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Soy Milk: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Rajeev Singh

By Dr Rajeev Singh +2 more

Introduction 

Milk is a source of different nutrients and vitamins. The Food Standard Agency recommends that milk and other dairy products should be a part of the daily diet. Buffalo milk is with high-fat content and to overcome this, low-fat soy milk will be the best alternative source. The production of soy milk for the first time developed in China during 25-220 AD. The first written report of soymilk was seen in chapter 4 Taboos in the AD 82 book Lunheng by Wang Chong. Soy milk is made from soybean which is known as the golden miracle bean and belongs to the leguminous crop. Soy products are popular in Indian states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh. Soy products like soy milk are becoming popular among health-conscious people.1 Let us now look at some soy milk benefits for health. 

soy milk benefits, soy milk in a glass

Did you know?

  • Soy milk is a good source of phospholipids, which have anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular benefits. source: ncbi
  • Soy milk contains isoflavones that have been linked to a reduced risk of breast and prostate cancer. source: ncbi
  • Soy milk consumption has been associated with a lower risk of osteoporosis and improved bone health. source: ncbi

Nutritional Value of Soy Milk: 

The nutritional composition of 100gm soy milk is given below: 

Nutritional Component Value 
Water 90.4 g 
Protein 2.6 g 
Fats 1.47 g 
Carbohydrate 4.92 g 
Fibre 0.2 g 
Sugar 3.65 g 
Calcium 123 mg 
Magnesium 15 mg 
Phosphorus 43 mg 
Potassium 122 mg 
Sodium 47 mg 
Vitamin B6 0.031 mg 

Table 1: Nutritional Value of Soy Milk2 

Also Read: Almond Milk: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Dr. Rajeev Singh

Properties of Soy Milk: 

Soy milk may possess the following properties: 

  • It may protect against cancer 
  • It may have cholesterol-lowering property 
  • It may reduce the risk of osteoporosis 
  • It may improve the heart health 
  • It may lower the risk of diabetes 
  • It may be an antioxidant 
  • It may have properties to manage weight3 

Traditionally, good quality raw soybeans are soaked overnight (8 to 10 hours) followed by grinding with water to prepare a slurry. This slurry is then filtered and boiled to produce highly nutritious soy milk. Soy milk is a good alternative for people with lactose allergy as it is lactose-free. Along with nutritional value, soy milk is also served as a refreshment and can be used in making vegan alternatives to dairy products like tofu.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Also Read: Coconut Milk: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Smita Barode

Potential Use of Soy Milk for Overall Health: 

Some of the potential health benefits of soy milk are as follows: 

1. Potential use of soy milk for reducing cholesterol 

Soy milk consists of isoflavones and saponins which may have antioxidant properties. Studies have shown that it may reduce bad cholesterol levels and increase good cholesterol levels. Further research on the effect of soy milk on cholesterol levels in humans is required. However, it is essential to check your cholesterol levels and consult your doctor in case of high cholesterol levels.3 

2. Potential use of soy milk for atherosclerosis 

Consumption of soybeans may improve endothelial function and atherosclerosis is a condition where fats are deposited on the inner wall of the artery. Sub-clinical studies show that soy milk may be beneficial in the case of atherosclerosis by delaying the deposition of fats. However, further clinical studies are required to see the effect of soy milk in the case of atherosclerosis.3 

3. Potential use of soy milk for cancer 

Soy may possess anti-cancer properties due to the presence of isoflavones. The isoflavones may modify or alter the cell cycle and may cause cell death (apoptosis). Studies have shown that soy milk may reduce the risk of prostate, breast, stomach, lung, and colon cancer. However, further studies are needed to confirm the anti-cancer properties of cancer. Cancer is a serious disease; therefore, you must consult your doctor if diagnosed. You must not self-medicate.3 

4. Potential use of soy milk for osteoporosis 

Soy milk may reduce the risk of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women, whose bone mineral density reduces due to declining in hormones like oestrogen and hormone replacement therapy. A study showed that isoflavones in soy milk may increase the calcium levels in bones. In addition, the high protein content in soy milk may also benefit bone health. However, more studies are yet to be done to confirm the effect of soy milk.3 If you have any bone-related problems consult the doctor and do not self-medicate.  

5. Potential use of soy milk for weight management 

Soy milk is a rich source of vitamins, minerals and bioactive compounds which may help in reducing the appetite. The condition of a low carbohydrate diet with high nutrient content of soy milk may help in weight management. Further studies are needed to see how soy milk may be essential in managing weight. However, you must consult a nutritionist to get a proper diet plan before making changes in your diet by yourself.3 

6. Potential use of soy milk for diabetes 

Soy milk may be good for patients with diabetes. Lesser content of carbohydrates and higher content of proteins may help to manage the blood sugar level. However, further studies are required to check the effect of soy milk on individuals with diabetes. You must check your blood sugar level regularly and consult your doctor in case of high blood sugar levels.3 

7. Potential use of soy milk as a prebiotic 

Soy milk may improve gut health by acting as a prebiotic and enhancing the useful microbes in the gut.  Oligosaccharides in soy help as an alternative to sugar which may provide a substrate to help the good bacteria to grow and help the gut in maintaining useful bacteria. These bacteria present in the intestine may help in metabolism and may help in the proper functioning of the gut. Further studies are required to see how soy milk can help to improve gut health.3 If you have any gut problems, consult the doctor and do not self-medicate. 

