the major endogenous estrogen. While isoflavones, can behave as estrogen agonists, they may also antagonize the action of estrogens in certain tissues. The reason for this is complex but partly explained by a unique property of isoflavones. Unlike the body's steroidal estrogens, isoflavones have selective estrogen receptor modulatory (SERM) action and show a higher affinity for the estrogen receptor subtype ERb than for ERa. Estrogens on the other hand bind with equal affinity to both ERa and ERb. A further distinction between estrogens and isoflavones relates to their conformational fit into the pocket and binding site of the dimerized estrogen receptor. Isoflavones such as genistein differ significantly from estradiol in this regard and this from that influences the recruitment of co-activators or co-repressors to the complex, resulting in differences in transcriptional activity. Isoflavones appear to show binding similarities to the SERM, raloxifene and not to estradiol. In tissues where there is an abundance of ERb, such as bone, brain, vascular endothelium and bladder, soya isoflavones are likely to exert estrogen agonist action while in tissues rich in ERa it is probable that isoflavones antagonize the action of estrogen. The presence or absence of estrogens and the receptor number and distribution may also influence the overall action. The picture is by no means simple but what is clear is that soya isoflavones should not be viewed as being comparable estrogens.
They appear to be without the negative effects of estrogens used in hormone therapy, which has invoked so much fear in women due to the recent negative findings from the large clinical studies of hormone replacement therapy.


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SOY LECITHIN COMPOSITION

Soy lecithin consists of three types of phospholipids; phosphatidylcholine (PC), phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) and phosphotidylinositol (PI). It is extracted from soybean oil and is generally used as a natural emulsifier or stabilizer in various food applications.

PROCESSING

Lecithin is a combination of naturally-occurring phospholipids, which are extracted during the processing of soybean oil. The soybeans are tempered by keeping them at a consistent temperature and moisture level for approximately seven to 10 days. This process hydrates the soybeans and loosens the hull. The soybeans are then cleaned and cracked into small pieces and the hulls are separated from the cracked beans. Next, the soybean pieces are heated and pressed into flakes. Soybean oil is extracted from the flakes through a distillation process and lecithin is separated from the oil by the addition of water and centrifugation or steam precipitation1.

FUNCTIONAL BENEFITS

Lecithin is utilized in a wide variety of food and industrial applications. The French scientist, Maurice Gobley, first discovered the substance in 1850, and named it "lekithos," the Greek term for egg yolk. At the time, eggs provided a primary source of commercially-produced lecithin. Today, the majority of lecithin used in food applications is derived from soybeans.

Soy lecithin offers a multifunctional, flexible and versatile tool. It is probably best known for its emulsifying properties, which help promote solidity in margarine and give consistent texture to dressings and other creamy products. Lecithin is also used in chocolates and coatings and to counteract spattering during frying. Additionally, its unique lipid molecular structure makes lecithin useful for pharmaceutical and cosmetic applications and various industrial uses such as paints, textiles, lubricants and waxes.

HEALTH BENEFITS & CLAIMS

Lecithin provides an excellent source of choline, which is essential to every living cell in the body and is one of the main components of cell membranes. Not only is dietary choline important for the synthesis of the phospholipids in cell membranes, it is also necessary for methyl metabolism, cholinergic neurotransmission, transmembrane signaling, and lipid-cholesterol transport and metabolism2. Without choline, the cell membranes would harden, prohibiting important nutrients from entering and leaving the cell. Scientists believe lecithin and choline may aid in memory and cognitive function, cardiovascular health, liver function, reproduction and fetal development and physical and athletic performance.

In 1998, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences identified choline as an essential nutrient and recommended daily intake amounts3. And, in 2001, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a nutrient content claim for choline, enabling food manufacturers to inform their consumers via the food label. Foods that contain over 110 mg of choline per serving may claim that they are an "excellent source of choline" and those with over 55 mg may claim that they offer a "good source of choline4."

ALLERGENICITY

The allergens in soybeans reside in the protein fraction of the bean. The allergenic potential of specific soyfoods and/or ingredients is largely based on processing techniques and the amount of protein or protein residue remaining in the final product5. The majority of soy lecithin used in food applications is derived from refined soybean oil that has been processed using the hot-solvent extraction technique, which eliminates most, if not all, allergenic proteins.

In 1998, Awazuhara et al published a study on the antigenicity of the residual proteins in soy lecithin and soybean oil, in which they tested soybean-sensitive individuals for reactions to soybean oil and soy lecithin. Researchers investigated the IgE- and IgG4-binding abilities of the soy lecithin and concluded that the proteins in soy lecithin have little antigenicity in regard to soybean allergy6.

