Unlocking the health benefits of soy products

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Our bodies undergo various changes as we age, including a decline in cognitive function, bone density, and muscle mass, some elderly even develop cancer. The good news is that certain dietary supplements and nutrients can help combat these age-related changes. One such nutrient is genistein, a compound found in soy beans and other legumes. In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of soy products for elderly people.


What foods are high in genistein?

Genistein is predominantly found in soy-based products and legumes. For example:

Soybeans and soy products:

  • Whole soybeans (edamame)
  • Tofu (made from soybeans)
  • Tempeh (fermented soybean product)
  • Soy milk
  • Soy protein isolate
Soy milk

Soy-based foods and snacks:

  • Soy nuts
  • Soy-based meat substitutes (such as soy-based burgers, sausages, or nuggets)
  • Soy-based energy bars
  • Soy-based yogurt

Legumes and legume products:

  • Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • Lentils
  • Red kidney beans
  • Black beans
  • Miso (fermented soybean paste)
Miso soup

Other foods:

  • Flaxseeds (contain a smaller amount of genistein)
  • Alfalfa sprouts (contain a smaller amount of genistein)

Health benefits of genistein

Genistein is a phytoestrogen, which is a plant-based compound that mimics the effects of estrogen in the body. Genistein has been shown to have a wide range of health benefits, including reducing inflammation, improving cognitive function, promoting bone health, reducing heart disease and cancer, reducing hot flases, etc. Here, we will look into a few common benefits of genistein.


Reduce inflammation

Inflammation is a natural response to injury or infection, but chronic inflammation can contribute to a variety of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. Genistein has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body. A study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that genistein reduced inflammation and improved insulin resistance in obese individuals. Another study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that genistein reduced inflammation in the brains of mice.


Improve cognitive function

Cognitive decline is a common occurrence in elderly individuals, and can lead to memory loss, difficulty with concentration, and other cognitive impairments. Genistein has been shown to improve cognitive function in older adults. A study published in Nutrition Journal found that genistein improved cognitive function and reduced oxidative stress in postmenopausal women.


Promote bone health

Our bones become weaker and more brittle as we age, which can lead to fractures and osteoporosis. Genistein has been shown to promote bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. A study published in Journal of Bone and Mineral Research found that genistein supplementation increased bone density and reduced bone loss in postmenopausal women. Another study also reported that genistein improved bone health in elderly men.


Lower the risk of heart disease

Genistein can help to reduce cholesterol levels and improve blood vessel function. This in turn reduces the risk of heart diseases. A study published in Circulation demonstrated that high intake of isoflavones was associated with a moderately lower risk of developing coronary heart disease (CHD). A meta-analysis article from Current Problems in Cardiology summarised the effects of genistein in lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases.


Reduce risk of cancer

Genistein has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells, modulate stages of cell cycle, induce apoptosis, suppress angiogenesis and metastasis. Numerous studies have investigated the anti-cancer effect of genistein on leukemia, lymphoma, ovarian, cervical, leiomyoma, melanoma, neuroblastoma, gastric, pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancer cells. A study published in Genes Chromosomes Cancer reported that genistein could suppress telomerase activity, a key enzyme that is highly expressed in cancer cells.


Other benefits of genistein

Genistein has been shown to reduce the severity and frequency of hot flashes in menopausal women.

In addition to the benefits shown above, genistein may also help to improve the quality of life for the elderly by:

  • Boosting energy levels.
    Genistein can help to increase energy levels and reduce fatigue.
  • Improving sleep quality.
    Genistein can help to improve sleep quality and reduce the risk of insomnia.
  • Reducing stress levels.
    Genistein can help to reduce stress levels and improve mood.


Genistein is a powerful nutrient that offers many benefits and improves the quality of life for elderly individuals. If you’re looking for ways to support your health as you age, consider adding genistein-rich foods like soybeans, chickpeas, and lentils to your diet or taking a genistein supplement.


As with any dietary supplement, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider before starting genistein supplementation, especially if you’re taking medications or have a medical condition.


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