On the one hand, soy products are praised to the skies, on the other hand, they are badly insulted and accused of the worst. When you look at the body of evidence and research (in humans!), soy products are fine foods with a ton of health benefits. In the summer of 2016, for example, it was shown that the regular consumption of soy products can have such a positive effect on human metabolism that the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Soy products protect against diabetes and many other chronic ailments
Soy products such as soy milk, tofu, tofu burgers, and soy cream have long been unjustly denigrated. Because if you consistently avoid them, you forego interesting health benefits – as many studies have shown in the meantime.
In particular, the isoflavones contained in soybeans – secondary plant substances from the group of flavonoids – are said to be responsible for the effects of regular soy consumption. For example, the soybean is said to protect against menopausal symptoms, dyslipidemia, osteoporosis, and various forms of chronic kidney problems.
Another study was published in August 2016 in the journal of the Endocrine Society, the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. In it, scientists from the Kashan University of Medical Sciences in Iran wrote that the consumption of soy products is also suitable for preventing diabetes and heart disease. In the present study, this preventive effect was found in young women suffering from the so-called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
For PCOS: Soy products reduce insulin resistance
PCOS is a common chronic hormonal disorder that affects 5 to 10 percent of women of childbearing age. In PCOS, the ovaries only work to a limited extent. Irregular cycles, high testosterone levels, obesity, male hair growth patterns (excessive hair growth on the body, hair loss on the head), and often infertility result. Yes, PCOS is the reason for unwanted childlessness in 70 percent of all infertile women.
PCOS is also reflected in increased susceptibility to cardiovascular diseases and insulin resistance, which can develop into type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that around 40 percent of all female diabetics between the ages of 20 and 50 suffer from PCOS.
The Iranian scientists around Dr. Mehri Jamilian now examined 70 women with diagnosed PCOS and how a diet containing soy could affect the symptoms. Half of the women were given soy isoflavones in an amount (50 mg) similar to that found in 500 ml soy milk. The other half received a placebo.
They observed how various biomarkers (hormone levels, inflammation levels, various metabolic levels, and levels of oxidative stress) changed over the next three months.
Soy lowers insulin, cholesterol, and blood lipids
The amount of circulating insulin and other biomarkers associated with insulin resistance decreased significantly in the soy group compared to the placebo group. Testosterone levels, cholesterol levels (LDL), and triglycerides (blood fats) also fell in the soy group, but not in the placebo group. Due to the positive effects on blood lipid levels, it is believed that soy products can not only protect against diabetes but also protect the cardiovascular system.
Our study found that women with PCOS can benefit greatly from regularly including soy products in their diet,” recommends Dr. Zatollah Asemi from Kashan University of Medical Sciences.
The Iranian researchers thus confirm a study that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2008. Even then, it was shown that people developed type 2 diabetes less frequently the more they consumed soy products (especially soy milk) and other legumes.
Soy products are also good for the heart
Researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville showed how beneficial the consumption of soy products is for cardiovascular health back in 2003. At that time, it was discovered that soy clearly reduces the risk of developing coronary heart disease. With this heart problem, the fine coronary vessels calcify and as a result, all sorts of inconveniences such as chest pain (angina pectoris), heart failure, cardiac arrhythmia up to heart attack, and sudden cardiac death occur.
The Vanderbilt scientists now evaluated the data from the Shanghai Women’s Health Study, a population-based prospective cohort study (1997 to 2000) with approximately 75,000 people between the ages of 40 and 70. It was shown that the risk of developing coronary heart disease, the more it decreased the more soy products the participants consumed.
In January 2017, Yan et al. something very similar in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, namely that three health risks can be reduced enormously if you eat soy products frequently. In this case, one would be less likely to become a victim of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and coronary heart disease.
If soy, then buy organic soy
When you buy soy products, always remember that you only buy soy products made from organic soybeans, otherwise there is a high risk that the soy is genetically modified and has also come into contact with large quantities of herbicides. In the meantime, organic soy is also increasingly being cultivated in Europe, e.g. in Germany, France, and Austria. This minimizes the risk of organic soy mixing with GM soy after harvest.