Soya--the medicine food product

Rom J Intern Med. 2007;45(1):113-21.


Soya, cultivated for more than 3000 years, is both a drug and a food product. It has numerous nutritional benefits, given by its content of isoflavones, essential amino acids, fibers, poly-unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. The use of soy reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases: it has an antioxidant effect, reduces cholesterol levels and modulates the endothelial function; the soy foods, rich in isoflavones, reduce the risk of breast cancer; men with heredocolateral cancer antecedents or with minimal increase of prostate antigen must consider the consumption of soy and soy foods. Soy and soy foods play an important role in reducing the incidence of osteoporosis and controlling the pre- and postmenopausal symptoms; the soy ingestion has benefic metabolic effects in patients with Diabetes Mellitus and overweight. Taking into consideration the nutritional profile of soy, the nutritionists should encourage the population to consume more soy and soy foods. Nevertheless, long term studies are needed to discover a possible "dark side" of soy consumption. Among the most popular soy foods we mention: soymilk, soy cheese (tofu), soy meat (pie, salami, textured soy in granule form). Most of the products are soy flour derivatives, while tofu is obtained by curdling soymilk.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diet
  • Humans
  • Nutritive Value
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Soybeans / chemistry*