Soya is one of the oldest and most nutritious foods in the world. In the 11th century BC it was primarily consumed in Northern China, spreading to the west and the U.S.A. in the middle of the 18th century and only more recently to Europe. Soya is mainly used in industry and for animal feed despite the fact that it is the third most important crop world-wide today and less than 3% is consumed by humans.
Soya has many nutritional advantages as it contains protein, fibre and isoflavones which have positive effects on cholesterol, bone density, menstrual and menopausal symptoms as well as preventing certain cancers. It is thought to be a wonder food by the Chinese who believe it can cure kidney disease, water retention, common colds, anaemia and leg ulcers.
Research studies by Professor Anderson in 1995 resulted in healthy heart claims as Soya was found to reduce blood cholesterol levels in many of his studies. Soya isoflavones combined with soya protein enhance blood cholesterol reductions as well as having a positive effect on menopausal women by reducing the risk of hot flushes. Improved vascular function, reduction of blood pressure, antioxidant protection of LDL cholesterol and inhibition of platelet activation are other known cardiovascular effects of Soya and its constituent isoflavones.
The recommended daily amount of soya protein by the UK Joint Health Claims Initiative in 2002 is 25g as part of a low-fat diet to help reduce cholesterol level. In orser to achieve this RDA of Soya to promote a healthy heart and reduce cholesterol it is necessary to consume three portions of a Soya based food each day. This can be easily achieved by using Soya milk on cereal each morning, adding soya milk to tea and coffee and choosing a dessert made from soya milk eg. custard or fruit smoothies yoghurt etc.,
There are many Soya cookery books available as well as the many recipes containing soya beans and tofu which already exist in Chinese cooking books. If more people included Soya into their daily diet the risk of developing Heart disease would be reduced which would have a significant impact on the incidence of mortality caused by Coronory Heart Disease today.