Over the years, soy milk and other soy products have been conceived as bad for health. This is largely attributed to the animal studies that have reported soy in bad light. It was believed that the estrogen content in soy could be a risk factor for breast cancer. However, the American Cancer Society has declared that when it comes to soy, the isoflavones it contains may act like estrogen, but they also have anti-estrogen properties. Some studies have suggested that a diet high in soy has no role in breast cancer. The current research does not support cutting down whole soy foods, even in cancer patients or survivors.
Soy foods, including soy milk, can be eaten by men as well. It was speculated that consumption of soy products was associated with the development of feminine characteristics in men due to the presence of isoflavone. However, human studies did not find concrete evidence that connects the two. Some studies have reported that consuming soy isoflavones can reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men. Soy isoflavones are similar in structure to estrogen, but their action is weaker than estrogen.
Soy foods are excellent sources of protein and safe for pregnant women too. They are a good substitute for high-fat foods such as red or processed meat. They are also a good option for vegan people. As a low-fat substitute and source of antioxidants, soy foods may help lower your cholesterol and cut down your risk of heart disease.
What are the other health benefits of soy milk?
Soy milk may benefit postmenopausal women:
- Reduce the risk of heart diseases: Many signs and symptoms of menopause are due to the loss of estrogen. Studies have suggested that soy isoflavones may help maintain estrogen levels and alleviate many postmenopausal issues. Antioxidants in soy milk may also help prevent postmenopausal women from heart diseases.
- Help prevent or treat osteoporosis: Early research suggests that soymilk may help postmenopausal women deal with their osteoporosis (brittle bones). Postmenopausal women are at an increased risk of osteoporosis, and osteoporosis makes them prone to fractures, even after a simple fall. Calcium-fortified soy milk will give the double benefit of boosting the estrogen level and increasing the calcium levels. Natural hormone replacement therapy with soy isoflavones may also improve the retention of bone mass and density.
Which soy milk is healthy?
Soy milk comes with a lot of nutritional benefits. However, if you are on a weight loss plan and are looking for soy milk as a healthy option, look for the following soy milk products.
- Unsweetened soy milk
- Calcium- and vitamin-D-fortified soy milk
How does soy milk differ from other types of milk?
Soy milk is a rich source of protein that contains all the nine essential amino acids and is balanced in fats and carbohydrates. There is no other plant milk other than soy milk that is as similar to low-fat cow milk in terms of nutritional content.
Soy milk also contains more quantities of proteins in the same serving size as that of almond milk. Coconut milk contains no protein but is much higher in fat than soy milk.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Soy: Intake Does Not Increase Risk for Breast Cancer Survivors. https://www.aicr.org/cancer-prevention/food-facts/soy/
Soy and Cancer Risk: Our Expert’s Advice. https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/soy-and-cancer-risk-our-experts-advice.html
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