Soy milk, a beverage made solely from soybeans and which is completely dairy-free, is the preferred choice for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant. But that’s not the only reason you should drink it! Soy milk is loaded with wholesome nutrients that give you multiple health benefits, provided you’re not allergic to soy.
Let’s take a look at some of the nutritional benefits of soy milk (about 240 ml; plain flavor) and exactly how they help:1
|Total Fat||4 g|
|Saturated And Polyunsaturated Fats||0.5 g and 2.5 g, respectively|
Health Benefits Of Soy Milk
1. Lowers Blood Pressure And Cures Hypertension
Soy milk treats hypertension by lowering both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.2 Drinking soy milk every day has been seen to induce the urinary excretion of a particular flavonoid, which is what reduces blood pressure.3
Soy milk also helps diabetics who face kidney-related problems (nephropathy) with better blood pressure control.4 It contains a good amount of polyphenols, which might increase the bioavailability of nitric oxide and thus influence blood pressure levels.5
2. Treats Type 2 Diabetes
With its high calcium and low fat content, soy milk is the perfect non-dairy option for your diabetic meal plan. It helps diabetics by lowering cholesterol and preventing cardiovascular issues. Its effect on lipid levels is shown to be beneficial in the treatment of diabetes.6 However, remember to drink soy milk in moderation as excess protein and carbs can mess up your diet plan.
3. Accelerates Weight Loss
The fiber in soy milk has a considerable effect on the body mass index, LDL cholesterol levels, and body weight, which is useful in the treatment of obesity, hypertension, and excess lipid levels.7 When combined with a low-fat diet, the soy proteins reduce weight but retain muscle mass in obese individuals.8
4. Improves Cardiovascular Health
According to the USFDA, soy is one of the products that lowers cholesterol levels in the body and prevents heart-related diseases. Soy products like soy milk improve plasma lipid levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, especially in those with high cholesterol. The high levels of polyunsaturated fats, vitamins, fiber, and minerals and low saturated fats also assist in keeping your heart healthy.9
Your body takes care of the blood flow through vascular reactivity, which alters the build of the blood vessels as and when required. Soy milk improves this reactivity and keeps your heart strong.10
5. Prevents Osteoporosis
Calcium-fortified soy milk can reduce osteoporosis. About 240 ml of normal soy milk will have around 31 mg of calcium, whereas calcium-enriched soy milk will have about 210 mg of calcium. Be well informed about the nutrient content of the products before buying.11
6. Cures Skin-Related Issues
A diet consisting of soy products might lower the incidence of acne. And soy, by itself, is one of the ingredients used for treating dermatological issues such as hyperpigmentation, which causes excessive darkening of the skin.12
Soy products can have anti-aging benefits on your health and skin. Recently, a compound of soybean was found to be an effective anti-aging agent.13 And fermented soy milk has been seen to have anti-aging properties.14
7. Promotes Luscious Hair
Drinking soy milk has a moderate effect on the appearance of hair and its manageability. However, complementing soy milk intake with the use of topical products containing soy can provide better results.15
8. Helps With Lactose Intolerance
As mentioned earlier, soy milk is a very good alternative for those with lactose intolerance. It contains a good amount of calcium and is low in fat. But there’s a high chance of being allergic to soy milk if you’re allergic to cow’s milk. So drink it cautiously and decide for yourself if it’s good for you.
All of these benefits work for both men and women. However, some effects are gender-specific:
Effects Of Soy Milk On Men
Soy milk consumption in high quantities (more than once a day) reduces the risk of prostate cancer in men.16 Consumption of about 400 ml of soy milk daily has shown a reduction in estrone levels in men, which might reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes.17
One study showed that men who consume a higher amount of soy milk have been seen to have a lower sperm concentration.18 However, there’s no convincing data yet as to the concerns over lowered sperm quality due to soy milk.
Effects Of Soy Milk On Women
Although there have been a lot of contradictory research on this, latest studies show that soy milk is beneficial in treating breast cancer and does not obstruct cancer therapy. But most studies have concluded that soy consumption should be at the levels of Asian diets (more than once a day) for it to significantly reduce the risk.19
Soy milk was also considered as beneficial for cognitive health in menopausal women. But there’s a lack of evidence and some studies have even proven that the milk has no such effect whatsoever.20
How Much Soy Milk Can You Have?
Excess intake of soy milk is not good for your health as it can cause an inflammatory response and give excessive protein and carbs. The amount of soy milk your body can take differs for each person as we all react to it differently. Some consider 2–3 servings a day as the right amount while some suggest just one glass a day.
