Can soy be the protein alternative Jamaicans need?

Soy has been analyzed by many researchers and scientists and the verdict states that it supports people who are trying to lose weight. In the Caribbean space, Dr. Michelle Braun, Head of the Global Protein Scientific Affairs at DuPont Nutrition & Health, believes that it could be applicable for the Jamaican population as it could be a protein alternative.

Jamaicans have been hindered by diseases such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular and metabolic illnesses. As such, their doctors and nutritionists ensure that they participate and set realistic weight loss management goals among their short and long term goals which will reap benefits including maintaining a steady BMI.

Soy is made from soybean which is a legume; it is the highest form of protein that is not generated from animal foods. Soy is included in a variety of foods and comes in many forms such as soy-based or fermented products and in supplements. Luckily, soy has fewer calories and saturated fat, has no cholesterol and more fiber and high-quality protein in soy; it is primarily a superior protein source especially for vegetarians.

The American Heart Association encourages people to replace foods with animal fats in their diet with foods that have soy protein to improve heart health. Companies in the food industry isolate soy protein which adds as much as ninety percent of protein into their recipes in order to give their consumers high protein products.

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There are some misconceptions to adding it to the diet:

  • Protein worsens the prognosis of patients with breast cancer. However, it is known to reduce the recurrence of breast cancer as well as improves the survival of its patients.
  • Feminizes the males who intake it in their diet; there is no evidence to support this.
  • It affects fertility; this is just another myth.
  • Harms the thyroid gland. Soy has no adverse effects on the thyroid gland

While there are myths about soy, there are so many benefits that soy offers an individual:

  • Soy is a great source of vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, B and D vitamins, calcium and other antioxidants
  • It helps to build muscle mass in individuals trying to build strength or engaged in exercise
  • Increases plant protein which reduces blood pressure and has other cardiovascular benefits
  • Boosts fiber intake which promotes a good gastrointestinal system, as well as their omega-3 fats, decreases risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Good source of polyunsaturated fat known to lower cholesterol
  • Great source of isoflavones phytochemicals which help in preventing postmenopausal loss of bone mass and some cancers.

Have you ever tried soy? What is your take on it? Would you ever try soy?

By Alexandra Daley

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