SOY FACTS AND YOUR HEALTH
The Mighty Soybean
Soy contains significant amounts of all the essential amino acids for humans and is also a good source of protein. The beans contain significant amounts of alpha-linolenic acid, omega-6 fatty acid, and the isoflavones genistein and daidzein.
Soy isoflavones are responsible for most of soy’s health benefits. Studies have shown isoflavones are true multi-taskers, tackling everything from promoting heart health, alleviating hot flashes associated with menopause, increasing bone density, and lowering the risk of prostate, colon and breast cancers. In addition, protein-rich soy foods may help you lose weight and fat when substituted for other sources of protein.
■ Isoflavones in soy foods have no significant effects on hormone levels in men or women.
■ Soy foods are safe for a developing fetus.
■ Women who eat soy foods have a lower risk of developing breast cancer.■ No studies demonstrate a link between eating soy and breast cancer recurrence or tumor growth in humans.
■ Soy foods protect against thyroid cancer and have no effect on thyroid function in healthy people.
Soy and Women’s Health
An important recent study found that soy food consumption did not increase the risk of cancer recurrence or death among survivors of breast cancer. Women in the highest intake category of soy foods had a 9 percent reduced risk of mortality and a 15 percent reduced risk of recurrence compared to those who had the lowest intake level. Researchers used data from a multi-institution collaborative study called the After Breast Cancer Pooling Project. Breast cancer outcomes were assessed, on average, nine years after cancer diagnosis.For postmenopausal women with hormone-sensitive breast cancer, another recent study showed those who consumed high amounts of soy isoflavones had a lower risk of recurrence. In addition, evidence suggests that eating soy during childhood and/or adolescence reduces breast cancer later in life.
Soy and Men’s Health
Researchers at Northwestern University have found that a new, nontoxic drug made from soy’s isoflavone genistein could prevent cancer cells in the prostate from spreading to the rest of the body. So far, the cancer therapy drug has worked in preclinical animal studies and now shows benefits in humans with prostate cancer.
Soy’s Benefits to Heart Health
Researchers have found that soy-based diets reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides and raise HDL (good) cholesterol. In 1999, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a health claim about soy protein and heart disease based on soy’s cholesterol-lowering effects. The claim states that “25 grams of soy protein per day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.”Soy foods also help the heart when they replace other sources of protein such as animal protein. This substitution reduces overall saturated fat intake while increasing polyunsaturated fat intake, which lowers cholesterol levels.
In addition, soy isoflavones reduce heart disease risk by inhibiting the growth of cells that form artery-clogging plaque. This plaque can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Soy also improves the flexibility of blood vessels, while another study shows a diet rich in isoflavones may improve the function of arteries in stroke patients.Put simply, soy is one amazingly healthy bean!
Soy Remains at the Heart of Good Nutrition
Throughout my 35+ years as a food scientist, one food that has continually impressed me for its sheer health-promoting power is soy. Whole soy powder, like that found in Reliv’s nutritional supplements, is especially effective since it retains all of the protein, phytonutrients and isoflavones thought to reduce the risk for many serious diseases.Soy is the foundation of several Reliv products and has been an essential part of the Reliv nutrition Revolution since 1988. Yet it’s important to recognize that soy is just one important part of a total package. Soy alone offers an array of benefits ranging from menopause relief to disease prevention and weight loss. But it’s the additional ingredients that work synergistically to make soy such a powerhouse in our products.
Recently, soy foods were highlighted in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS)’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations. These guidelines include recommendations to increase the intake of soy products and fortified soy beverages. Others are finally catching on to what we’ve known for years about soy benefits. And research continues to show the many ways soy supports good health. So, cheers to your two Reliv shakes a day — you’re an official trendsetter!To your health,Dr. Carl W. HastingsReliv Vice Chairman &Chief Scientific Officer
Thank you, Dr. Carl, for another great article and the truth about soy!