Despite many studies conducted on the impact of soybeans and its products on human health, opinions about the consumption of these products are still divided. Some soy proponents believe that it has a positive effect on almost the entire human body. There are also people who categorically advise against the consumption of soy and its products and argue that this may lead to negative changes in the body. So what is the truth? Does soy milk have a positive effect on our body? Or maybe its use has more disadvantages than advantages?
What is soya milk?
Soybeans as legumes belong to the family of fabaceae. This group also includes lentils, chickpeas, beans, peas, beans. It is a group of plants that is particularly important from the nutritional point of view and because of the role it plays on the farm. Bean plants provide such nutrients as vegetable protein, minerals, vitamins and fiber. Protein is the basic ingredient of seeds. In Poland, soy has the most protein available (35-42%), which is why it is often used in our kitchen as a substitute for meat, especially in vegetarian and vegan diets.
On the basis of soy, you can prepare many dishes. There is also the possibility of eating it in various forms, e.g.
– soya milk,
– soya sprouts,
– soy sauce,
– soy paste,
– soy flour.
Soy milk is a traditional beverage mainly consumed in China. From there, the soy drink also came to other Far East countries, and is now consumed almost all over the world, also in Poland. It is created by soaking soybeans in water for at least three hours. If the water is cold, this process must take longer, so it is best to pour soybeans over warm, non-hot water. A 10 1 ratio (water of soy) is used for soaking. After soaking, it is necessary to rub the grains with water so that the drink has the right density. In traditional Chinese cuisine, the resulting liquid should be filtered and then boiled for about 15-20 minutes, mainly to improve its nutritional value. Cooking is also intended to minimize the occurrence of possible contaminants and microorganisms. It should be remembered that in the process of making soy milk from soybeans, the nutritional value may be reduced. It is assumed that in soy milk is ten times lower in protein or fat content.
Composition of soya milk
Soy milk in its composition contains a comparable amount of protein for cow’s milk – 3.5%. Interestingly, proteins present in soybeans differ slightly in nutritional value from meat, egg or cow’s milk proteins. The soy protein consists mainly of albumin fulfilling metabolic functions and globulins fulfilling the reserve functions in our body. The higher the albumin content, the higher the nutritional value of the product. Among the bean plants, the best amino acid composition has soy. This protein is distinguished by a higher proportion of lysine and threonine. However, their nutritional value is limited by the insufficient content of amino acids such as methionine and cystine. It is also not significantly different in terms of the content of other macronutrients, it contains about 2% fat and 2.9% carbohydrates. Due to the fact that soybean drink, as the name suggests, is made of soybeans, it is characterized by a very high content of fatty acids. The content of lipids in seeds is within 0.5-2%, depending on the species. Interestingly, it is believed that as much as 50% of fatty acids found in soybeans is polyunsaturated linoleic acid. In addition to him, alpha-linolenic acid, which belongs to the family of omega-3 acids, deserves special attention. In soybeans, and thus also in soy milk, there are also phytosterols. Soy milk is also one of the richest sources of phytoestrogens in the human diet.
Particularly noteworthy are the vitamins and elements found in it, such as
– Vitamin A,
– vitamin B1,
– vitamin B2,
– vitamin B6,
– vitamin B12,
– vitamin C,
– vitamin D,
– Vitamin E,
Comparison of the composition of cow’s milk with organic soy milk (values given per 100 g of product)
Soy milk – health properties
Soy milk, like soy and other products, has positive health properties, among others
– due to the very high content of linoleic acid, soy milk positively influences the lipid profile of the blood and reduces the concentration of unfavorable LDL cholesterol fractions;
– thanks to a significant amount of alpha-linolenic acid, soy milk is also recommended in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases;
– research has also proved that phytoestrogens found among others in soy milk have a positive effect on reducing the risk of cancer. In Asian countries, where soy and its products are often hosted on tables, people are much less likely to suffer from cancer;
– the same compounds also play an important role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Sodium isoflavones contained in soybeans regulate blood pressure and protect against oxidation of the LDL cholesterol fraction;
– another advantage of soy milk is the fact that it does not increase the amount of gastric acid secreted, which in excessive amounts is responsible for gastric and duodenal ulceration;
– the protein contained in soy milk also leads to the reduction of ailments associated with menopause in middle-aged women;
– it has also been proven that regular consumption of soy and its products, including soya milk, can mitigate the adverse effects of elevated testosterone levels in men;
– isoflavones contained in soy and its preparations may also favorably reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
What is the use of soy milk?
Soy milk may be an addition to coffee, cereals, muesli, fruit cocktails, puddings and many more. The use of soy milk as a substitute for cow’s milk is recommended mainly to people who do not tolerate lactose. It can also be consumed by vegetarians and vegans, because it is a plant-derived product that provides wholesome protein and vitamins, and therefore can minimize the effects of deficiencies.
Soy milk – disadvantages
Unfortunately, eating soy milk also has disadvantages. Its too large amounts may inhibit the use of iodine by the thyroid in people with hypothyroidism. However, a healthy person using a balanced diet did not show a significant correlation. The negative impact of isoflavones contained in soy milk on the thyroid must also be associated with too little sodium intake with a relatively high supply of anti-nutritional compounds, poor bowel function (impaired absorption), liver problems, improper functioning of the immune system. Excessive supply of soy with a diet can also lead to sensitization.
There are opinions that as a result of prolonged soy consumption, there may be a significant decrease in testosterone, which may lead to decreased fertility, decreased sperm motility, and even the destruction of their DNA. There is also a possibility of erectile dysfunction. These statements, however, have not been supported by scientific research, which is why it is worth treating them with a pinch of salt.