The Japanese have longer lifespans, and Americans have been trying to figure out their secret to longevity for decades. The Japanese are subjected to the same types of stress as Americans, so scientists started examining the Japanese diet, and one food came into focus: soy beans. Many Japanese eat a soy product for every meal. Tofu, miso, and natto (fermented soybeans) are all packed with soy bean nutrients.
But are soy beans the key to longevity?
Numerous studies have been conducted on the different types of soy products, including soy milk. High-quality soy milk has healthy amounts of protein and isoflavones as well as other nutrients. According to the LIVESTRONG website, soy milk has four vital vitamins and minerals.
• Calcium: Calcium helps maintain strong bones.
• Iron: Iron maintains blood vessels so that muscles and organs get oxygen.
• Riboflavin: Also known as Vitamin B2, Riboflavin helps the body turn food into energy.
• Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 helps maintain normal brain function and helps form red blood cells.
A glass of soy milk is not only refreshing, but it can strengthen a person’s skeleton, organs, and brain. In addition, riboflavin helps turn food into energy. Soy milk would be an ideal drink for anyone who is wanting to improve their health.
Two other powerful soy nutrients are mentioned in scientific studies.
• Soy Protein: Protein is found in all parts of the body: muscle, bone, skin and hair. It is also found in enzymes and blood.
• Isoflavonoids: These are also known as isoflavones, and they interact with estrogen receptors.
Protein is a basic building block for mammals, and soy protein is low in saturated fat, so soy protein is ideal for anyone who is wanting to maintain a healthy diet. WebMD recommends adding soy products to help reduce LDL cholesterol levels, also known as the “bad cholesterol”. Although eating soy protein only reduced LDL by 3%, WebMD mentions that any reduction is important.
Since soy protein does not have any kind of cholesterol, they strongly recommend soy protein for a healthy diet. High levels of bad cholesterol can lead to heart disease and strokes, so monitoring the intake of LDL cholesterol is wise. Another study mentioned on WebMD linked soy protein to lowering triglyceride levels.
Doctors have discovered that high levels of triglycerides can lead to heart disease. Soy protein has proven to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and both of these are known to cause major health problems, like heart attacks and strokes.
Isoflavones are not as commonly known as proteins, and scientists are starting to unpack their potential. Studies have shown that isoflavones found in soy milk help battle several major health concerns for men and women.
Although hot flashes during menopause are not a life-threatening problem, they do impact women’s lives. Women who suffer from hot flashes may suddenly begin to sweat around the face and chest, and they might turn red. According to the Mayo Clinic, a hot-flash sufferer is then often chilled after an episode. Women dealing with hot flashes may have to rest during or after an episode before they can continue their routine. Fortunately, scientists have discovered that isoflavones can reduce the “frequency and severity” of hot flashes.
Everyone knows someone who suffers from hypertension, or high blood pressure. Unfortunately, many people do not know that isoflavones found in soy milk have been proven to reduce the blood pressure levels in those who suffer from hypertension.
Finally, isoflavones can reduce the risk of both prostate and breast cancer because they interact with hormone receptors. One study showed that the consumption of soy products helped reduce the risk of prostate cancer. WebMD agrees that soy products can also reduce the risk of breast cancer. They recommend two cups of soy milk daily to get the proper amount of nutrients to
They recommend two cups of soy milk daily to get the proper amount of nutrients to reduce the risk of cancer. WebMD also reminds us that soy products are eaten daily by Asian women, and Asian women have an extremely low rate of breast cancer.
There is one thing missing in soy milk: lactose, which is found in cow’s milk. If a person’s digestive system cannot break down lactose, they are labeled lactose intolerant which is not life threatening but can be very uncomfortable for the sufferer. LIVESTRONG does advise soy milk drinkers to check the amount of sugar or calories in the various soy milk options to choose the best soy milk brand for their diet.
In just two cups of soy milk a day, a person can get essential vitamins, minerals, protein, and isoflavones to help their body become stronger and reduce the risk of life threatening illnesses. Perhaps soy milk is the key to longevity.