Jack, a Beanstalk, and The Benefits of Soy By Dena Harris
What if Jack had traded the family cow in for soybeans instead of giant beanstalk seeds? His conversation with his mother might have gone more like this...
A Brief History
Native to Manchuria and Japan, the first
written documentation of the soybean is said found in a Chinese book
dating back to 2838 B.C. It has been a staple in the Asian diet for
centuries, and is thought responsible for the lower rates of cancer and
menopausal symptoms found in Asian people.
How It Works
Soy has over a 40% protein content and contains compounds called “isoflavones” that mimic the effect of natural estrogens. Soy is high in omega 3 fatty acids, which prevent blood clotting and lower cholesterol, and the complex carbohydrates found in soy don’t raise blood sugar levels as much as processed carbohydrates. In addition, the high fiber and antioxidants found in soybeans work to prevent gastro-intestinal disorders and cancers.
Who Can Benefit From Eating More Soy?
The quick answer is everyone. But certain individuals may find more advantages.
• The Lactose Intolerant – Soy milk is dairy free (some soy cheeses may contain milk proteins).
• Diabetics – Soy milk especially is recommended for diabetics because it contains no cholesterol and has a low glycemic index.
• Vegetarians – Soy is a prime source of protein in a vegetarian diet.
• Menopausal Women – In Japan, where soy food is eaten on a daily basis, women are only 1/3 as likely to report problems with menopause as women living in the U.S.
• Men – Studies have shown eating soy as part of regular diet have lessened the likelihood of both prostate and colon cancer in men.
How To Fit Soy Into Your Diet
The FDA recommends Americans integrate 25 grams of soy protein per day into their diets. Broken down into four servings per day, that means each helping must contain 6.25 grams of protein. Here are some quick and easy ways to add soy to your diet.
• Replace ¼ of regular flour with soy flour when baking.
• Drink soy milk. There are approximately eight grams of protein in one cup of soy milk. Soy milk comes in many flavors including plain, vanilla, and chocolate, and can be used in recipes, on cereal, in coffee and milkshakes or drunk by itself. Many people prefer to make their own soy milk and choose only the additives they want.
• Substitute soy burgers and hotdogs for beef. Use meatless soy crumbles in sauces, meatloaf, tacos, or wherever you might use ground hamburger.
• Munch on roasted soy nuts or edamame (high protein, large green soybeans). 1/5 cup of soy nuts provides 12 grams of protein, and a ½ cup serving of boiled and salted edamame seeds provide 11 grams.
• Indulge in a chocolate soy bar.
• Try replacing peanut butter with soy nut butter.
• Experiment with some tasty soy recipes that would best suit your palate.
Easy Does It
The taste of some soy products may take
some getting used to; others are delicious right off the bat. The trick
to successfully introducing soy to your diet is to begin gradually.
Also, there’s no reason to go overboard and use only soy. With the
recommended twenty-five grams a day, however, you’ll be able to
congratulate yourself for taking a tasty step toward a healthier you.