There is a lot of confusion about soy products. You may have read about soy causing cancers, increasing estrogens, feminizing male hormones… However, based on current clinical studies and research (click HERE for a full list of references on soy safety!), these claims are not accurate. In fact, soy foods are GREAT to add to the diet in moderation and are SAFE for the general population. Here’s what you need to know!
Why are soy foods so beneficial to consume?
- Great alternative to high-cholesterol and high-saturated fat meats– as a plant-based protein, soy is one of the few non-meat foods that contains all essential amino acids while helping to reduce cholesterol levels
- LOADED with vitamins and minerals– excellent source of calcium, fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, omega-3 fats, phosphorus, potassium, protein, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin K, and good source of niacin, vitamin C, and zinc
- Increases the REMOVAL of LDL or “bad” cholesterol while maintaining HDL or “good” cholesterol levels– per the FDA, consuming 25 grams of soy protein per day can reduce LDL as much as 10%, in addition to consuming a balanced diet low in saturated fat and trans fat intake
- Helps retain calcium levels in the body for better bone health & control blood sugar levels for better glucose control
- Filled with isoflavones that promote high antioxidant properties to help reduce risk of certain cancers, heart disease, and other oxidative damages
How can I consume more soy?
Soy products include soy flour, tempeh (fermented bean curd), tofu, soy milk, and a variety of meat alternatives (soy burgers, soy crumbles, etc.). Soy foods also have killer protein content: 1 cup of tempeh (31 grams), 3 ounces of firm tofu (8 grams), 1 cup of edamame (17 grams), and 1 cup of soy milk (8 grams).
New to soy? Try adding soy to your diet at least one day per week. (Tofu Tuesday anyone?) A simple swap would be to use soy milk in your breakfast cereal or to use soy yogurt as your afternoon snack. Try garnishing a salad with cooked or roasted edamame or soybeans. Interested in tofu but unsure how to use it? SOFT tofu is silky and good to blend into a smoothie, soup, or casserole. FIRM tofu is perfect for baking or grilling – just add spices, seasonings, or marinades as you would meat. It can also be crumbled into lasagna, chili, or meatloaf. Don’t be afraid to try something new – you just might LOVE it!
TAKE HOME MESSAGE… You can comfortably consume up to 3 servings per day of soy foods within the context of a balanced diet… (and one serving equals either a ½ cup of tofu, tempeh, or soybeans or 1 cup of soy milk). Aim for more whole food sources of soy like tofu, soybeans, edamame, tempeh, and soy milk over processed forms like soy burgers and energy bars more often. Swapping animal-based protein for soy is a great way to add more plant-based foods to your diet and variety to your meals.
Looking to build a healthier lifestyle through food, reach out to me at info@NicoleOlenRDN.com today!
Resources: American Dietetic Association Cooking Healthy Across America –Kristine Napier, MPH, RD; The Best Things You Can Eat – David Grotto, RD, LDN; https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/vegetarian-and-special-diets/building-a-healthy-vegetarian-meal-myths-and-facts