Soy milk: Benefits and side effects
Soy milk is obtained from soybean scientifically known as Glycine max is a leguminous plant. It is a food plant with diverse property covers almost every nutrient required and therefore can also use a good alternative to meat, egg, and milk.
Soy foods are becoming more and more popular because of its healthy nutrient content, taste and health benefits for health and weight conscious persons. Maine health benefits of soy are antidiabetic, healthy bones, effective in controlling thyroid and almost all types of cancer, asthma, breast pain and also used during menopause (1).
Benefits of Soy milk
1. Those having cow’s milk allergy
Persons having cow’s milk allergy can use soy milk as unlike cow’s milk, soy milk does not have protein namely casein and whey proteins.
2. Lactose intolerance
Persons who have lactose intolerance can also use soy milk because soy milk does not contain lactose. Therefore not cause any trouble related to lactose in the body.
3. Vegan diet
For vegan diet followers, soy milk is a good option for preparing many milk-based recipes and is also rich in vitamins and nutrients
4. Good for heart
Soy milk has plant-based proteins which are low in cholesterol, therefore, is very beneficial for a healthy heart as it reduces the risk of heart attack.
5. Weight loss
Soy milk is also low in calorie, therefore, can be consumed during dieting.
Soy contains a unique compound known as isoflavone. Isoflavone is a secondary metabolite or a compound whose structure is similar to human estrogen hormone. Therefore is also known as a phytoestrogen. Phytoestrogens are adaptogens which act like estrogen. This phytoestrogen has health benefits and if consumed in excess may cause some side effects.
Phytoestrogens are believed to reduce the risk of hormone-dependent cancer like breast and prostate cancer (3), further, it also helps in increasing the bone density in postmenopausal women
7. Healthy bone
Soy milk is good for bone because soy milk contains isoflavones. Isoflavone is commonly known as phytoestrogen as the structure of this is similar to that of estrogen. Isoflavones help in keeping the bone strong and healthy particularly in postmenopausal women (2). Besides this soy milk is also rich in minerals which keeps bones strong.
8. Lowers cholesterol
Soy protein in combination with soy isoflavone helps in lowering the lipid and cholesterol level of the body. Therefore, it has been suggested that 5 gm soy protein a day helps in reducing the risk of heart attack (1).
9. Healthy kidney
Soy protein is used instead of animal protein to protects from chronic kidney diseases. Soy protein has isoflavones and nutrient and minerals which helps in protecting the kidney from chronic diseases. Also antioxidant activity and lowers level of phosphorus and sodium keeps the kidney healthy in comparison with that of animal protein (6).
10. Good for diabetic
Soy milk is good for diabetic persons as this milk provide a good alternative to traditional milk and also provide calcium and other vitamins and mineral sources. Soy milk also decrases the glucose and clolesterl level and increase gluscose tolerance it alos in decrease serum D-dimer level in dibetic patients who are suffering from renal problems (7).
Side effects of Soy milk
1. Impaired thyroid function
Soy milk contains phytoestrogen which is similar to estrogen a hormone. Taking too much phytoestrogen may cause thyroid related problems. Studies(4) shows that excessive soy consumption may result in impaired thyroid function. The maximum dose of 66 mg of phytoestrogen is recommended.
2. Not suitable during pregnancy
A higher dose of soy milk is not recommended during pregnancy. Excessive soy milk drinking might harm the development of the baby (1).
3. Soy-based infant formula milk
Around one-fourth of the US, children are drinking soy-based infant formula. Although soy-based infant formula is in use from last 40 years and research is still going on to find any side effect related to this milk. But if infants are allergic to cow’s milk then prefer breast milk and if breastmilk is not sufficient enough then consult a doctor before switching to soy-based infant formula (5).