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What Are the Health Benefits of Soybeans?

by
author image Maryann Gromisch
Maryann Gromisch is a registered nurse and a freelance writer. She has clinical experience in medical, surgical and critical care nursing. Since October 2009 she has written articles related to the digestive system for Empowher.com, a women's health online magazine. She has a bachelor's degree in nursing from Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven.
What Are the Health Benefits of Soybeans?
Close up of soybeans in pod. Photo Credit hanhanpeggy/iStock/Getty Images

Soybean has great health benefits. Packed with protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats, this legume provides your body with an ample energy source. Discover the soybean’s protective properties for cardiovascular health, cancer, osteoporosis and menopause.

Legume Leader in Protein

Your body needs protein, which is a complex organic compound made up of amino acids, for basic cell function. Complete proteins contain the nine essential amino acids. As MedlinePlus explains, your body can't synthesize these essential amino acid, so food is your only source. Soybeans are higher in protein than all other legumes and are the only plant source of complete protein.

Promotes Cardiovascular Health

Substituting saturated fat sources with unsaturated fats may help lower your cholesterol levels. Elevated serum cholesterol levels lead to atherosclerosis and the increased risk for heart disease. The National Soybean Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois says the oil derived from soybeans contains no cholesterol and is a source of polyunsaturated fat. Soybean oil is a rich source of polyunsaturated fatty acids, including the two essential fatty acids called linoleic acid and linolenic acid. These two essential fatty acids are precursors to hormones that regulate smooth muscle contractions and blood pressure. Because your heart is a muscle, there is significance in this health benefit. Soybeans are a source of soluble fiber, which can help lower cholesterol levels and potentially reduce the risk for heart disease.

Promotes Digestive Health and Prevent Colon Cancer

Soybeans are a source of insoluble fiber, which adds bulk to stools and helps waste pass quickly through the digestive tract. According to the Mayo Clinic, a high-fiber diet normalizes bowel movements and promotes digestive health. Adding soybeans to your diet may prevent colon cancer, diverticular disease, constipation and hemorrhoids.

Supports Bone Density and Ease Symptoms of Menopause

Soybeans have a high concentration of calcium, which is a mineral crucial to bone health. Soybeans contain isoflavones, which are substances that have a chemical structure very similar to estrogen. Isoflavonesinfo says isoflavones can interfere as well as activate the activity of your own estrogen. During menopause, when estrogen levels drop, isoflavones bind to the estrogen receptors in cells and ease the symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes. The isoflavones in soybeans increase bone density in women and offer protection against osteoporosis.

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