The Benefits of Soy

FOR CENTURIES, soy has been a dietary staple in Asian countries.

From a legume native to China, soy has evolved in past decades to become one of the world’s most widely recommended ingredients for its natural nutritional benefits.

Soy is found mostly in foods such as soy milk, soy sauce, miso or soybean paste, tempeh or soy cake and tofu. It is also sometimes added to food like bread, cereals and meat products and used as a meat substitute.

The US Food and Drug Administration considers soybeans as a good source of complete protein. Soybeans contain significant amounts of essential amino acids that must be provided to the human body because of the body’s inability to synthesize them.

Filipino-American scientist Dr. Alfredo F. Galvez, center specialist at the Center for Excellence for Nutritional Genomics at the University of California, Davis, was in Manila last week to talk about the health benefits of soy.

“Soy consists of enormous quantities of protein and significant amounts of essential amino acids,” Mr. Galvez told reporters. “The soybean contains a significant amount of alpha-linolenic acid, omega-6 fatty acid, genistein and daidzen to promote heart health, prevent disease and support weight loss,” he added.

Mr. Galvez, who is also the adjunct professor at the University of Missouri, Columbia, and lead scientific advisor for nutraceutical ingredient supply company Soy Labs LLC from Mexico, Missouri, said soy has isoflavones which inhibit the growth of cells that form artery-clogging plaque. These lessen the risk of heart attack and stroke, he explained.

“Soy is perhaps the most thoroughly studied nutritional ingredient in the world,” Mr. Galvez said.

“Yet for all our knowledge about the powerful little bean, fascinating new discoveries are emerging all the time,” he added.

He said that a study at Northwestern University in the US found that soy’s isoflavone called genistein could prevent cancer cells in the prostate from spreading to the rest of the body.

He added that soy’s low-glycemic index helps minimize insulin fluctuations and maintain normal blood sugar levels, especially for diabetic patients.

“Soy is also rich in phytoestrogens which help alleviate hot flashes associated with menopausal syndromes,” he said.

“Fat-free soy protein also enhances weight loss by helping speed up metabolism, burning body fat and increasing muscle mass,” he added.

The doctor was in the country last week upon the invitation of nutritional supplements manufacturer and distributor Reliv International.

Its local subsidiary, Reliv Philippines, opened in 2001 and has been distributing premium soy-based nutritional supplements like Reliv Classic and Reliv Now for essential daily nutrition, Innergize energy and sports drink, and Slimplicity for weight loss.

The local unit also sells Arthaffect for healthy joints, FibRestore for digestive health, Reliv Now for Kids for children’s nutrition, GlucAffect for blood sugar management, and ReverseAge for health aging.

Reliv International announced a new joint research and development partnership with the Missouri Plant Science Center (MPSC), and its managing tenant Soy Labs LLC, which will give Reliv greater access to the latest soy and plant biotechnology research.

Reliv Philippines managing director Jolly Galvez said this partnership will provide the company opportunities to work with government, university and corporate partners on exclusive ingredient innovations and clinical studies that will further enhance the benefits from Reliv’s products.

In particular, Mr. Galvez explained that the partnership will allow Reliv to use Soy Lab’s patented Lunasin soy products, which have been proven in clinical studies to further boost soy’s natural heart health benefits.

“This team-up will further strengthen Reliv’s status in the industry as a provider of high quality nutritional products for the market today,” Mr. Galvez told reporters.

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