‘A cup of soya milk a day can keep aging at bay’ – this might just be the new maxim of the millennium! The innocuous-looking soya beans has been found to contain enough properties and power that can delay aging, repel cancer, reduce blood sugar and cholesterol, prevent the onset of osteoporosis, to name a few.
Various researches all over the world have turned up very interesting facts. Animals fed soy protein have had their lifespan increased by a dramatic 13% as compared to those who were given milk protein. Japanese people enjoy the highest longevity rates – this despite their highly stressed lifestyles – as compared to the rest of the world.
The ordinary soya beans form staple of the Japanese diet! Moreover, Japanese men and women have a lower incidence of prostate and breast cancer, as compared to Europeans and Americans. In fact, soya beans slash the rate of cancer by nearly 50% and lower blood cholesterol by nearly 21%. According to doctors and scientists, you may be susceptible to cancer not because of what you eat, but because of the soya beans, you don’t eat!
These white, very ordinary-looking members of the bean brigade have very rich chemical properties. The bean is a powerhouse of antioxidants (responsible for controlling aging) and anti-disease agents like genistein, daidzein, protease inhibitors, amino acids like glycine and arginine, to name a few. And it is these that give soya beans its miraculous healing powers.
Read more: Soya beans’ Benefits
Genistein and daidzein work in multiple ways. Genistein is an antioxidant – it discourages aging and anti-cancerous activities. While daidzein, again anti-cancerous, manipulates estrogenic activity. Genistein prevents breast cancer at the inception stage by blocking the very enzyme that stimulates the cancer genes. Moreover, it prevents the growth of new blood vessels that are needed to feed new and growing cancers.
The anti-hormonal effect of the above constituents also arrests the spread of prostate cancer. This perhaps explains why Orientals are less prone to cancer of the prostate. And even among those afflicted, the growth rate of the cancer is very slow. The hormone estrogen encourages cancers.
Soya beans’ cancer-fighting properties
Soya beans’ anti-cancer effect is akin to the cancer-fighting drug tamoxifen. It impedes estrogen’s cancer stimulating properties.
An astonishing fact is that even a little soya bean protein, taken in early infancy, acts as an inoculation against cancer. On administering small doses of genistein to new-born animals, scientists discovered that it reduced the onset and multiplicity of cancers. A little bit of soy protein may immunise your child against future cancers, to a great extent, if not completely.
Apart from its cancer-fighting properties, soya bean protein is a strong anti-aging agent. One of the earliest signs of the aging process is clogged arteries. This impedes blood circulation, thus reducing the flow of oxygen to the various organs and tissues of the body. Genistein checks the clogging of arteries, even reversing the aging process and rejuvenating old arteries. Simultaneously, it also discourages the activity of the enzyme thrombin. Thrombin is responsible for blood clotting. And blood clots often lead to cardiac arrests the paralysis.
Calcium is the building block of our bones. The human body loses small amounts of calcium through the urine. Soya bean protein reduces the loss of calcium through urine, albeit marginally. In the long run, a little calcium saved every day means stronger bones in old age!
Two other constituents of soya bean protein play a vital role in the human body. Soya beans are rich in two amino acids glycine and arginine. Both these acids are responsible for controlling the level of insulin in the blood. Diabetics can take succour from the fact that regular intake of soya bean protein can bring down blood sugar. It also reduces blood cholesterol to a great extent.
Although beans of all types contain genistein and daidzein, the highest concentration is found in soya beans. An important part of the Oriental diet, soya bean is relatively new to the Indian palate. You can consume soya bean protein through various soya bean products like soya milk. Soya bean flour, whole soya beans, soya bean chunks, soya bean granules. Sadly, soya bean sauce and soya oil, familiar to the Indian palate does not offer the same benefits.
Ideally, your daily diet should include a cup of soya milk of about 50 gms of soy flour or 80-100 gms. of tofu. Encourage young children to eat soya beans. Incorporate it into your daily diet and arm yourself for the future!
Ways to adopt soya beans in your daily diet
- Make ‘chappati’ dough of half soya flour and half wheat flour.
- Add onions, garlic, and green chilies to soya flour dough for a trifle unusual, but tasty, ‘rotis’.
- While baking, substitute one-third of the plain flour with soya flour.
- Use soya milk as far as possible.
- Roasted soy nuts – salty or sweet – are a delicious and nutritious snack for young children.
- Whip up a fruit shake using soya milk or tofu.
- Substitute ‘paneer’ with tofu and meatballs with soya nuggets.
- Add dried soya beans to stews, casseroles, and soups.
- Soya ‘khakhras’ can easily replace plain ‘khakhras’.
- Soya biscuits with a wide range of toppings make unusual and nutritious starters and playtime snacks.
‘So ya’ can have a good time with soya!