1. Health & Lifestyle

Soy Milk: Nutrition, Benefits & Associated Health Risks

Shivam Dwivedi
Shivam Dwivedi
Soy Milk
Soy Milk

Soy milk is a famous dairy milk replacement, but it is not just a substitute ingredient. It can be a valuable addition to your diet on its own. This nutritious, flavorful beverage first used as a waste product on the way to making tofu. Nowadays, soy milk can be found across the country as a lactose- free dairy substitute with many health benefits that are all its own. 

What is Soy Milk? 

It is a plant- based non- dairy beverage, often taken as an alternative to dairy milk. Soy milk made from soybeans, and related brands fortify their soy milk with many vitamins and minerals like vitamin D and calcium.  

“Soy milk offers culinary diversity, creamy texture, and a healthful nutritional profile, including essential omega- 3 fatty acids (if fortified) and flavonoids that exert antioxidant, anti- inflammatory, and cardio- protective properties,” says Julieanna Hever, RD, a plant-based-foods dietitian in the Los Angeles area and the author of The Vegiterranean Diet. 

Nutrition Facts:  

There are numerous brands of soy milk available in the market, and the quantity of calories present and added sugar will differ as per buyer’s need. Therefore, always check the nutrient facts label on your brand of choice. Below are the information regarding the nutrition facts for one cup of a popular organic unsweetened soy milk: 

  • Calories: 80 

  • Protein: 7 g 

  • Fat: 4 grams (g) 

  • Carbohydrates: 3 g 

  • Fiber: 2 g 

  • Sugars: 1 g (0 g added sugars) 

  • Saturated fat: 0.5 g 

So, it’s obvious that soy milk contains a lot into a small cup. You have noticed, it is rich in protein, low in sugar, and provides a couple of grams of fiber, all for just 80 calories. 

Health Benefits of Soy Milk:  

There are numerous benefits associated with soy milk discussed below:  

1. Brain Health: 

Soy milk contains Omega- 3 fatty acids in a good amount, which are ‘healthy’ fats that your body cannot produce on its own. Omega- 3 fatty acids are linked to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia disease. Studies are going on the effect of Soy milk  on these diseases, but soy in general is one of the best non- animal sources of omega-3 fatty acids. 

2. Improved Cardiovascular Health: 

Soy milk can also help in keeping your cardiovascular system in a good state. It is a wonderful source of potassium, whether or not it has been fortified. Potassium is deeply linked to maintaining lower blood pressure and a regular pulse.  

3. Treats Type-2 Diabetes:  

Due to presence of high calcium and low fat content, soy milk is the perfect non- dairy option for your diabetic meal plan. It helps diabetic patients by reducing bad cholesterol levels and preventing cardiovascular issues. The effect of soy milk on lipid levels is shown to be helpful in the treatment of diabetes. 

4. Cures Skin related issues:  

A diet containing soy products might reduce the incidence of acne. And soy, by itself, is one of the ingredients used for treating dermatological issues such as hyperpigmentation, which causes darkening of the skin. Soy products can have anti- aging advantages on your health and skin. Recently, a compound of soybean was found to be an effective anti-aging agent. 

Health Risks: 

Although Soy Milk has numerous advantages but it can cause serious health risk if not taken in proper amount. Below are major health risk associated with it: 

Anti- Nutrients: 

Soy also contains Phytates, which are known as anti- nutrients that can block the absorption of certain minerals like iron, magnesium, iodine, zinc, copper and chromium. If you are drinking a lot of soy milk and eating processed foods that contain soy, this can be dangerous for your health and you may be at the risk of developing nutritional deficiencies. 

Risk of Breast Cancer:  

One of the most notable dangers of soy milk involves its isoflavones, which have a chemical structure similar to the hormone estrogen. There are two estrogen receptors in the body. When isoflavones attach to one, they produce estrogen- like effects, but when they attach to the other, they have an anti-estrogen effect. Due to this, isoflavones in soy milk have been connected to breast cancer in some cases, but not in others.  

A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in September 2014 highlighted that estrogen- like activity is helpful in postmenopausal women, but not in women who have an active menstrual cycle. Due to this, and based on previous studies on soy, researchers concluded that soy milk consumption may be problematic for younger women, but can actually be healthy & beneficial for women about 10 years after menopause. 

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