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5 Health Benefits of Soy for the Elderly

By Kevin McClarren, 9:00 am on

Seniors who maintain healthy diets can reduce their risk of developing serious health conditions. Many researchers and experts on senior nutrition have been advocating adding soy to elderly diets to boost their overall health. The staff at Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of at-home care Warren families trust, has put together a list of  benefits soy can offer your elderly loved one.

1. Offers a Rich Source of Non-Animal Protein

Researchers estimate 40 percent of women over the age of 70 don’t get enough protein in their diets. Protein is essential for building and repairing muscles and helps form enzymes, hormones, skin, and almost every cell. Unlike carbohydrates and fat, the body can’t store extra protein. Most seniors need to eat 5 to 7 ounces of protein-rich food each day to maintain proper health. If your loved one doesn’t like the taste or texture of meat or is allergic, soy is a great alternative for getting the daily protein requirement.

2. Provides Heart-Healthy Benefits

Soy milk has been found in several studies to reduce total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Researchers believe the insoluble fiber in soy interferes with the absorption of cholesterol, keeping “bad” LDL cholesterol levels low while still preserving high levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.

3. Prevents Prostate Cancer

A 1998 study found men who drank soy milk at least once a day had a 70 percent decreased chance of developing prostate cancer compared to those who never drank soy milk. Similarly, a 2004 study published in Urology determined soy may also help treat prostate cancer. Australian researchers examined men who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Those who ate a diet rich in soy had a 12.7 percent drop in their prostate-specific antigen levels, while those who ate a normal diet had an increase of 40 percent. Rates of prostate cancer rise significantly after the age of 50, but eating soy may help your loved one reduce his risk.

4. Reduces Blood Sugar Levels

Many seniors have diabetes, a disease that can make blood sugar levels rise after eating carbohydrates. If your loved one has this condition, eating soy can help him or her keep blood sugar levels under control. A 2011 study found people who included soy in their diet had better fasting blood sugar levels. The insoluble fiber in soy may help slow down metabolism, keeping blood sugar levels stable.

5. Supplies Calcium

Osteoporosis can cause the bones to become weak and brittle. However, eating a healthy diet with plenty of calcium can prevent bone loss from occurring. Fortified soy milk provides 300 mg of calcium of the 1,200 mg recommended each day for elderly women.

If your loved one needs help maintaining a healthy diet, turn to Home Care Assistance. All of our caregivers are trained in senior nutrition and can help your loved one with cooking, grocery shopping, and more. For more information on live-in and part-time care Warren seniors can count on, call one of our qualified Care Managers today at 908.450.9400.