Soy has been a regular source of food in other parts of the world for centuries, but it’s just now becoming popular in Western culture. We see soy milk, soy yogurt and edamame on the grocery store shelves, but sometimes we don’t really know why we should be eating them. What’s so great about soy protein, and why is it better for us than other sources of protein? Turns out that soy protein is of great benefit for a woman’s overall health, including muscle strength, heart health and strong bones. Grab that container of soy milk and read on.
Build Muscles Without Building Fat
Protein is necessary for a healthy body and good muscle growth, but many animal sources of protein also include high levels of calories and fat. According to RevolutionHealth.com, soy foods are a great source of plant protein as they are cholesterol-free and low in saturated fat. Try substituting soy products for your normal, higher fat protein sources. Instead of a hamburger, have a vegetarian soy burger. Top your toast with soy nut butter instead of butter and jam. Eat a handful of roasted soy nuts instead of peanuts, pecans or pistachios.
Have a Healthy Heart
Soy foods contain the good fats, those essential, polyunsaturated omega-3 fats that, according to RevolutionHealth.com, are linked with a lower risk of heart disease. Additionally, including more plant protein instead of more carbohydrates in your diet helps to lower your cholesterol. Soy protein also provides fiber, which is also associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Choose minimally processed soy foods for the best heart benefits; tofu and soy milk are great options.
Keep Your Bones Strong
Osteoporosis can be a great concern for women, but according to Gloria Tsang, R.D. in an article published on HealthCastle.com, including soy protein in your diet is one way help keep your bones strong and healthy. Soy products contain high levels of calcium, and soy also contains magnesium and boron, which work with the calcium to build healthy bones. Two studies cited by Tsang show that the isoflavones in soy may reduce the risk of fracture and increase bone mineral density in post-menopausal women.