Soya Bean:
Health Benefits and Nutrition Information

Health Benefits and Nutrition Information provided by nutritionist Lucy Kelly Nutritional Therapist, Southampton, England.

There is a great deal of interest in the health benefits of soya. Recent research has indicated that populations where soya is consumed regularly as part of the diet (in particular the Chinese and Japanese) have lower rates of cardiovascular disease, breast, prostate and colon cancers. Asian women consuming a traditional diet have fewer menopausal hot flashes and night sweats compared to Western women.

The isoflavones genistein and diadzein present in soya beans are phytoestrogens. These naturally occurring plant compounds have been shown to have a balancing effect on hormones; increasing oestrogen levels when they are low and reducing them when they are high. Note that these isoflavones must be converted to active compounds by the gut bacteria before the body can use them. Soya also contains other substances, which have cancer-fighting properties studies have shown that soya can lower cholesterol levels (especially the 'bad' cholesterol).

The recommendation is to eat soya in its natural form, made from the whole soya bean and fermented. (See KnowingFood's recipes) N.B. some individuals are allergic to soya.

Nutrition Information

Soya is an excellent source of high quality protein as it contains all the essential amino acids. It is low in saturated fat; cholesterol free and whole soybeans are an excellent source of dietary fibre. It also provides a significant amount of magnesium, zinc, iron, thiamine, riboflavin, and vitamin B6 and is a good source of the natural antioxidants lecithin and vitamin E.

Soya is a good food for vegetarians as it compensates for the proteins and some of the nutrients that come with meat consumption. It is advisable to combine soya with a wide variety of other nutrient rich foods to ensure a balanced diet.

Tofu, 1/2 cup (126g)
(firm, prepared with calcium sulphate and magnesium chloride)

  • Calories: 97
  • Protein: 10g
  • Carbohydrate: 3.7g
  • Total Fat: 5.6g
  • Fibre: 0.50g
  • Iron 1.8mg, Calcium 204mg, Magnesium 58mg, Selenium 11.8mcg, Folic acid 41.5mcg.
  • The information here is intended for interest only and must not be used as a treatment for health problems. Please consult a qualified nutritional therapist for more information and recommendations.