By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Recently there has been a trend to increase soybeans in our diet.

Soybeans contain all of the essential amino acids necessary for human nutrition and have been grown and harvested for thousands of years.

There are key advantages.

Populations with diets high in soy protein and low in animal protein have lower risks of prostate and breast cancers.

There are other key advantages: increasing dietary whole soy protein lowers levels of total cholesterol. At this point it is recommended as a dietary substitution for higher-fat animal products.

My advice is that soy represents an option for a balanced diet.