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Monday, September 6, 2010

Soy for Weight Loss, Heart Health and Other Health Conditions

Eating soy can help you lose weight.
Photo by Luiz Balter
Stock.Xchng 505486
Hi all,
Soy is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Read on to learn more.

The soybean may be small but it packs a powerful health punch. For over 5,000 years, Asians have known the benefits of soy but it has only been over the last few decades that the health benefits of soy have been acknowledged by the Western world. Soy is high in protein, low in fat, and contains all of the eight essential amino acids which makes it a complete protein. Soy is also packed with vitamins and minerals as well as isoflavones, a plant hormone that resembles estrogen, which is a main factor in soy’s many health benefits. People who enjoy a diet rich in soy products will also enjoy the following health benefits:


Accelerate Weight Loss with Soy

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana and the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that people were able to lose weight if they substituted protein-rich foods, such as a dairy or meat products, with a soy-based food. Soy-based foods are lower in calories and fat as compared to dairy products and meat and are also full of fiber which helps you to feel full longer. Adding soy to your diet can also boost your metabolism, increase energy and build lean muscle instead of fat which can occur in a diet rich in dairy products and red meat. Try replacing hamburgers with soy burgers, milk with soy milk and adding soybeans, soy nuts and soy cheese to your diet.

Soy Lowers Insulin Levels

Adding soy to the diet has also shown to lower blood glucose and insulin levels. It has been found that soy isoflavones lower the build up of tissue fat and also accelerates the breakdown of fat in the body. This makes soy helpful in reducing the risk of developing diabetes and also beneficial to diabetics who are trying to lose weight.

Soy Reduces Risk of Heart Disease

A diet rich in soy products can reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides and increase good (HDL) cholesterol. Eating soy can also reduce the build-up of plaque in the arteries which is responsible for causing heart attacks and strokes.

Relieve Symptoms of Menopause with Soy

According to a study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology, women who had a diet rich in soy reduced the symptoms of menopause by 40% as compared to women who had no treatment. During menopause, women experience a loss of the hormone estrogen which causes symptoms such as hot flashes, anxiety, mood swings, sleep problems and night sweats to occur. Because the isoflavones in soy contain a plant-based estrogen similar to human estrogen, adding soy to the diet helps to replace the lost estrogen and reduce the negative symptoms. Treating menopause with soy instead of estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) also reduces the woman’s risk of developing uterine and breast cancer.

Soy Improves Bone Health

Adding soy to your diet can improve bone health in two ways. First, isoflavones in soy work to inhibit bone breakdown much as estrogen does. In women experiencing menopause, soy actually helps to reduce the risk of osteoporosis by replacing the lost estrogen that causes bone breakdown. Second, a diet rich in animal fats (red meat, dairy products) can cause calcium to be eliminated from the body through the urine. By eating a diet rich in soy instead, you reduce the risk of eliminating the calcium you need to keep your bones healthy.

Soy Prevents some Cancers

According to an article titled Soy Protein: Can it Really Prevent Cancer? by Suzanne Clark of Vanderbilt University, studies have shown that adding soy to the diet can reduce the risk of breast, colon, lung and prostate cancer. The high antioxidant properties as well as isoflavones in soy help to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. However, more studies need to be done before the scientific community completely understands the soy-cancer connection.

How to Add Soy to Your Diet

Eating soy food products is the best way to add soy to your diet. There are an abundance of soy food products on the market to make it easier to add soy to the diet. Food products like soy milk, soy nuts, soybeans, tofu, soy cheese and soy yogurt are readily available. There are also products such as soy oil, soy flour for baking, soy nut butter and soy meat products. For the optimum health benefits, it is recommended to eat 100 to 200 milligrams of soy each day. For those who cannot get enough soy through foods, it is also available in capsule and powder form. There are no known side-effects from eating soy or taking the proper dose of soy supplements.

Article by Deanna Lynn Sletten Copyright 2010
 
Sources:
Soy Protein: Can it Really Prevent Cancer? By Suzanne Clark @ Vanderbilt University
Soy Foods Association of North America "Science Shows Soy Helps with Weight Management"
Benefits of Soy
Soy Isoflavone Reduces Menopausal Symptoms

Allergy Cooking with Ease: The No Wheat, Milk, Eggs, Corn, and Soy Cookbook

Monday, June 28, 2010

How to Stop Belly Bloat

Hi all,
Don't you hate that bloated feeling?  Seems like just when you are feeling good about your body, your belly bloats and you can't wear your favorite jeans, let alone put on a swimsuit.  Well, here are some reasons why you are experiencing belly bloat so you can avoid it.

How to Stop Belly Bloat
By Deanna Lynn Sletten

You slip on a favorite pair of shorts or slinky tee and notice your belly is suddenly bigger than it was yesterday. No, you are not gaining weight; you are just experiencing belly bloat. Belly bloat happens to us all but it can be avoided. Bloating generally comes from the foods and drinks you consume. Certain foods cause gas to build up in your intestinal tract which makes your stomach feel full and bloated. While some of the foods that cause bloat are part of a healthy diet, others are foods you can live without. Here is a list of foods to avoid or eat in moderation to stop belly bloat.


Sorbitol

Sorbitol is a sweetener made from the natural sugars found in fruit such as apples. It is an additive in many products such as chewing gum, cookies, light yogurts, syrups and soft drinks as well as many other foods. Sorbitol is not easily absorbed by your body so it stays in your intestines and produces gas. Only 10 grams of sorbitol can cause you to feel bloated. When you consider that there is 20 grams of sorbitol in one stick of gum, imagine how much you are getting each day from other foods in your diet. Cut out foods containing sorbitol and stick to real sugar (in moderation) which digests naturally and doesn’t cause belly bloat.

Sodium/Salt

Sodium, even in small amounts, attributes to belly bloat. Your body only needs one teaspoon of salt per day to function properly, yet most Americans consume three times this amount. Too much sodium causes cells in the body to retain water, thus causing bloat. Since sodium is in most processed foods, it is best to check labels so you can control how much sodium you eat.

Caffeine

Caffeinated sodas, tea, coffee, chocolate and energy drinks are just a few of the caffeinated foods and drinks that contribute to belly bloat. Stimulants in these products cause stress to the body which then secretes hormones that cause bloating. Switch over to drinking more water for a healthier body and a bloat-free belly.

Fruit

Fruit is a necessary part of a healthy diet yet it contributes to belly bloat. The fructose in fruit metabolizes slowly and eating too much at once can cause it to ferment in your intestinal tract and cause gas. Make sure to eat the recommended two cups of fruit per day for your health but stagger fruit in your diet throughout the day to lessen the chance of causing belly bloat.

Vegetables

Like fruit, vegetables are necessary for a healthy body but many can cause gas and bloating. The high fiber content in vegetables takes longer to digest and causes the belly to extend. It is important to get 3 to 5 servings of vegetables each day, but like fruit, stagger it throughout the day so you don’t get belly bloat.

Lose the Belly Fat