8. Potential use of soy milk for improving heart health 

Consuming soy products like soy milk may reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases like stroke and coronary heart disease.4 Constituents like fibre, protein, and isoflavones present in soy milk may work in different mechanisms to enhance heart health. They may help to reduce blood pressure and more studies are required to check the effect of soy milk on heart health. However, you must consult your doctor if you have abnormal blood pressure or any symptoms of heart disease. You must take utmost precautions if you have a history of cardiovascular disease.3 Do not self-medicate.  

Also Read: Is Soybean Oil Bad For You? Unraveling The Truth Backed By Science

Though some studies show the benefits of soy milk in various conditions, these are insufficient, and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of soy milk on human health. 

Suffering from menopausal symptoms? Consuming soy milk might help to relieve menopausal symptoms. Based on some research, soy milk contains isoflavones which exhibit oestrogen-like properties. These isoflavones may act as a natural alternative to hormones in menopausal women.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Also Read: Oat Milk: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Smita Barode

How to Use Soy Milk? 

Soy milk can be added to your diet in the following way 

  • You can add soy milk to your tea or coffee 
  • You can add soy milk to the smoothie 
  • Soy milk can be added to baked goods 
  • You can use soy milk in the preparation of curry 

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking soy milk in large quantities or any herbal supplements. Likewise, do not discontinue or replace an ongoing modern medical treatment with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor. 

Did you know? Soy milk may have antioxidant, antiproliferative, and anticarcinogenic properties which can be extremely beneficial for the skin. Consuming soy milk and its products might assist in reducing skin pigmentation, controlling oil production, improving skin elasticity, and hydrating the skin.

Dr. Smita barode, B.A.M.S, M.S.

Also Read: The Health Impact: Understanding Organic Milk Benefits

Side Effects of Soy Milk: 

Soy allergy may be associated with soy milk. Its symptoms of soy milk side effects include: 

  • Itching sensation 
  • nausea 
  • diarrhea 
  • flushed skin 
  • tingling sensation of the mouth and lips 
  • wheezing and shortness of breath 
  • dizziness and confusion4 

If you experience any adverse reactions to soy milk, immediately contact a doctor or your Ayurvedic physician who has prescribed it. They will be able to guide you appropriately for your symptoms. 

Also Read: Goat Milk: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Rajeev Singh

Precautions to Take with Soy Milk: 

The following precautions should be taken before consuming soy milk: 

  • Consumption of soy milk may have a detrimental effect on people with thyroid conditions. Therefore, individuals with thyroid diseases must be cautious before consuming soy milk. 
  • Soy milk is usually healthy for babies, but studies show it may harm premature babies. Their utmost care must be taken and consult your doctor before giving soy milk to the baby.4 

Interaction With Other Drugs: 

Studies suggest that soy milk may interact with warfarin, a drug prescribed to prevent clots. Soy milk may interfere with the metabolism of warfarin and reduce its efficacy.5 

Also Read: Buffalo Milk: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Rajeev Singh

Frequently Asked Questions: 

What are the disadvantages of soy milk? 

Soy allergy may be associated with soy milk. It may cause several symptoms like Itching sensation, nausea, diarrhea, flushed skin, tingling sensation of the mouth and lips, wheezing and shortness of breath, dizziness, and confusion.4 

What is the use of soy milk? 

Soy milk may be used to reduce cholesterol. It may help in the case of atherosclerosis, diabetes, cancer, and osteoporosis. It may act as a prebiotic and may be beneficial for the gut bacteria. Additionally, it may also improve heart health.3 If you have any of these conditions consult the doctor and take the proper suggestion. Do not self-medicate.  

Is there any use of soy milk for weight loss? 

Yes, soy milk may help in weight management and reduce obesity due to its high protein and low carbohydrate content in it.3 

Is soy milk good for you?

Yes, soy milk is good for human health as it has several benefits associated with it.3 

Which drug does soy milk interact with? 

Soy milk may interact with warfarin, which is a drug prescribed to prevent blood clots.5 

 

References: 

1) Kant, Rajni & Broadway, Arif, (2015). The Benefits of Consuming Soya milk- A Review. International Journal “Trends of Biosciences. 8. 1159-1162. [cited 2022 Sep 1]. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/307436295_The_Benefits_of_Consuming_Soya_milk-_A_Review 

2) FoodData Central. Soy milk [Internet]. U.S. Department of Agriculture [cited 2022 Sep 1]. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1097542/nutrients 

3) Rizzo G, Baroni L. Soy, Soy Foods and Their Role in Vegetarian Diets. Nutrients. 2018 Jan 5;10(1):43. [cited 2022 Sep 1]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5793271/ 

4) Soybeans and soy foods – Better Health Channel [Internet]. [cited 2022 Sep 1]. Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/soybeans#health-benefits-of-soy-foods 

5) Cambria-Kiely JA. Effect of soy milk on warfarin efficacy. Ann Pharmacother. 2002 Dec;36(12):1893-6. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12452752/ 

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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