Protein alternatives are fast overtaking meat proteins. Soya and whey protein top the list. Of these, Soya is plant protein got from soya beans also called edamame. High in protein and used as a vegetarian and lactose alternative for many foods, soya has transcended its Asian origins to become the most widely cultivated legume across the globe
The key benefits of soya are its high protein content, vitamins, minerals and insoluble fibre. The high fibre content makes soya beans and other soya containing foods valuable in cases of constipation, high cholesterol and type -2 diabetes.
Soya contains PHYTOESTROGENS- chemicals found in plant foods.Phytoestrogens have been found to help block the effects of excess oestrogen in the body, even out any imbalance in the ratio between oestrogen and progesterone.They can therefore be helpful in improving symptoms of oestrogen dominance such as PMS and endometriosis.As phytoestrogens act as a weak oestrogen, they may help relieve Menopausal symptoms by boosting levels slightly.
Soya is regarded as equal to animal foods in PROTEIN quality yet it is thought that plant proteins are processed differently to animal proteins. For example, experimental studies have shown that soya protein isolates tend to lower cholesterol levels while protein from animal sources can raise cholesterol levels. Soya beans also contain compounds called PHYTOSTEROLS. These plant compounds are structurally similar to cholesterol and steroid hormones. They function to inhibit the absorption of cholesterol by blocking absorption sites.
Hence Soya products such as Soya milk, tofu, Soya chunks, Soya flour are widely available and accepted.
........Deepa Kamath ( Dietician)