There is a lot of debate between people on whether or not soy is beneficial so what's the scoop?
Here are the soy specifics I think everybody should be informed about!
1. Soy comes from the soybean plant. It is classified in the legume family.
2. Soy contains high quality protein, comparable to that of meat products chicken and eggs.
3. Breast cancer: There has been plenty of research completed on the potential health benefits and the safety of soy. Soy foods, but not supplements, may help to prevent breast cancer. More research is needed to understand the specific amount and to better understand soy's role in breast cancer prevention. For breast cancer survivors, 2 servings a day is safe to consume.
4. Heart health: Replacing high fat animal foods such as meat and dairy with soy foods can be heart healthy. A small decrease in LDL (lousy) cholesterol is typically found when at least 20 grams of soy protein daily ( eg 1 cup of soy milk).
5. Popular sources of soy are in tofu, soy beverages, edamame, temph, miso and soy sauce. Adding tofu to your dinner on a meatless Monday is great way to increase your intake of plant based proteins.
6. The specific recommendations for soy still are a work in progress. Approximately 2-3 3/4 cup servings per week of the traditional bean is said to be beneficial for health.
7. Soy beverages are the ground up soy-bean in liquid form. They are soaked and then ground in water. They resemble milk and can be used as a milk alternative in cereal, sauces, coffee or tea.
8. Soy is a good source of iron. However, our bodies do not absorb it as efficiently as we absorb iron from animal products. In order to increase the iron absorption pair it with food or drink rich in Vitamin C such as ½ cup of orange juice with dinner or bells pepper in a tofu chili for lunch. One serving (3/4 cup) of tofu can provide anywhere from 2-3 mg of iron which represents 16 - 37.5% of your daily iron needs depending on your age and gender.
Don't bite on that anti-soy, fear-mongering bloggers may share. Canadian's already consume excessive amounts of animal products so swapping in some soy will not only offer you a great source of protein, calcium and iron, but will also potentially lower your risk of developing chronic health conditions via reduction of consumption of animal products.
Want to try some new recipes with soy? Check out Rebecca's Pinterest page on vegetable proteins for some inspiration or try Julia's Recipe for Garlic Spiced Edamame!