Although limited data exist on the allergenicity of soy lecithin, Steve Taylor, PhD, head of the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of Nebraska and co-director of the Food Allergy Research Resources Program, concludes that, "avoidance is probably unnecessary for most soy-allergic individuals7."

CONCLUSION


Soy's healthy image extends beyond soyfoods and carries over to byproducts of the bean itself, such as soybean oil and lecithin. The discovery of specific health benefits continues, making soy a welcome sight on ingredient labels. Not only does soy present a potential marketing advantage, but the abundant supply of soybeans guarantees that ingredients such as lecithin are readily available and cost effective.

The Soybean's Effect on Health

HIV & AIDS patients
 
For HIV patients being treated with anti-AIDS medications, resistance to drug therapy regimens is commonplace. Often, patients develop resistance to first-line drug therapies, such as Tenofovir, and are forced to adopt more potent medications. Virologists at the University of Missouri now are testing the next generation of medications that stop HIV from spreading, and are using a molecule related to flavor enhancers found in soy sauce, to develop compounds that are more potent than Tenofovir.
"Patients who are treated for HIV infections with Tenofovir, eventually develop resistance to the drugs that prevent an effective or successful defense against the virus," said Stefan Sarafianos, associate professor of molecular microbiology and immunology in the University of Missouri School of Medicine, and a virologist at the Bond Life Sciences Center at MU. "EFdA, the molecule we are studying, is less likely to cause resistance in HIV patients because it is more readily activated and is less quickly broken down by the body as similar existing drugs."
In 2001, a Japanese soy sauce company inadvertently discovered the EFdA molecule while trying to enhance the flavor of their product. The flavor enhancer is part of the family of compounds called "nucleoside analogues" which is very similar to existing drugs for the treatment of HIV and other viruses. EFdA samples were sent for further testing, which confirmed EFdA's potential usefulness against HIV and started more than a decade of research.
EFdA, along with eight existing HIV drugs, is part of the class of compounds called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). NRTIs "hijack" the HIV replicating process by "tricking" building blocks inside the virus. Since EFdA appears similar to those building blocks, the virus is misled into using the imposter, which prevents HIV replication and halts the spread of the virus.
 
Using a molecule found in soy sauce, Sarafianos and his team are developing compounds that are more potent than Tenofovir, one of the most-used HIV drugs. Credit: Roger Meissen, Bond Life Sciences Center
In their latest study, Sarafianos and his colleagues, including researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the National Institutes of Health, helped define how EFdA works on a molecular level. Using virology techniques and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), they pieced together the exact structure and configuration of the molecule. Compounds developed by Sarafianos and his team currently are being tested for usefulness as potential HIV-halting drugs with pharmaceutical company Merck.
"The structure of this compound is very important because it is a lock-and-key kind of mechanism that can be recognized by the target," Sarafianos said. "EFdA works extremely well on HIV that is not resistant to anti-AIDS drugs, it also works even better on HIV that's become resistant to Tenofovir."

Grants from the National Institutes of Health funded this research which was published the Journals Retrovirology, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy and The International Journal of Pharmaceutics.
 

Cardiovascular Disease


In 1995 a meta-analysis of previous studies entitled "Health Benefits of Soy Protein" (written by Dr. James Anderson of the University of Kentucky) was published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Anderson's study found that soy protein intake was associated with a 9.3 percent reduction in serum cholesterol, a 12.9 percent reduction in LDL cholesterol, and a 10.5 percent reduction in serum triglycerides. For HDL, the "good" cholesterol, concentrations increased by 2.4 percent. It is estimated that this serum cholesterol modification has the potential to reduce risk for coronary heart disease by 18 to 28 percent. Based on the findings from 34 out of the 38 studies reviewed, Dr. Anderson concluded that soy protein was clearly potent in decreasing LDL-cholesterol levels.

But the positive effect of the soybean on heart health is not solely due to the protein and its related compounds; the fats that are found naturally in the soybean also can contribute to a reduction in cholesterol levels. It is understood now that oils that are high in unsaturated fatty acids, such as soybean oil, tend to decrease total serum cholesterol levels. Soybean oil contains about 50 percent linoleic acid, an essential polyunsaturated fat. In addition, soybean oil also contains about 8 percent linolenic acid, which is an omega-3 fatty acid, such as that found mainly in fish oils. This fatty acid has been the subject of numerous studies that link its consumption with a decreased incidence of heart disease and cancer. Soybeans are one of the few plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

Hypertension: Soya Plays a Role


The International Journal of Epidemiology published a shocking finding that:
“South Africa has the highest rate of high blood pressure reported among people aged 50 and over for any country in the world, at any time in history.
It is estimated that 6.3 million people in South Africa are living with high blood pressure.

