Food Supplements &
Food supplements are concentrated sources of nutrients and nutritious foods that have specific physiological effects on the body. There’s no official definition of what constitutes a “nutritious food.” Some are characterized by their beneficial nutrients: vitamins, minerals, green foods, antioxidants, enzymes, healthful bacteria and high ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity). Others are defined by the absence of problematic ingredients like fat, cholesterol, sugar and sodium.
Given the current state of the American diet – which has increasingly become energy-rich and nutrient-poor; that is, containing mostly empty calories – the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends replacing some foods in the diet with more nutrient-dense options to help improve the nutrient-to-energy ratio.* This isn’t always possible to achieve in this busy, processed-food, junk-food-laden world. So nutrient-dense food supplements can be beneficial for anyone whose diet is less than optimal – and especially individuals recovering from trauma or surgery, teenagers experiencing a growth spurt, and seniors who are immobile or have dentures.
Soy has played an important role in the traditional diets of numerous cultures throughout the world for many centuries. The vitamins, minerals, phospholipids, phytoestrogens (such as isoflavones), and protein (which is high in quality and low in fat) in soy make these products some of today’s important, nutrient-dense food supplements.
Soy phospholipids – which can be found in lecithin, phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylserine and phosphatidylethanolamine – are major constituents of cell membranes. They help maintain and repair cellular structures and facilitate communication between cells. Soy is also a major dietary source of the isoflavones genistein, daidzein and glycitein. Their chemical structures and function are similar to that of estrogen, which is why isoflavones are believed to support women’s hormonal health. They are also natural antioxidants that help maintain healthy cells and tissues by neutralizing harmful oxygen free radicals. Isoflavones have also been shown to help support bone, heart and prostate health.