Reaping the Benefits of Soy

Native to Asia, soy is a popular type of legume that has been a part of traditional plant-based diets for thousands of years. Historically, there has been some controversy over what health benefits soy actually offers. In this brief article, Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC, the best cardiologist in Tampa, explores the known health benefits of soy and how you can incorporate soy foods into your diet. 


Related: How a Plant-Based Diet Can Improve Your Heart Health

What Are the Health Benefits of Soy?

To get started, let’s review what aspects of soy lend themselves to significant health benefits. Soy protein, unlike other plant proteins, is considered a complete protein, meaning that it contains all nine essential amino acids that the body is not capable of producing on its own. Similarly, soy foods are rich in nutrients, such as fiber, potassium, protein, magnesium, and B vitamins. As little as half a cup of boiled, mature soybeans can contain up to fifteen grams of protein. 


As for health benefits, soy protein and a high concentration of isoflavones (a type of plant estrogen found in soy) have gained attention in the past for their role in reducing risk factors for cardiovascular disease. While soy protein only slightly lowers harmful levels of cholesterol directly, it generally supplies the body with minerals, fiber, vitamins, and polyunsaturated fat. This is significant because the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that when people with diets rich in plant-based protein were compared with those with diets rich in red meat, those with diets rich in red meat were found to have triple the levels of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), a chemical linked to heart disease. 

How Can You Incorporate Soy Foods Into Your Diet?

One of the best ways to reap the health benefits of soy is to start by substituting meat products or other plant-based proteins with soy foods. Instead of dairy milk, opt for soy milk, which contains a similar amount of protein and significantly lower calories and carbohydrates. Instead of substituting meat with vegetables, opt for texturized vegetable protein (dehydrated soy) or tempeh (fermented soybeans). 


For snacks, soy nuts made from mature soybeans are a valuable source of fiber and protein. They can be added to yogurt, salads, oatmeal, and stir-fries and may assist in weight loss due to their capacity to boost fullness and metabolism. Other foods rich in soy include everything from edamame to tofu. 


Fully transitioning to a whole food, plant-based diet that incorporates foods rich in soy can help control, reduce, or even reverse chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. For more information on how you can begin to transition to a whole food, plant-based diet, contact Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC, a top cardiologist in Tampa

To consult Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC, a top cardiologist in Tampa, please call (813) 344-0934 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.


Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for general educational purposes only. All content and media on the Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC website does not constitute professional medical advice nor is the information intended to replace the services of Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC or other qualified medical professionals. If you believe you are having a medical emergency, call 911 immediately. 


The content, views, and opinions communicated on this website do not represent the views of Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC. Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk. Although this website contains links to other medical websites, this is strictly for informational purposes. Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC is not responsible nor does the medical practice approve of the content featured on any third party linked websites referenced on this website.

Florida Medical Clinic Cardiology

14320 Bruce B Downs Blvd.

Tampa, Florida 33613

Tel: 813.344.0934

Fax: 813.355.5020

2727 W M.L.K. Jr Blvd Ste 760,

Tampa, Florida 33607

Tel: 813.344.0934

Fax: 813.355.5020

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