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So What's So Great About Soy?

Soy is one of nature's miracles. It's versatile. It's inexpensive. And it's good for you! We would all be healthier if we would add just 25 grams a day (that's less than an ounce!) of soy to our diets. A soybean is a legume that contains up to 25% oil, 24% carbohydrates, and 50% protein. Soybeans are also rich in calcium, iron, potassium, amino acids, vitamins and fiber.

Incredibly, while North American farmers produce the largest soybean crop in the world, most of it is exported to Asian countries, where the population thrives on this hearty bean that is chock-full of vitamins, minerals and more. Research indicates that soy has the power to fight cancer and heart disease, as well as ward off many of the complaints that accompany menopause.

For Weight Management, soy is great. It has more protein and fewer calories than meat. Add this to the other things that you already know to do like:eat more whole grains, fruits and vegetables - less meat, dairy and sugar-laden products. Add some good, old-fashioned common sense and do some moderate exercise so you don't slow down your giddy up 'n' go.

Here are eight of the top health benefits that soy provides:

1. Antioxidant protection. Soy contains a rich supply of antioxidants that protect cells from damage by unstable molecules called free radicals. Soybeans don't send scads of damaging free radicals through your body to mangle and age your cells. In fact, they act to reduce free radicals. This may help explain why many vegetarians enjoy a longer life and why the Japanese, who eat the most soybeans in the world live longer and healthier that the average North American.

2. Breast cancer protection. Research indicates that women who eat soy foods regularly are less likely to develop breast cancer than those who don't.

3. Cholesterol control. Scores of studies from around the world attest to soy's cholesterol-lowering properties.

4. Colon cancer protection. Studies also show that soy helps protect against this dreaded disease.

5. Strong bones. The number of hip and wrist fractures, common to older women, can be reduced when bones are strong. Researchers have shown that increased soy consumption reverses bone loss and bone degeneration.

6. Hot flash reduction. The phytoestrogens (hormones that mimic the action of estrogen in humans) found in soy suppress this symptom of menopause naturally.

7. A strong immune system. Chains of amino acids in soybeans, called peptides, can boost immune function.

8. Kidney disease prevention. By replacing animal protein with soy protein, less strain is put on the kidneys which filter the ash produced when the body breaks down high amounts of animal protein.

For more information about healthy alternatives for Your Health Matters, call Marilyn Reid, RN at (403) 347-6690 or email to marilyn@onlinehealthmatters. We offer free health assessments and work with other professionals to assist you in meeting your health care needs.

Diet: Soy's Impact on You!

A recent Reader's Digest article gave some significant insight into good health and the body's ability to fight disease. The February 2001 issue featured an article stating, "soy is a proven disease fighter for heart and cancer:" Combine the news in this recent article with the latest discoveries in the significance of the ratio of HDL (good) and LDL (bad) cholesterol and a soy diet's impact on that ratio: and, the fact that authorities and even the FDA's new food pyramid are touting soy products - you begin to realize that maybe, just maybe, we need to consider having good, high-quality soy (yes, there is a difference) everyday. This just may be the key to a disease prevention diet.

How much WHOLE SOY do I need to eat? There is a difference between whole soy and soy isolates or concentrates like the kind in supermarket drinks and refrigerated patties and meat substitutes. The whole soy bean with the fibers and marvelous protective soy isoflavones should be intact. Partial soys use an alcohol extraction method that removes vital protective isoflavones and fiber. These fibers and isoflavones are necessary to get the full disease fighting benefits of the soy itself. Soy protein is all that is left after alcohol extraction manufacturing, which is fine for partial heart health, but does not begin to cover the whole health picture.

Whole soy products, like Healthy Start cereal, Heartful Gourmet meat substitute and B-Nuts (slow roasted, omega-rich soybeans) have the full spectrum of necessary trace minerals and antioxidants, proteins and fibers which are so necessary for extended good health. Heartful Gourmet meat substitute and B-Nuts come in 1 lb. Bags and cost about $15 each Cdn. Funds.

Diabetics can benefit from eating these wonderful slow digesting proteins WITH THE FIBER INTACT. Dr. Kellogg discovered in 1917 that diabetics fed a soy fiber meal had blood sugar levels that were normal for hours following the meals unlike ANY other food fiber.

According to the FDA, consuming 25 grams of soy protein per day (four servings of 6.25 grams each) may lower LDL cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of coronary heart and cardiovascular diseases. This is only equal to a ? single serving of Healthy Start cereal. A ? cup serving of B-Nuts contains 80 mg of soy isoflavones and protein. Just a single serving of whole soy foods daily can make all the difference in the world to your body.