Soy: The Good, the Bad and the Best

Soy products are growing in popularity in the United States. However, there are a few big controversies over soy. How safe is soy? And how much should you be eating?

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Edamame, or young green soybeans, are a great source of protein. Getting an adequate amount of protein in your diet can actually give your metabolism a boost. Just one half-cup serving of edamame provides 8 grams of protein – triple the amount of protein you’d get from most other vegetables. They steam in minutes and are perfect to eat as a snack or add to a salad. Try this fried rice dish made with edamame.

Other whole soy options include varieties like tempeh, miso and natto, made of fermented cooked soybeans. The fermentation allows nutrients to be more easily absorbed into the body, as fermented foods are brimming with good-for-your-belly probiotics, which help keep our gut flora healthy. 

Tempeh is a high-protein source of nutrients like vitamins B2, B6, and B3, and minerals magnesium, copper, iron, manganese, and phosphorous. In addition, it is a good source of monounsaturated fats.

Miso is rich in vitamin B12, which is a power player when it comes to metabolizing fats and carbohydrates. You can purchase miso pastes and soup in supermarkets. Be sure to purchase the low-sodium variety.

Natto is a sticky paste made by adding healthy bacteria to lightly cooked soybeans and fermenting. Natto is a powerful food rich in the enzyme nattokinase, which has been shown to reduce the risk of blood clots and help break up the plaque associated with Alzheimer’s disease. In Japan, people routinely enjoy natto for breakfast, served on top of rice with an egg split over it. You can find it at health food stories, Asian markets, or online.