Adding soy to a senior’s diet can boost his or her overall health and help keep several diseases at bay. Here are some of the reasons why your senior loved one may want to eat more soy as he or she ages.
1. Prevent Prostate Cancer
Once a man reaches the age of 50, he is at an increased risk of developing prostate cancer. However, a few studies have shown that adding a little soy to the diet can decrease this risk up to 70 percent. Adding soy to the diet of a senior male with prostate cancer may also help combat the disease. Having your loved one drink a cup of soy milk or enjoy a bowl of cereal with soy milk each day is a great way to add this food to the diet.
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2. Protect Bones
Women should also consider adding a cup of soy milk to their diets. Several studies have shown that perimenopausal and postmenopausal women who consumed soy regularly saw less bone loss and, in some cases, even an increase in bone mass. This could prove helpful for women who are at risk of osteoporosis in their senior years.
3. Lower Cholesterol
High cholesterol puts seniors at risk for a number of cardiovascular conditions, and the older people get, the harder it is to keep cholesterol under control. Animal products such as beef and cheese are full of saturated fats that can cause high cholesterol. If your loved one has high cholesterol, try substituting cheese with a soy version, which is lower in saturated fat.
4. Boost Memory
Memory loss is fairly normal with age, and some seniors are at risk of memory-related diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. While the science is still somewhat undecided, some studies have shown a link between soy and memory. Adding a little soy to your loved one’s diet can sharpen his or her mind and help preserve memories.
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5. Promote Digestive Health
Research suggests adults over the age of 60 are at an increased risk for digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome. Replacing your loved one’s favorite dairy products with soy versions may help soothe the symptoms of these conditions. Soy does not contain lactose, an ingredient many people cannot tolerate in large doses. Furthermore, soy contains carbohydrates called fructooligosaccharides, which foster a healthy environment for good intestinal bacteria to thrive.
6. Stabilize Blood Sugar
If your loved one has diabetes or other problems that cause a spike in blood sugar, eating soy can help with blood sugar management. One of the most low-glycemic foods available, soy helps stabilize blood sugar levels over time. This can also boost your loved one’s moods throughout the day.
7. Increase Protein Intake
Studies suggest nearly half of all seniors, particularly those over 70, do not eat enough protein. This is especially true for those who are vegetarians or who simply don’t like the taste of meat. Protein is important for building and maintaining muscles. After reaching the age of 50, people lose up to 2 percent of muscle mass each year. Soy is an excellent source of protein, and you can find soy versions of your loved one’s favorite animal products at the grocery store.
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