High blood pressure increases people’s risk of experiencing stroke, heart disease and other forms of serious illness, such as chronic kidney disease, with those over the age of 50 at significantly increased risk.

Without doubt South Africans are more susceptible to these life-threatening diseases. Statistics show that about 130 heart attacks and 240 strokes occur daily in South Africa. This means that 10 people will suffer a stroke and five people will have a heart attack every hour.

Furthermore the survey found that less than one in 10 people were effectively controlling their condition with medication.

In the past, hypertension was associated with rich, developed countries or with wealthier sectors of society. Today, high blood pressure is a condition that affects the majority of society, rich or poor, rural or urban.

Hypertension is often preventable and is definitely treatable with lifestyle and dietary changes.
In this article we will focus on two important dietary facts currently dominating the scientific research: SALT AND SOYA. We will also cover basic dietary guidelines to manage hypertension.
SALT

The Heart and Stroke Foundation have indicated that the link between salt and high blood pressure is well-documented and accepted as medical fact.
What is less widely known, is that South African foods are laden with salt – or sodium.

Internationally accepted guidelines state that any food with more than 600 mg of sodium per 100g can be considered unhealthy. In South Africa, many products exceed this limit. And the biggest culprit is bread, followed closely by margarine, butter spreads, stock cubes, soup powders, breakfast cereals and savoury snacks. Consumers are often surprised to find high sodium content in foods that are sweet and not salty at all.

Another concern is that South Africans rate high on the list of discretionary salt use – that is the amount of salt they add to the food themselves. In most Westernised countries, discretionary use is small – only about 15%. But in South Africa, up to 40% of salt is added by individuals to their food. This shows the lack of awareness of the dangers that salt poses to health, especially those who suffer from high blood pressure.

It is stated that the number one black sheep is bread – both locally and internationally. It has been estimated that by reducing the sodium content of bread by 50%, along with other reductions, salt intake will be decreased by 0.85g a day, resulting in 7 400 fewer deaths due to cardiovascular disease annually in SA.

Bread manufacturers were mandated by Government in the Food Label Law to reduce salt in their bread recipes by May 2016, and this is being implemented currently.

Consumers can cut down on salt by reading labels carefully and also by becoming aware of salt, tailoring shopping habits to lower salt content foods. The aim should be to reduce salt slowly and to look out for high-salt foods and buy alternatives instead. In time the body will adjust and eating a healthy low-salt diet will become much less of a chore – and will actually become a pleasure instead.
Salty Facts:

    Many so-called “health foods” are high in sodium
    Most of the salt in our diet is found in processed foods
    Bread is the single highest contributor to the total salt intake of South Africans
    The World Health Organisation sees hypertension as a bigger health risk than smoking
    A high-salt diet is a leading cause of high blood pressure and high blood pressure is the single most important risk factor for stroke.
    A reduction of salt intake by 2 grams per day reduces cardiovascular events by 20%.

SOYA
A meta-analysis done in 2012 showed that soy (isoflavones) had an effect of lowering blood pressure in people with hypertension (high blood pressure), but not in those with normal blood pressure.

Isoflavones — a compound found in soy foods — may help lower blood pressure in young adults, new research suggests.

The researchers also found that isoflavones may be of particular benefit for black adults, of whom 40-50 percent are estimated to have high blood pressure (hypertension).

One expert not connected to the study said there is reason to believe that isoflavones could also help the heart in the following manner:

The hypothesis is that isoflavones have the effect of dilating blood vessels by increasing the release of nitric oxide, and thus reduce blood pressure. The new study, brings to light a compelling dietary recommendation that can help control hypertension in younger patients.

In another study, investigators examined data from more than 5,000 participants, The analysis revealed that those who consumed the highest amounts of isoflavones per day (more than 2.5 milligrams [mg]) had an average 5.5 mmHg lower systolic pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) than those who consumed less than 0.33 mg of isoflavones per day.

To understand what that means to the everyday diet, 1 cup (250ml) soy milk has about 22 mg of isoflavones and 100 grams of roasted soybeans have as much as 130 mg of isoflavones, the researchers explained.

