What Are the Benefits of Eating Soy Nuts?

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Soy nuts offer an alternative to more commonly known soy foods like soybeans, soy milk and tofu. Soy nuts are made by soaking and roasting soybeans. They can be purchased in different flavors that are made by using different blends of seasonings. Soy nuts have a texture and taste similar to peanuts. They can even be eaten as a sweet treat when they are covered with chocolate. It is also possible to make your own soy nuts at home by soaking, seasoning and roasting them in the oven. Soy protein, whether from soy nuts or other soy foods, has several health-related benefits. Some of the benefits of eating soy protein are still being researched, while others are well established and backed up by the FDA.

Plant-Based Protein

With 11 grams of protein in just one ounce of soy nuts, they serve as an alternative to animal-based protein sources. This can be of great benefit to several groups of people that for different reasons, cannot or should not eat a large amount of meat or dairy products. For vegetarians, getting enough protein in the diet can be a challenge. Also, for those with known heart disease or high cholesterol levels that need protein without saturated fat and cholesterol, soy nuts offer a viable alternative. Weight lifters may seek out alternative forms of protein like soy nuts to help them build muscle. Soy nuts are a non-perishable food that can easily transported and don't have to be refrigerated or cooked, making them a simple, protein-packed option.

Menopause Symptom Relief

Soy nuts contain substances called isoflavones. These isoflavones mimic the action of the hormone, estrogen, in the body. For this reason, they are sometimes called phytoestrogens, with "phyto" meaning "plant". Soy nuts can benefit menopausal women that have hot flashes and night sweats since these symptoms are directly related to the falling levels of estrogen in the body. In parts of the world where soy foods are a staple in their diets, the women of these cultures are much less likely to have hot flashes and night sweats. However, soy foods like soy nuts are not recommended for women with cancers that can be affected by estrogen levels. In those cases, soy nuts can encourage the growth of cancer cells.

Cholesterol

According to the FDA and the National Institutes of Health, eating soy foods like soy nuts can lower total cholesterol and LDL which is bad cholesterol. While soy nuts have the largest positive effect on cholesterol levels, it can also have a positive effect on the levels of other fats in the blood such as triglycerides. The FDA has approved a special label for soy foods that contain at least 6.25 grams of soy protein. The label indicates that the food can help to lower one's cholesterol. The specific parts of soy nuts that may act on cholesterol levels are daidzein and genistein.

Vitamins, Minerals and Antioxidants

One ounce of soy nuts contains a significant portion of some of the vitamins and minerals needed each day. A snack of only two ounces of soy nuts has 26% of vitamin K needed each day. Vitamin K is essential for heart health and blood function. Also, that soy nut snack has 28% of the folic acid needed each day. Folic acid is an important nutrient for the development of unborn babies. This makes soy nuts a healthy snack for pregnant women. About 12% of the amount of iron needed each day is in that same two ounce soy nut snack. Soy nuts are also a rich source of the antioxidants Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. These substances keep the body's cells healthy by helping them counteract the process of oxidation which damages healthy cells.

Fiber

Finally, a snack of two ounces of soy nuts has about 4 grams of fiber. Each person needs a different amount of fiber each day based on their gender and age. A diet rich in fiber promotes colon health, prevents constipation, and aids in weight control. Fiber is the part of a plant that can't be digested. It adds bulk to the stool which carries away build-up from inside the colon. It also makes bowel movements less painful and prevents straining by making the stool softer. Finally, fiber aids weight control by regulating the blood sugar and helping us feel fuller longer. The protein in soy nuts also helps to keep the blood sugar from dropping down too low too fast which helps a person to wait longer to eat between meals.

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