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Project Nutrition by Noreen Thomas BS in Food and Nutrition, and Micobiology, Certified Water Arthritus Aerobics Instructor. and Master Gardener Soy has been touted as the miracle crop. This small yellow round bean (the bean may also be black) is about the size of a green pea and is the subject of a flurry of scientific research. Soybeans have been around since the time of ancient shippers using the bean to balance their ships on long courses across the ocean. Asians have been enjoying soybeans and soy foods for over 5000 years, as part of their daily diet. Today soy products can be found to be made into everything from soy frankfurters, tofu, soy burgers, soy cheese, and or even last night's supper of prepared frozen pizza. Although the publics experience of soy burgers in the 1960's was not to positive- soy products have dramatically improved. Asian Countries eat soy products such tofu, or miso or roasted "green" (not fully ripened) soybeans. Asians eating traditional foods which includes soy, have lower rates of many chronic diseases. Researchers have just begun to identify specific component in soybeans that appear to be responsible for it's good effects. Recently 5 known classes of anticancer ingredients such as phtoestrogens (isoflavones, which are unique to soy) protease inhibitors, phytate, phytosterols, saponins have been identified to be found in soy. The soybean is a dyno of nutrients, and pack a punch of good quality protein as protein found in meat. (Plant sources are usually incomplete sources of protein.) Soybeans are also rich in calcium, iron, zinc, and several B vitamins and fiber or as grandma called it."roughage". Soybeans do contain fat but the type of fat is of a higher quality which is low in harmful saturated fat. Soybeans are rich in omega-3- fatty acids which are believed protect against some form of diseases such as heart disease. (Plant sources are normally not high in omega-3-fatty acids. Fish and flax are also good sources of omega -3-fatty acids.) Asians, who consume soy foods, have lower rates of many type cancers including breast, colon, lung, and prostate cancers. They also have much lower rates of heart disease. "Recent studies suggest adding soy protein to the diet may reduce the risk of heart disease. FDA approved having the nutritional claim on soy foods for reducing the risk of heart disease and the claim will appear on soy foods in October of 1999," Jocie Iszler, registered dietitian of Nutrition Results, Fargo adds. Iszler also adds some other good news,. " Soy foods have been found to help control sugar levels in diabetics and help to maintain normal kidney heath. " Soy foods may slow the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream helping keep the blood sugar levels in balance. Soy has conflicting claims on the benefits of using soy for woman going through menopause and taking the edge off of the symptoms such as night sweats, hot flashes and not being able to sleep.. Isoflavones or (prytoestrogens) are thought to be responsible for positive results in elevating the stress of menopause and it's symptoms. "Research is controversial yet is we don't know the exact benefits of soy and menopausal symptoms and the effects of reducing breast cancer risk. Most of the studies have done on animals", Iszler replies. Soy isoflavones have been isolated and are marketed in the US and are popping up everywhere with even well known drug companies marketing them. Iszler offers advice on supplements," It is important to know the soy capsules are supplements and not monitored closely by FDA. The isolflavones derived from soybeans as a supplement might be from 0- 200% of label claim. At this time there is not a federal agency regulating quality control of supplements With eating soy foods there is not the risk of overconsuming of one ingredient." There is also research that seems to point that the isflavones is of more beneficial when combined with soy protein as found in nature or in soy foods. Non-the- less there are woman who testify that soy has reduced their hot flashes by 50 percent and reduced awful night sweats. Just how much soy to consume to reap beenifts is still not determined but soy combined with low fat diet, and lifestyle high in fruits and vegetables (5 to 9 a day) which includes exercise and stress reduction can lead to a healthier lifestyle. The article may be used for publication for free just siting the source and author in school newspapers, daycares or other enitiies but prohibited for use for resale in publications, magazines, or electronic media. For further updates on the upcoming article visit back this site or e-mail nthomas8@juno.com to be placed on list for updates.