Soy products have been a popular food for vegetarians all over the world. Not only has soy foods and products been a valuable alternative to meats but it has dozens of health benefits as well.
In fact, in recent years more people are shifting towards choosing soy based products to pursue a healthier lifestyle.
Before we take a look a the benefits you’ll get from eating soy lets first take a quick look at where you can get some soy in the first place:
Soy and Soy Products
Tofu: This versatile food can be, firm soft, or silken textures. It’s made from puréed soybeans and processed into a “cake”. You can use this food in a stir-fry, grill it, add it to soups, lasagna, cheesecakes, or blend them into dips or smoothies.
Soy Beverages: These can be bought fresh or in small packs. You can substitute them for other beverages or for milk recipes. Some products are fortified with calcium, and vitamin D, which also come in many flavors, like vanilla, chocolate and even coffee.
Soy Beans: These are very convenient and easy to use. Canned soybeans just need to be rinsed before being added to casseroles, soups, chili, or just to be mashed and added to a veggie burger recipe.
Green Soybeans (Edamame): Edamame are bought shelled or still in the pod and can be served as a snack, or as a healthy vegetable dish.
Soy Flour: Adds protein to recipes when substituted for all-purpose flour. You can also find it in cereals, pancake mixes and in frozen deserts.
Textured Vegetable Protein: De-fatting, and dehydrating the soy flour make this. Once rehydrated, it can be used as a meat replacement, in a variety of dishes, including chili, meat loaf, pasta sauce or lasagna.
Tempeh: Made from fermented, the soy beans and formed into a chewy cake. This meat alternative can be used in a variety of dishes.
Miso: this is a delicious fermented soybean paste, and can be used as a base for soups or used as a seasoning.
Soy Nuts: These flavorsome nuts have more fiber and less fat than other regular nuts. You can enjoy them as a snack or sprinkle them on salads or stir-fries.
Soy Protein Powders: Made from isolated soy protein, these powders can be added to shakes or smoothies for a protein rich breakfast.
As you can see the list is pretty large, so you’ll have many choices to choose from. In regards to benefits, Soy is a great source for high quality protein and iron, it’s a good source of b vitamins, potassium, zinc, and other minerals, as well as it’s low in calories and saturated fat.
However it’s not all smiles when it comes to soy. Fermented soy products are high in sodium and may provoke any allergies that you may have. Also the protein in the soy can reduce your iron absorption.
The Bottom Line
Overall if you choose to add some soy products into you lifestyle, then great and more power to you! However keep in mind that you should look at soy as what it is – Food… and not as medication for different illnesses as as some believe.
All foods including soy should be eaten in moderation and balanced with other nutrients form other foods. Don’t over do it and remember there’s no substitute for a well-balanced eating plan.