Although cholesterol has gained a popularity certainly negative in recent years, especially after the release of a wide variety of food products whose main benefit is to lower their levels naturally, the fact 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 like soy (and its derivatives), have become an excellent option when reducing their levels, although with nuances.
It is, in fact, a food that today we can easily find in the market, either in the form of a beverage (for example, the popular vegetable soya drink, also known as soy milk), or in the form of derivatives As the tofu , the traditional soy sauce, or the 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 arrival directly from Asia, where it has been part of the diet of its population for millennia. It belongs to the family of legumes, and for many years, in countries such as China or Japan, it has been used to make derived foods such as soy bean sprouts or tofu, oil and beverages such as soybean milk.
From a nutritional point of view it is a really very complete food, thanks to the fact that it is extremely 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.
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Why soy helps lower cholesterol?
We must take into account that both soybeans and their derived products they are especially rich in essential fatty acids , especially polyunsaturated fats such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids; Besides, they have a very low saturated fat content . On the other hand, it also contains isoflavones that provide antioxidant qualities or effects, and leticina .
Soy has been considered a natural food with excellent qualities when it comes to reducing high levels not only cholesterol, but also 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 fats. We owe it to your protein contribution , given that soy proteins have been positioned as compounds capable of slightly reducing high levels of fats in the blood.
But these benefits do not remain here, since they also help reduce blood pressure, so its consumption is advised in patients with arterial hypertension .
It is thanks to all these qualities that, from a nutritional point of view, soybean and its derivatives have come to be considered as food with the capacity to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular and coronary diseases .
Soy is useful for lowering cholesterol, but ...
As indicated from the specialized website of Mayo Clinic , although it is true that consuming soy-based foods helps in a positive way when reducing blood cholesterol levels, particularly LDL (or low density lipoprotein) levels, it seems that this decrease is more very mild, and is not directly due to the inclusion of soy in the diet (according to the American Heart Association ).
That is to say, it seems that the benefits against cholesterol of soy come directly from the substitution in the diet of products of animal origin by soy , which do have a higher content of saturated fats. This quality is what is especially observed in specific feeds 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 at the time of having healthy levels of fats in the blood.
In any case, and as long as there is no type of contraindication, we advise you to consult your doctor or dietitian if you wish to incorporate soy into your daily diet.