While many people may not realize it, the gut is one of the body’s most sensitive and essential systems. If statistics are anything to go by, many people neglect their gut when considering their general health and well-being. In the United States, over 60 million people suffer from gut-related health issues, many of which affect the digestive system. Considering that 75% of the immune system surrounds the gut, an unhealthy gut can lead to general health issues affecting other systems in the body.
If these statistics concern you, you may ask yourself what you can do to improve your gut health. One of the best ways to improve your gut health is to consume soy products. Soy products help promote gut health in various ways, including their nutritional benefits. This article discusses soy products in general and how they promote the general health of the gut.
Sustainability And Soy Products
Sustainable soy production greatly differs from traditional ways of producing soy. Generally, soy production requires large tracts of land and high-volume greenhouse gas emission, which is disastrous to the environment. However, with the new sustainable means of production, farmers can meet the growing demand for soy products which are critical to the general gut health of consumers.
Some sustainable methods of soy farming include crop rotation, precision farming technology, and water and nutrient management. Through these processes, it is possible to maintain high soy production with little to no environmental impact, thus striking two birds with one stone: environmental preservation and healthy eating.
Relationship Between Soy Products and Gut Health
Soy products are closely related to gut health in two primary ways: nutrient provision and general gut health maintenance. We will first discuss the role soy foods play in the general maintenance of gut health.
General Gut Health Maintenance
The gut is home to various healthy and unhealthy bacteria within the body. The healthy or beneficial bacteria are known as probiotics, many of which are abundant in soy. Generally, probiotics play multiple roles within the body. First, they facilitate efficient digestion of food and keep harmful bacteria at bay, thus serving as an immune promotion agent within the body. They also help break down medicine and line the walls of the digestive tract to keep harmful bacteria from entering the bloodstream.
While these probiotics exist naturally in the body, you may also need to increase their quantity and effectiveness through the consumption of food that has them in abundance. That is where soy products come into play. As research has indicated, consuming soy foods help to increase the levels of the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium probiotics. The high quantity of these probiotics in soy increases the ratio of healthy bacteria comparable to harmful bacteria, thus maintaining the microbial balance necessary for disease prevention.
On the other hand, soy is rich in prebiotics, which are nondigestible food components present with uniquely beneficial properties for the digestive tract. Prebiotics are generally helpful in improving digestive function in the body and preventing constipation through high fiber content. Aside from that, prebiotics also create optimum conditions for probiotics to thrive. As such, having a high content of prebiotics in the digestive tract can promote general gut health by promoting the growth and effectiveness of the probiotics present in the gut.
Some soy products rich in probiotics and prebiotics include soy milk, tofu, and textured soy products.
Nutrient Provision For Gut Health
The body and gut need many nutrients to flourish, including vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids. Soy products are rich in potassium, Vitamins C, D, and B6, and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which have different benefits to the digestive tract, as follows:
Potassium is critical in promoting gut health by relaying messages from the brain to the various muscles in the body. Muscle contractions and expansions are central to influencing how the gut operates, especially in the digestion of food. Since food moves through the body by the contraction of muscles in the gut, high potassium content improves the ease of movement of food. It may even lower the likelihood of constipation.
Vitamin C is essential in maintaining the smooth functioning of the gut by improving gut barrier function. Gut barrier function enhances the body’s ability to absorb necessary nutrients and reduce the absorption of harmful toxins. The body can avoid poor digestion symptoms such as gas and heartburn with improved gut function.
Vitamin D is a transient absorption nutrient for the body in that it helps regulate how it absorbs other nutrients. For instance, it improves the body’s mechanism for the absorption of calcium, zinc, phosphate, and iron. Further, Vitamin D helps maintain proper gut health by regulating inflammation and immune cell function.
The body needs a lot of protein for optimum functionality. Remember, proteins are present in numerous foods people take and may also be in medicine. Vitamin B6 plays a keen role in improving the body’s intake and processing of proteins. Unfortunately, the Vitamin B6 naturally synthesized in the body is insufficient for the body’s consumption needs. Taking extra B6 from soy products helps bridge the deficit gap.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids help promote a healthy gut on numerous fronts. Primarily, the fatty acids ensure optimum microbe levels by promoting beneficial bacteria. As discussed above, these healthy bacteria help protect the body from harmful bacteria that would otherwise harm it. Further, they also increase digestion efficiency in the body, ultimately ensuring proper gut health.
Gut health is closely intertwined with other facets of the body, including the immune and nervous systems. Therefore, having an unhealthy gut could be paramount to the poor general health of the body. Besides, good gut health will also help in easy weight loss. Lucky for us, soy products provide a wide range of benefits that guarantee gut health and also help in shredding extra kilos. If you don’t believe us, then you can keep a check on calories and regime through the best healthy diet apps available in the market. First, by promoting probiotic and prebiotic activity, the body maintains optimum microbe activity in the body, thus ensuring the presence of beneficial bacteria.
Further, soy products also provide the body with nutrients such as Potassium, Vitamins B6, C, and D, and Omega 3 Fatty acids which individually and concertedly work for the benefit of the digestive system. In the long run, consuming food rich in soy has an undeniable advantage for the gut and the entire body, as a consequence. Therefore, consider incorporating soy foods into your daily diet.