You must have heard a lot about soy in the recent years especially if you are into fitness or if you are a vegan.
The most common question is “Should we consider adding soy chunks, soy milk, tofu or soy based food to our diet?”
There is a reason why I love Soy and encourage others to give this food a try. I was diagnosed as lactose intolerant when I was 24 years of age after years of suffering through bloating and severe stomach cramps. Milk used to be a major part of my diet and when I had to stop milk I resorted to soy milk without knowing much about the product. Luckily enough I had someone to counsel me on soy and its benefits, of course to be had within its limits.
In this day and age when everyone is looking at healthier alternatives especially for the vegans, I felt it was necessary to write about soy starting with the basics. Over the next few months, I intend to write more about Soy so that you can decide for yourselves if you want to add Soy to your regular daily diet.
Through this post, I will take you through what is soy, its nutritional value, different forms of soy and types of soy one can add to their diet.
Soybeans can be cooked and eaten in a variety of ways. The young green soybeans called edamame can be steamed and eaten as an appetizer whereas the shelled version can be used in soups and salads. The yellow soybeans are used to make soymilk, miso (soybean paste), tofu, tempeh and tamari (type of soy cake).
One point to note is that Soybeans must be cooked and not eaten raw as they are poisonous when raw.
Different Forms of Soy:
The best types of soy to eat are those which are less processed such as cooked soybeans, edamame, soy milk, tofu, and soy nuts.
Although soy is a nutritious food, I would recommend moderation as in any other food. With regards to whole soy foods, moderate intake would be 1-2 servings per day.
The serving sizes for some common soy foods are,
- 1 cup soy milk
- 1/2 cup cooked soybeans
- 1/2 cup tofu
While soybean can be consumed in various ways nowadays there are various soybeans recipes available online. My pick and some popular soy products are:
- Bean Curd- popularly known as tofu
- Soy Milk- made from mature soybeans
- Soybeans- tender, green soybeans
- Edamame- green soybeans
- Miso Soup- a traditional Japanese soup
There are some which may not be so popular in India yet very popular in Asian countries.
- Soy Nuts- snack
- Soy Cheese- cheese substitute
- Soy Crisps- soy chips made from soy flour.
- Soy Flour- flour made from roasted soybeans
- Soy Yogurt- made from soy milk
- Natto- a traditional Japanese food prepared from fermented soybeans.
- Tempeh- made by fermenting soybeans
How to Add Soy in Your Diet:
Ideally adding soy to the diet would be beneficial especially for vegetarians, vegans and those who are allergic to dairy foods as it serves as a major source of protein.
Here are my usual ways to get soy into my diet:
- Replace minced meat with crumbled soy chunks in side dishes.
- Add soymilk instead of cow’s milk to your protein drink.
- Make smoothies using soymilk or soy protein powder.
- Use small amounts of soy flour in the place of all purpose flour for baking.
- Sprinkle soy protein powder on cereals.
- Replace paneer chunks for tofu.
- Use soymilk as a base for white sauce preparation.
- Replace some of the cheese or meat in lasagna with crumbled firm tofu.
Though adding Soy to your diet is a trend nowadays I would suggest introducing it into your diet gradually. As in any food, Soy in combination with other nutritious foods would be ideal for good health.
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