Soybeans, the small but mighty beans, are one of a kind. They belong to the class of plant-based foods that are considered “complete proteins”. This means that they possess all the nine essential amino acids that can only be supplied to the body through food.
In addition to protein, soybeans contain other vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K1 (which performs an important role in blood clotting), vitamin B9 (particularly crucial during pregnancy), iron (which, among its many jobs, helps the blood deliver oxygen throughout the body), and potassium (which helps the kidney to filter waste and proper functioning of the nerves). Besides, people who adhere to a strict vegetarian diet depend on soybeans as a replacement for meat to get their required amount of protein to be able to live healthy active lives.
Here are six amazing benefits that this ‘Golden Legume’ delivers to the body:
#1 Weight Management
When it comes to weight management, soybean is among the list of foods to include in one’s diet. Soybeans are very rich in protein. The high presence of protein in soybeans helps to keep one full for longer periods, prevents unnecessary/unhealthy snacking and builds leaner muscles. Incorporating soybeans in the diet is especially important if the goal is a healthy way to manage body weight.
#2 Healthy Bones
Consuming a soy-based diet can help keep the bones healthy and strong. Soybeans contain minerals like calcium, zinc, copper, magnesium and selenium. The presence of these nutrients in soybeans helps the growth of new bones, strengthens existing bones and hasten the bone healing process. Health experts believe that eating soybean can be a long-term solution for treating problems like osteoporosis (a condition which causes the bones to become weak), which is quite common among old people. Including soybean in one’s daily diet will ensure healthy bones and help prevent diseases likely to affect the bones.
#3 Ease Sleep Disorders
Some people suffer from insomnia, a disorder in which they have trouble falling or staying asleep. This sleep disorder disrupts life and may lead to low productivity. Soybeans, according to health professionals, can help reduce the symptoms of insomnia. This is due to the presence of magnesium in soybeans, which can help one fall and stay asleep thereby giving the body and the brain a much-deserved rest. So, having a glass of soy milk before bed is likely to make one sleep better.
#4 Promote Heart Health
Naturally, soybeans are cholesterol-free and low in saturated fat, which means they are heart-friendly foods. Soybeans have also been proven to help with LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or “bad” cholesterol. High levels of this bad cholesterol increase one’s risk of stroke and heart diseases. Addition of soy to the diet can improve cardiovascular systems, reduce cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
#5 Necessary During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, the expectant mother must get proper nutrition, which is needed for the healthy growth of the baby. Soybeans contain awesome nutrients such as protein, folate and zinc, which are beneficial in preventing birth defects as well as enabling healthy delivery. Imbibing the culture of proper nutrition during pregnancy is beneficial not only to the baby but also the mother.
#6 Reduce Menopausal Symptoms
When women reach menopause, they experience various discomforting symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, abdominal cramps, etc. These occur due to changing levels of estrogen in the body. Soybeans contain isoflavones, a crucial compound beneficial to females. These isoflavones work in such a way that they bind to estrogen receptors in the body thereby relieving menopausal symptoms. Simply put, the inclusion of soybeans to the diet can help women deal with symptoms associated with menopause.
Good things, they say, come in small packages and soybeans have proven to be just that. From helping with weight management, promoting heart health, mitigating sleep disorders and relieving menopausal issues, it’s safe to say that incorporating soybeans into one’s diet is a big win.
Please note that like everything else in life, moderation is key. Do endeavour to consult a dietitian or nutritionist before embarking on any diet.
Eneh Veronica Ejembi is a digital content professional and public relations executive.