Saponins are phytonutrients found in many beans and vegetables including peas. Research has shown that eating saponins:
- May help lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Saponins from your diet bind with bile acids and cholesterol. This reduces the amount of cholesterol your body can absorb; in turn, that means it helps your body get rid of bad cholesterol.
- May help decrease your risk of developing certain forms of cancer or getting tumors.
An article published in the Journal of Nutrition found saponins in soybeans slowed the growth of human cancer cells. An article published in Phytochemistry Reviews said they may also cause the death of tumor cells, but more research is needed.
- May help improve your immune function.
Saponins have been show to kill fungal cells responsible for things like yeast infections and thrush. Saponins appear to enhance your immune system’s ability to fight off viruses and parasites as well. Pharmaceutical manufacturers often include saponins in vaccines to increase their effectivenes
Some commercially extracted saponins come from certain species of Yucca cactus. Saponins are used by some brewers to help stabilize the foam head on a glass of beer!
Where to Get Your Saponins
Saponins occur naturally in soybeans, peas, navy beans, haricot beans, ginseng, garlic, herbs, vegetables and yucca. Oats, quinoa and amaranth also contain it.