SOY Deliciousness, Packed Up in a Pod
Few foods pack a nutritional punch quite like that of the humble soybean. Calorie for calorie, soy is one of the richest dietary sources of complete protein, unsaturated fats, fiber, B-vitamins, folic acid, potassium, calcium, zinc, and iron.
The fat found in soy is mostly unsaturated and is 100% cholesterol-free, and soy is the only plant food that offers a complete protein (meaning that it contains all the essential amino acids that the body can't produce).
Soy protein lowers tryglycerides, reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol, and raises HDL (good) cholesterol. In fact, soy is one of the few foods that selectively reduces LDL cholesterol. Much of the cholesterol-lowering effect of soy has been attributed not only to the soy protein, but also to the fiber and soy phytonutrients (called isoflavones) that work along with acids in the intestines to remove cholesterol from the body. In 1999, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration supported this claim and allowed food labels to promote soy as part of a heart healthy diet.
Another heart-healthy feature of soy is the type of oil the soybean contains. Soy oil is over 80 percent unsaturated fatty acids, and soybean oil contains the heart-healthy essential omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Soy contains cancer-fighting phytonutrients, the most prominent of which is genistein, which has been shown to have anti-cancer properties.
Because they have a very low glycemic index, soybeans are slow to trigger an insulin response, providing a more stable blood sugar with fewer mood swings from high and low blood sugars.
Last but not least, like other legumes, soy is a terrific source of bone and blood-building calcium and iron.
Beyond the practical and nutritional virtues of soy, it also happens to have a great flavor profile and texture similar to dairy milk – with none of the lactose or dairy allergy baggage. There are so many reasons that soy is a powerful replacement for dairy products!