Q. I have heard a lot about soy. Should I consider adding some soybeans, soy milk, tofu, or soy burgers to my diet?
A. Yes. Soy foods offer many health benefits. Soy is a good source of protein, but unlike many other protein-rich foods, it's low in saturated fats and contains no cholesterol. The fat in soy is predominantly unsaturated, which does not raise blood cholesterol.
Most consumers are aware of soyfoods, and many Americans have tried them. As part of your "fresh start" for eating healthy, you may want to consider adding some soy beans, soymilk, tofu, or soy burgers to your diet.
Why? Soyfoods offer many health benefits. Soy is a good source of protein, but unlike many other protein-rich foods its low in saturated fats and contains no cholesterol. The fat in soy is predominantly polyunsaturated, which does not raise blood cholesterol.
Rich in calcium, iron, zinc, fiber, potassium, and several of the B vitamins, soy is also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are believed to reduce the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. Soy also contains plants compounds called phytochemicals, thought to offer a myriad of protective health benefits.
Eating soyfoods is linked to lower rates of heart disease, lower rates of heart disease, lower rates of breast and other cancers, fewer menopause symptoms, and healthier bones. For people with diabetes, soyfoods slow digestion and rates of absorption, helping regulate the rise and fall of blood sugars.
Some soyfoods such as soy burgers, need no "sneaking" into any diet they're delicious in their own right. Other soyfoods such as tofu, soymilk, and soy burgers, can be used to replace or supplement other ingredients that lack soy's powerful health benefits. Here are some ideas for getting more soy into your diet:
- Sprinkle soy protein powder on cereal.
- Make smoothies with soy protein powder, soymilk, and silken tofu.
- When baking, substitute some of the all-purpose flour soy protein powder and soy flour.
- Add crumbled or cubed firm tofu to chunky soups and stews.
- When pureeing soups, add silken tofu.
- When making soup base or white sauce, use soymilk or a mixture of nonfat milk and soy milk.
- Replace some of the cheese and/or meat in lasagna with crumbled firm tofu or soy burgers.
- Replace some of the ground meat in meatloaf with crumbled firm tofu and oats.
- Replace some of the ground meat in taco fillings with crumbled soy burgers.
It's a great way to add health-boosting plant compounds to your diet. Soymilk can be used interchangeably with milk, as a beverage or in baked goods. Be sure to use soy milk that has been fortified with calcium, and choose the plain flavor rather than vanilla, which is sweetened.
To learn more about soy, see:
- Is Soy Bad For You?
- Chinese Noodles and Soy Beef Recipe