The Truth About Soy

OCTAVE TIPS 05: Food Nutrition of Soy Milk

OCTAVE Institute, the pioneering platform for research, mindful learning and holistic wellness in China strives to provide a foundation for growth towards a purposeful life, mindfully lived. In the fifth chapter of OCTAVE TIPS, Maggie Xu, the Resident Dietitian at SANGHA Retreatshares the health benefit and nutritional knowledge of soy milk.

Waking up early with a cup of freshly ground soy milk, paired with a healthy, nutritious and delicious breakfast, helps you start the day with vitality. As one of China’s national drinks, soy milk is considered a must-have but there are many rumours about soy milk that drinking it will lead to precocious puberty, or that drinking soy milk during menopause can increase the risk of cancer.

Nutritional Composition of Soy Milk

Soy milk is plant-based milk and is one of the most popular vegan substitutes for milk. It is not only very nutritious but also easy to digest and absorb. It is suitable for all and contains a variety of nutrients:

  • Protein: The protein contained in soy is a complete protein, which is also called high-quality protein, containing eight kinds of amino acids necessary for the human body
  • Carbohydrates: Soybean carbohydrates include starch, soybean oligosaccharides, and cellulose. Among them, soy oligosaccharides and cellulose are good prebiotics, which contribute to intestinal health
  • Fat: Soybeans contain mainly unsaturated fatty acids, up to 85%, and are abundant in linoleic acids, among which the most distinctive is soybean lecithin
  • Minerals: Soybeans can help to balance electrolytes and certain nutrients which can also help lower blood pressure. But after soybeans are ground into soy milk – which requires a large amount of water dilution – the content of almost all minerals are drastically reduced, except for sodium
  • Vitamins: The vitamin content of the ground soy milk is relatively low, and there is no outstanding vitamin benefit.

Special Ingredients of Soy Milk

Soy milk and soybeans contain some special ingredients, which have different effects:

  • Lecithin: This is very important for brain function. However, some studies have shown that too much lecithin can increase the risk of certain cardiovascular diseases.
  • Anti-nutritional factors: Soy milk can hinder the body’s absorption of certain nutrients, but the trypsin inhibitor of boiled soy milk is killed by the high temperature treatment, so there is no such concern.
  • Soy isoflavones: Isoflavones are a class of phytoestrogens that execute two-way regulation. You should regulate the balance of estrogen in the body by supplementing or inhibiting the secretion of estrogen. For menopausal women, the body’s level of estrogen drops sharply, thus menopause can be smoothly experienced with the consumption of soy products while helping to prevent the occurrence of breast cancer.

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