Many people all over the world love eating soybeans with me being one of them. The popularity of the soy foods has made soybean a highly consumed ingredient and trust me, we are not complaining. It is often consumed in the form of curry, mixed in other recipes or used as a meat substitute at times. Its popularity is not just for the taste but also for the amazing health benefits that it offers. There are a number of health benefits of soybeans and it helps us cure and prevent a number of health issues including skin and hair. I eat and like soybeans in any form, but there are many who don’t eat it. If you are one of them, then here’s the post worth reading. Today in this post, I am going to talk about the top 16 health benefits of eating soybeans and that may make you love it more.
Soybeans or “Glycine max” are actually legumes and belong to the family of peas. The other names of soybeans are soya beans and edamame beans (mostly called in China and Japan). Native to East Asia, this edible bean became popular in the other Asian countries in the early 20th century and today is definitely considered as an ideal supplemental source, mainly for the vegetarians.
Soybean is cultivated in many parts of the world with USA, Brazil, Argentina, China and India topping the list. The plant grows generally up to 2 meters in height and is a low-lying plant. Soybeans are mostly green in color with brown, yellow and varieties also available.
Due to the loaded nutrients and antioxidants, soybeans are said to be great for your digestive system, bones, heart, postmenopausal symptoms etc. However, before I start discussing about the various health benefits of soybeans, let me begin with the nutrients present in it that make it one of the healthiest foods (especially for vegetarians) we have today.
Various nutrients found in soybeans
Soybeans are a powerhouse of nutrients and loaded with many other antioxidants that are necessary to strengthen our immune system and help our body fight various diseases. They are not just delicious to taste but also fat free that makes them a necessary ingredient in the diet list of overweight or obese people as well.
Listed below are the top nutrients that found in soybeans. In order to know the full details you may like to check the USDA site.
- Dietary fiber
- Folic acid/folate
Now that you know about the various nutrients, let us begin with the various health benefits of eating soybeans.
16 amazing health benefits eating of Soybeans
From the nutrient profile, you must have already got an idea regarding how nutritious it is for our health. It has been proved to take care of most of the body parts including bones, heart, brain, teeth, ears, nails, skin, and hair and give us protection against many deadly diseases like diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular problems etc. In other words, eating soybeans increases our overall health and leads to general well being.
So let us sneak deeper with the top 16 amazing health benefits of eating soybeans.
Protects your heart
A healthy heart is important for healthy living and you can achieve that with proper consumption of soybeans as recommended in the article published in “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition”. Soybeans contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids that prevent cholesterol transport in the system. This reduces the concentration of the bad cholesterol LDL and increases levels of good cholesterol or HDL in body.
In fact, not just the healthy fats but the fiber present in it also scrapes excess cholesterol from walls of arteries and blood vessels and reduces the overall cholesterol levels in body. Thus with soybeans you can avoid atherosclerosis and reduce the risk of falling prey to hearts attacks and strokes.
Soybeans also contain two other fatty acids namely linolenic and linoleic acids that regulates smooth functioning of the heart muscles and maintain blood pressure levels in your body, thereby giving a further boost to your cardiovascular health.
Helps maintain body weight
A perfect figure means neither too fatty nor too skimpy and that is what eating soybeans help you to achieve. According to an article published in “Journal of Medicinal Food”, soybeans have anti-obesity effect in human body. If you consume soybeans, you will remain full for a long time which will automatically reduce your food craving and calorie intake, and thus it helps you prevent being overweight.
On the other hand, if you are too thin and desperately want to gain a few extra pounds, then eat high amounts of soybeans as it contains proteins and fiber that enables weight gain. Moreover, the weight gain neither leads to unhealthy fat accumulation nor increases bad cholesterol levels in body and so it is good for you. Thus if want to have the perfect healthy figure, then consume soybeans as per your calorie requirements.
Boosts digestive health
Eating adequate amount of soybeans is highly beneficial for your digestive system. If you are having issues related to digestion, eating soybeans will be beneficial for you. In fact, those who suffer from constipation can get huge relief by consuming soybeans. This is because soybean is loaded with dietary fiber that adds bulk to your stool and promotes smooth elimination of your excreta.
Moreover, it also has peristaltic effects that further aids in smooth contraction of muscles that push the food out of your system. Therefore, it is important for you to eat soybeans on a frequent basis and protect yourself from various digestive problems.
