A nutritious diet is a vital component of a healthy lifestyle. When overhauling their diets with a goal on improving their overall health, adults may consider a host of new foods. That’s when soyfoods first find their way on to many people’s radars.
What are soyfoods?
Soyfoods are foods made from soybeans, a legume that the Cleveland Clinic notes is an excellent source of high quality protein. That distinguishes soybeans from many other legumes.
Does soy promote heart health?
The connection between soy protein and heart health has been studied at length, and organizations such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have reevaluated their stance on soy protein and its link to heart health. In 1999, the FDA authorized a health claim for soy protein that suggested it could reduce a person’s risk for heart disease. However, the FDA ultimately concluded that the studies on which it based its 1999 authorization were inconsistent and inconclusive, leading the FDA to downplay the relationship between soy proteins and heart health until further research could be conducted.
So are soyfoods healthy?
Though the effects of soyfoods on heart health may or may not be as significant as researchers once suggested, soyfoods can still make for nutritious additions to a healthy diet. The health care experts at the University of California San Francisco Health note that the following foods that contain soy provide a variety of nutritional benefits.
Edamame: Edamame is a dish of green soybeans that are boiled or steamed in their pods. UCSF Health notes that edamame are high in protein and fiber and do not contain any cholesterol.
Tofu: WebMD notes that tofu is made by pressing curdling soy milk into a solid block. Tofu has been linked to lower risk for various diseases, including osteoporosis. Tofu contains plant estrogens, and women’s estrogen levels go down after menopause, leading to a loss of bone mass that makes them vulnerable to osteoporosis. According to WebMD, plant estrogens in tofu can make up for some of the estrogen drop-off related to menopause.
Soymilk: Soymilk is produced when soybeans are soaked, ground fine and strained. The resulting fluid is soybean milk. UCSF Health notes that unfortified soymilk is an excellent source of high quality protein and B vitamins. However, unfortified soymilk lacks calcium and vitamin D, both of which are found in traditional milk. Fortified soymilk contains both calcium and vitamin D.
Some additional foods made from soybeans include tempeh, soy nuts and miso. Each provides their own nutritional benefits.
Soyfoods may be worth consideration for anyone looking to eat a more nutritious diet.