This study is the first to show a benefit in African-Americans, who have a higher incidence of high blood pressure, with an earlier onset and more severe end-organ damage.
The findings in these studies could mean that consuming soy protein, in combination with a DASH diet — one that is high in fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy and whole grains — could lead to as much as a 10 mmHg drop in systolic blood pressure for pre-hypertensives [people on the threshold of high blood pressure], greatly improving their chances of not progressing to hypertension.

This is also significant for those hypertensives NOT adhering to drug treatment.

Further research will be necessary to verify these findings, but the research to date is very promising in this regard.
DASH DIET

DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, and the diet was developed for a research study in the early 1990s. The purpose of the study was to identify a food-based strategy to lower blood pressure. Even though the original research was quite a long time ago, scientists recently conducted a meta-analysis for a DASH diet review to summarize how much blood pressure can be reduced by the DASH diet. The study found, on average, people reduce their blood pressure by 6.7 mmHg systolic and 3.5 mmHg diastolic in just two weeks. The more sodium is restricted, the lower blood pressure goes.


The DASH diet plan includes eating more:

    fruits and vegetables,
    low-fat or nonfat dairy,
    beans, and
    nuts.

And eating less:

    fatty meats,
    full-fat dairy products,
    sugar-sweetened beverages,
    sweets, and
    sodium (salt).

Since the original research, scientists also have found that they could apply the DASH diet plan for weight loss. When people follow the Dash diet in addition to increasing exercise, they lose weight and improve metabolic measures such as insulin sensitivity. However, the DASH diet alone was not as effective a strategy for weight loss. When the DASH diet is followed along with exercise and caloric reduction, people improved their blood pressure even more; lowering it by 16 mmHg systolic and 9mmHg diastolic; plus, they lost some weight. As people adopt the DASH diet and lower their blood pressure, they may have a reduced need for medication.

People with hypertension should discuss the diet-based changes they are making with their Dietician, and if their blood pressure reaches or is below goal (<140/80), they could then discuss reducing their medications and maintaining their blood pressure with diet alone, with their doctor / specialist.


Osteoporosis


Consumption of soyfoods may help to maintain and even rebuild bone density and strength, and act as an effective treatment for osteoporosis.

Studies have shown that diets high in animal protein tend to cause more calcium to be leached from the bones and excreted in the urine and feces. On the other hand, protein from soybeans does not have this effect. Other studies have shown that the isoflavone genistein inhibited bone breakdown and may increase bone density as well.

Much attention has been focused on the need to increase calcium intake to help prevent osteoporosis, and most people tend to focus on dairy products as the best source for calcium. But many soyfoods are naturally rich in calcium, and the calcium from soyfoods is absorbed as well as that which comes from milk. Among soyfoods, good sources of calcium are tofu (in particular, tofu which has been coagulated with calcium sulfate), calcium-fortified soymilk, whole soybeans, soy flour and tempeh.


Malnutrition


Soybeans can produce at least twice as much protein per acre than any other major vegetable or grain crop, 5 to 10 times more protein per acre than land set aside for grazing animals to make milk, and up to 15 times more protein per acre than land set aside for meat production.

Adding soy protein to breads, tortillas, corn meal, pasta, milk or any traditional food is a low cost and efficient way to ensure adequate nutrition for vulnerable populations. In this manner, not only do people receive enough high quality protein for the development and maintenance of their health, but they also get the added disease prevention benefits of soybean phytochemicals.


Cancer


Since 1990, there have literally been thousands of studies conducted by researchers around the world hoping to identify which of these compounds may be the most valuable in the fight against cancer. And although it is not yet certain which one of these compounds is the most important, or if in fact some or all of them work together to a certain extent, many researchers believe that it is the isoflavones which are responsible for much of the anti-carcinogenic effect. Interestingly enough, soybeans are one of the few widely consumed foods that contain a significant amount of isoflavones.

Because they look similar in structure, isoflavones tend to bind with the receptors normally used by estrogen to exert its effects on the body, some of which are cancer promoting. By binding to these receptors in place of the estrogen, the soybean's phytoestrogens have in essence acted as anti-estrogens.

These protective estrogen-related effects of isoflavones are not just beneficial to woman. It is possible that isoflavones may also exert a therapeutic effect for men with prostate cancer, as estrogen has been shown to be an effective therapy for treating that cancer.

In experiments on human prostate cancer cells, genistein has been shown to inhibit cell proliferation. And in addition, genistein has been shown to inhibit angiogenesis, or new tumor vessel growth, thereby slowing the progression of existing cancer.
Research on soybeans and soyfoods continues to probe their role in the prevention and treatment of disease. For men, women and children, soybeans appear to be one of nature's healthiest and highest quality food sources.


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