There are a number of health benefits of soybeans with strong bones being one of them. The high amounts of calcium and potassium present in it strengthen the bones and prevent easy breakage. The other nutrients like magnesium, copper, selenium and zinc also allow formation of new bones and speeds up the bone healing process.
In fact, studies show that one can get rid of the age related problem of osteoporosis with proper intake of soybeans on a frequent basis although more studies are required to confirm the fact fully. The presence of omega 3 fatty acids and folate in soybeans also help to get rid of arthritis and its side effects.
Improves metabolism and blood circulation
Soy proteins are important to maintain healthy metabolism in your body. They are the building blocks of blood cells and the vessels. Proteins help in repair and re-growth of cells and promote good health. In fact, not just proteins, soybeans also contain zinc and copper that aids in the formation of the red blood cells. This enables good circulation of blood and oxygen to every corner of human system and increases the metabolic rates. Proper intake of soybean can also be beneficial in preventing anemia.
Helps prevent diabetes
Diabetes is another leading killer that must be prevented at the earliest. According to a study published in “Journal of Medical Food” the pinitol present in soybeans help in the reduction of postprandial blood glucose in the Type II affected patients. Another study confirms the efficiency of fermented soybean products in combating Type II diabetes. Therefore, soybean is good for diabetic patients but you must always try to avoid the sweetened soy items and instead go for the unsweetened non-fried soy items.
Eases menopausal problems
Middle-aged women after having menopause experience various changes in body that affect their health largely and if you want to reduce the discomfort do consume soybeans. According to studies, the various soy foods like soybeans can actually ease the menopausal symptoms and are often recommended in their diet.
The phrase of menopause is quite traumatic and leads to significant decrease in estrogen levels in body. Nevertheless, the presence of isoflavones in soybeans binds the estrogen receptor cells and protects menopausal women against the symptoms of sudden mood swings, hunger pains, hot flashes etc.
Good for nails
If you are tired of brittle nails, then you should eat soybeans in good amounts. Inclusion of soybeans in your regular diet for at least 6 months will strengthen your nails and add glossiness in them. This will also moisturize your nails and prevent the nail fungus infection. Alternatively, you may also dip your nails in soy sauce to prevent the nail fungus from spreading.
Combats hearing loss
With age most of the body parts stop working and that may lead to many health issues with hearing loss being an important concern. However, you can improve your hearing power with soybeans. This is because it is rich in zinc and iron that helps in the expansion of the capillaries, softening of the red blood cells and stimulating the supply of blood to your ears. This procedure enables better hearing in aged adults.
In fact, not just zinc, studies confirm that soybean B-CG also has the potentiality to prevent the age related hearing impairment by preserving cochlear flow and improving oxidative status.
Good for your brain
Human brain is important as its malfunctioning can drive people insane. So ways must be adopted to improve cognitive functioning, and consumption of soybeans is definitely one of the significant ways to boost brain health. The lecithin in soybeans is vital for brain that stimulates overall cognitive function. Besides, the presence of phytosterols helps in proper functioning of the nerves in your brain. Soybeans contain protein that stimulates cerebral cortex that helps in learning and work. It also promotes better retention of human memory. This efficiency of soybeans is of great help for the Alzheimer patients as well.
The isoflavones in soybean enable better cognitive function and studies are a proof of that. Also, the magnesium in it reduces the unbearable pain of migraine. So if you are like many others who are a victim of migraine headache, make it a point to consume adequate soybean in your diet.
Better immune system
Soybeans are packed with a number of nutrients and antioxidants that make your immune power strong. With proper soybean consumption, you will be able to fight various disease causing germs and save yourself from falling ill fast. The nutrients provide us with added stamina and energy and improve our performance. The zinc content strengthens the immune system and facilitates fast healing of wounds.
Moreover, soybeans have anti-inflammatory properties that help to ease any kind of swelling. So if you want a proper immune system, do eat soybeans in adequate amounts for it is highly beneficial in boosting immune system.
Good for pregnant mothers
Soybeans are very nutritious and are often recommended for pregnant women. This is because the main nutrients like vitamins, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper etc help in development of the fetus. The vitamins along with folate also help in the production of the blood cells in the fetus. Studies also prove the efficiency of dietary soy isoflavones in the offspring. Moreover, by eating soybean, the body of the pregnant women also gets the needed nutrients to stay fit and healthy during pregnancy.