The best thing to do is to listen to your body. Start off by having one glass a day and observe for both positive and negative responses in your body. Preferably discuss with a dietician and then gradually increase the quantity if required. And since most soy milk products are flavored or contain additives, look for the ones with the right nutrients, for example, with less or no sugar and more calcium. Remember: Soy milk is not a magic solution to all your health issues. The trick is to complement it with an overall healthy, moderate diet that will take you a long way in avoiding sickness and staying healthy.
|↑1||Full Report (All Nutrients): 45202011, SOY MILK, UPC: 008273000253. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑2||Dong, Jia-Yi, Xing Tong, Zhi-Wei Wu, Peng-Cheng Xun, Ka He, and Li-Qiang Qin. “Effect of soya protein on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.” British journal of nutrition 106, no. 03 (2011): 317-326.|
|↑3||Rivas, Miguel, Ricardo P. Garay, Jesús F. Escanero, Pedro Cia, and José O. Alda. “Soy milk lowers blood pressure in men and women with mild to moderate essential hypertension.” The Journal of nutrition 132, no. 7 (2002): 1900-1902.|
|↑4||Miraghajani, Maryam Sadat, Mojgan Mortazavi Najafabadi, Pamela J. Surkan, Ahmad Esmaillzadeh, Maryam Mirlohi, and Leila Azadbakht. “Soy milk consumption and blood pressure among type 2 diabetic patients with nephropathy.” Journal of Renal Nutrition 23, no. 4 (2013): 277-282.|
|↑5||Galleano, Monica, Olga Pechanova, and Cesar G Fraga. “Hypertension, nitric oxide, oxidants, and dietary plant polyphenols.” Current pharmaceutical biotechnology 11, no. 8 (2010): 837-848.|
|↑6||Yang, Bin, Ying Chen, Tong-Chen Xu, Ying-Hua Yu, Tao Huang, Xiao-Jie Hu, and Duo Li. “Systematic review and meta-analysis of soy products consumption in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.” Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition 20, no. 4 (2011): 593-602.|
|↑7||Hu, Xiaojie, Jinlong Gao, Qianyuan Zhang, Yuanqing Fu, Kelei Li, Shankuan Zhu, and Duo Li. “Soy fiber improves weight loss and lipid profile in overweight and obese adults: a randomized controlled trial.” Molecular nutrition & food research 57, no. 12 (2013): 2147-2154.|
|↑8||Deibert, P., D. König, A. Schmidt-Trucksaess, K. S. Zaenker, I. Frey, U. Landmann, and A. Berg. “Weight loss without losing muscle mass in pre-obese and obese subjects induced by a high-soy-protein diet.” International journal of obesity 28, no. 10 (2004): 1349-1352.|
|↑9||Sacks, Frank M., Alice Lichtenstein, Linda Van Horn, William Harris, Penny Kris-Etherton, and Mary Winston. “Soy protein, isoflavones, and cardiovascular health.” Circulation 113, no. 7 (2006): 1034-1044.|
|↑10||Hasler, Clare M. “The cardiovascular effects of soy products.” Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing 16, no. 4 (2002): 50-63.|
|↑11||Peters, Bárbara Santarosa Emo, and Lígia Araújo Martini. “Nutritional aspects of the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.” Arquivos Brasileiros de Endocrinologia & Metabologia 54, no. 2 (2010): 179-185.|
|↑12||Leyden, James, and Warren Wallo. “The mechanism of action and clinical benefits of soy for the treatment of hyperpigmentation.” International journal of dermatology 50, no. 4 (2011): 470-477.|
|↑13||Sagara, Tatsuya, Gregor Fiechter, Martin Pachner, Helmut K. Mayer, and Johann Vollmann. “Soybean spermidine concentration: Genetic and environmental variation of a potential ‘anti-aging’constituent.” Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 56 (2017): 11-17.|
|↑14||LEE, Hyeon Mi, Sung Pil SEO, Hyang Bok LEE, Birendra Kumar SINGH, Young Ae GOO, and Eun Ki KIM. “Anti-aging Activities of Soymilk Fermented with Lactic Acid Bacteria.” 한국생물공학회 학술대회 (2015): 310-310.|
|↑15||Blair, Robert M., and A. Tabor. “The beauty of soy for skin, hair and nails.” Nutritional Cosmetics: Beauty from Within. William Andrew Inc (2009): 441-468.|
|↑16||Jacobsen, Bjarne K., Synnøve F. Knutsen, and Gary E. Fraser. “Does high soy milk intake reduce prostate cancer incidence? The Adventist Health Study (United States).” Cancer Causes & Control 9, no. 6 (1998): 553-557.|
|↑17||Nagata, Chisato, Naoyoshi Takatsuka, Hiroyuki Shimizu, Haruo Hayashi, Tomomitsu Akamatsu, and Kyouichi Murase. “Effect of soymilk consumption on serum estrogen and androgen concentrations in Japanese men.” Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Biomarkers 10, no. 3 (2001): 179-184.|
|↑18||Chavarro, Jorge E., Thomas L. Toth, Sonita M. Sadio, and Russ Hauser. “Soy food and isoflavone intake in relation to semen quality parameters among men from an infertility clinic.” Human reproduction 23, no. 11 (2008): 2584-2590.|
|↑19||Magee, Pamela J., and Ian Rowland. “Soy products in the management of breast cancer.” Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care 15, no. 6 (2012): 586-591.|
|↑20||Fournier, L. R., T. A. Ryan-Borchers, L. M. Robison, and M. Wiediger. “The effects of soy milk and isoflavone supplements on cognitive performance in healthy, postmenopausal women.” The journal of nutrition, health & aging 11, no. 2 (2007): 155.|