Per a 2016 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, soy foods and components have been linked with altering your gut microbiome in such a way that it lowers your risk of diseases. The researchers note that soy-based foods can “increase the levels of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli and alter the ratio between Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes.”
Medical nutritionist and aesthetic physician Dr. Aalika Banerji Shah told NDTV Food that this basically means that there’s a beneficial shift that’s happening in your gut, where probiotic bacteria are increased and microbial balance is achieved. “These changes in the microbiota then help reduce pathogenic bacteria populations in the gut and assist in reducing the risk of diseases such as immune deficiencies, allergies, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.” The fiber content in the milk (2 grams in one unsweetened cup) helps with healthy digestion and preventing constipation too. Plus, if it’s not clear already, soy is great for those with lactose sensitivities because it’s naturally lactose-free. It is also a safe nondairy option for those who have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Gut health aside, soy milk is also great for reducing blood pressure levels, preventing heart disease and stroke, and boosting bone health because of its isoflavone content, shared Dr. Will Bulsiewicz (via Well+Good). It’s low in saturated fat and has been known to benefit muscle recovery in those who do resistance training too. So where does soy milk get its bad rep from?