Helps fight depression
Moods swings and depressive tendencies are quite common these days due to added pressure but these can be avoided with soybean intake. It may sound a bit weird but yes the folate content that is found in it in abundance helps to produce serotonin. This helps you to uplift your mood and fight the problem of depression. Many studies also show the soybean isoflavones exhibiting antidepressant effects in women.
Relieves from sleep disorders
Proper sleep is important to stay fit and keep you going throughout the day failing to which can give a sense of restlessness and fatigue and lack of energy to work. However, this problem can be solved with proper consumption of soybeans. The main reason behind that is the magnesium that is found in soybean in huge proportion. This magnesium improves the quality, duration and restfulness of sleep, and helps you defeat the problem of insomnia. However, besides magnesium studies also stress on the importance of the soy isoflavones in reducing insomnia symptoms in postmenopausal women.
Helps prevent premature aging
Who does not want to look young and glowing and if maintaining youthful look is so easy with soybean consumption why not give it a try? Eating soybean can be very effective in preventing premature aging. Soybean is loaded with antioxidants which when consumed in adequate amounts can prevent premature aging. So eat soybeans and maintain a healthy lifestyle with regular exercises and enjoy the youthful look for years.
Cancer in recent times has lead to several deaths and so it must be prevented and if studies are to be believed, soybean will help you in that. The levels of antioxidants that we get from soybeans are efficient to prevent the onset of various cancers. They neutralize the effects of free radicals and prevent the healthy cells from turning cancerous.
For example, in men, plant hormone phytoestrogen in soybean reduces testosterone levels thereby preventing the occurrence of prostate cancer. Besides preventing male prostate cancer, studies also confirm the efficiency of soybeans to prevent breast cancer in women as well.
Further reports confirm the potentiality of soybeans in the prevention of colorectal cancer. . The primary reason is the presence of soy isoflavones. The dietary fiber that is loaded in soybean also lowers the risk of gastric cancer. Therefore, when a single ingredient gives protection against so many cancers, it is definitely worth consuming.
Precautions regarding soybeans consumption
There is no doubt about the efficiency of soybeans to combat various health related issues but few precautions must be taken before you eat soybeans.
Here are a few tips that you must keep in mind.
- Soybeans are good for pregnant women as I have already discussed but that must be taken in normal amounts. Excessive soybeans can harm the fetus.
- Similarly, little children must be given adequate amounts of soy to enable good health. This is because their immune system is not that strong and any abrupt change in body can harm them.
- If any individual is allergenic to the milk of a cow, please avoid eating soybeans.
- The anti thyroid compounds in soybeans can disrupt the functioning of your thyroid gland and result to goiter. Therefore, this is another reason why it must be consumed in moderate amounts.
- Soy products generally contain oxalates that if taken in huge amounts can lead to kidney stones.
- It is preferable for asthma patients to avoid soybeans as in most cases they are allergic to them.
- Estrogen mimicking compounds are found in soybeans and so if any male eats soybeans in huge amounts, he may suffer from hormonal imbalance in body. This also increases the possibility of infertility, low sperm count, sexual dysfunction and an increased risk of cancers. Therefore, it is better to be safe and consume soy products in normal amounts.
You must be worrying now after reading the above points but trust me there is nothing to worry. I have just mentioned some exceptions and extreme conditions, so if you eat in moderate amounts, you will be able to enjoy all the health benefits of soybeans.
Over to you
There are so many health issues that we face in our day to day lives and so we are in dire need of ingredients loaded with nutrients to help us combat maximum health conditions and soybeans is definitely one such product. The healthy benefits of soybeans can never be ignored despite the few side effects that its consumption may cause.
I have mentioned all the major health benefits of soybeans with good digestive system, strengthening bones, maintaining body weight, prevention of cancer etc being the most significant ones. So do eat soybeans in moderate amounts and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Do you love soybeans? Have you checked out the health benefits of soybeans? What soybean recipe do you like? Please share the feedbacks in the comment section and do like and share the post to create awareness among others.
Until then stay healthy, stay safe and keep enjoying the taste and health benefits of soybeans.
Eliana the chief editor at bodyandbeans is a professional yoga instructor and a fitness freak. She has done her master’s in history from Kolkata University. She is passionate about healthy eating and living practices.