What exactly does that little soybean do? Turns out that it is a nutritional powerhouse, and although no governmental guidelines have been issued as to how much you should consume a day as part of your healthy diet, most researchers and health professionals agree that there is a lot of good to get out of such a little bean.
Soybeans and soy foods are high in protein, without loads of fat. In fact, soy is very low in saturated fat and has no cholesterol. Recently researchers proved that the protein specific to soybeans helps to lower the risk of heart disease. Just like most meats, soy protein is also a complete source of all of the amino acids the body needs.
After about the age of 30, a woman’s body starts losing the ability to fully absorb calcium. Because of this, women need to make sure they are consuming enough calcium to counter this loss. A loss of bone density from lack of calcium is what can cause osteoporosis later in life. Along with other foods, such as milk and green leafy vegetables, soy is a great source of calcium and it comes in a form that is more easily absorbed. Therefore, for women especially, soy products can be a great addition to their diets.
Soy is also packed with soluble fiber. Fiber is often an overlooked nutrient, but is pretty important in the body. First, like the protein in soybeans, it helps to lower blood cholesterol. Additionally, it slows down the time it takes for food to leave the stomach, making you feel full longer. This can be key for somebody trying to lose weight.
The variety of soy foods available has greatly increased in the last few years. Soy nuts are a great snack and a great replacement to peanuts. They even come in unsalted varieties and can be snacked on right out of the bag with little guilt or stir them in as a healthy addition to trail mix. Another possibility is soy milk. This can be used in cereal or bought as ice cream and is a pretty easy substitution to make. Tofu is also made from soybeans. This meat substitute can be used in a variety of ways, from pastas to stir-fry.
Enjoy the soy!