Soy is a high quality protein source that is low in saturated fat. These plants naturally contain phytoestrogens and have been shown to help reduce heart disease risk when consumed in conjunction with a heart healthy diet. Soy has been working its way into the Western diet more and more, with a market increase from $300 million in 1992 to $4 billion in 2008.
Soy products are a great way to work a meat-free protein source into the diet. I am a meat-lover myself, but the RD in me feels it is important to be mindful of the frequency and portion sizes of animal meats that I include. Incorporating soy products gives more variety to my diet while staying heart healthy - always a good thing!
Food for Thought
Historically, meat was always very expensive so families would only be able to afford it once or twice a week. A vast difference from our current environment in which people may consume a meat product twice a day. The modernization of agriculture and role of antibiotics and hormones in current animal farming practices have changed the cost of meats to us all. Always an interesting trend to think about...
Soy Product Options
Tofu - a processed form that comes in multiple textures and with a neutral flavor, use silken in dips and soups, use firm in stir fries, salads, and seasoned grilled kabobs
Edamame - young soybeans that can be directly consumed
Tempeh - a block of cooked whole soybeans condensed together, season and use as a meat substitute
Textured Soy Protein - defatted soy flour that has been compressed and dehydrated, consider making meatballs, chili, meatloaf, spaghetti sauce with this
Miso - a flavorful paste of fermented soybeans, often used as a seasoning base in stews/soups/sauces
Soy Meat Analogs - specific products suchs as hot dogs, cold cuts, and burgers that are made out of soy
Soy Flour and Soy Milk - exactly what you think they are, made from soy plants
Happy soy-ing! Share any good recipes you come across!!