Soy is a wonderful legume with excellent benefits against high cholesterol and high triglycerides. Is it true that it helps against fats?
Although cholesterol has certainly gained a negative popularity in recent years, especially after the market launch of a wide variety of food products whose main benefit is to lower its levels naturally, the truth is that we are facing a type of essential fat for our body. However, when it is found in high amounts, it does become a problem for our health. In this sense, foods such as soy (and its derivatives) have become an excellent option when it comes to reducing their levels, although with nuances.
It is, in fact, a food that today we can easily find on the market, either in the form of a drink (for example, the popular soy vegetable drink, also known as soy milk), or in the form of derivatives. Like tofu, traditional soy sauce, or bean sprouts.
Therefore, it is possible to enjoy its qualities in very different ways, and in very different presentations.
What is soy and its derivatives?
Soy is a wonderful legume that came directly from Asia, where it has been part of the diet of its population for millennia. It belongs to the legume family, and for many years, in countries such as China or Japan it has been used to make derived foods such as bean sprouts or tofu, oil and beverages such as vegetable soy milk.
From a nutritional point of view it is a really very complete food, thanks to the fact that it is tremendously rich in good quality proteins, vitamins (vitamin E and vitamins of group B), minerals (such as potassium, iron, calcium, phosphorus and zinc) and isoflavones that act as antioxidants.
Why does soy help lower cholesterol?
We must bear in mind that both soybeans and their derived products are especially rich in essential fatty acids, especially polyunsaturated fats such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids; In addition, they are very low in saturated fat. On the other hand, it also contains isoflavones that provide antioxidant qualities or effects, and lethicin.
Soy has been considered a natural food with excellent qualities when it comes to reducing high levels not only of cholesterol, but also of triglycerides
These heart-healthy qualities are not only due to the presence in its composition of healthy fatty acids, isoflavones, lecithin and its low content of saturated fat. We also owe it to its protein content, since soy proteins have positioned themselves as compounds capable of slightly reducing high levels of fats in the blood.
But these benefits do not end here, since they also help reduce blood pressure, so its consumption is recommended in patients with arterial hypertension.
It is thanks to all these qualities that, from a nutritional point of view, soybeans and its derivatives have come to be considered as foods with the capacity to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular and coronary diseases.
Soy is useful for lowering cholesterol, but…
As indicated, although it is true that consuming soy-based foods helps in a positive way when it comes to reducing blood cholesterol levels, particularly LDL cholesterol (or lipoprotein) levels. Low density), it seems that this decrease is rather slight, and is not directly due to the inclusion of soy in the diet (according to the American Heart Association).
In other words, it seems that the anti-cholesterol benefits of soy come directly from substituting animal products for soy in the diet, which do have a higher content of saturated fat. This quality is the one that is observed above all in specific diets such as vegetarian or vegan, where the inclusion of foods such as soy, and especially fresh vegetables and fruits, and the non-consumption of meat products, help in a very positive way when it comes to having healthy levels of fat in the blood.
In any case, and as long as there is no type of contraindication, we advise you to consult your doctor or dietician if you wish to incorporate soy into your daily diet.