Today’s health-conscious society has fully embraced soy foods, many of which have been a staple in Japanese cuisine for much longer than Americans have been enjoying them. In fact, you might not even be completely aware of the wide variety of foods that come from a single source: the humble soybean.
It’s hard to believe that such a small bean can be turned into so many different tasty and healthy foods. But it’s true. With this list of foods made from soy and why they are good for you, you’ll quickly learn how versatile the soybean truly is.
Health Benefits of Soy
For starters, pure soy foods are high in nutritional value. As a plant-based source of the essential eight amino acids craved by the human body, as well as fiber, B Vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids and calcium, it is beneficial for everyone. The many healthful compounds in soy also help to reduce the risk and alleviate many symptoms of various maladies and serious diseases. One particular dish made from soy and likely responsible for the great health of residents of Japan is miso.
Miso soup is a common dish served in Japanese restaurants, appearing as a simple broth with a few additions like wakame seaweed and tofu. The broth is made with miso paste, which is produced by cooking a mixture of soybeans, salt, a fermenting agent, barley or rice, and other ingredients depending upon the type of miso being made.
White and red miso pastes are the most common. You can use miso paste to make marinades, or to mix with stir-fried vegetables and other dishes.
Miso is high in iron, magnesium, zinc and riboflavin, and also contains protein and dietary fiber. It is very flavorful, and so only a small amount of miso paste is needed to enhance a dish.
Tofu is made from curdled soy milk, and variations of the procedure used to make tofu produce different varieties, ranging from a very soft, silky texture to a hard, crumbly block.
It is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a vast number of ways. You can enjoy it as is insoups, stir-fries and other dishes. Tofu contains protein, is rich in iron and calcium, and is low carb and low fat.
Soy milk is made from ground soybeans, water and a sweetener. It is lactose-free, making it an excellent choice for those sensitive to dairy products. It is low calorie, low carb and low fat, and high in various minerals. What’s more, it can work as a substitute for regular milk.
Soy flour is made from ground, roasted soybeans and can be used as a substitute for regular flour. Most packages of soy flour will contain instructions on the proper amounts needed to substitute for regular flour.
And, of course, there is soy sauce. You can use it in all manner of dishes and marinades, or simply as a dipping sauce. Soy sauce is created from fermenting soybeans and mixing them with a salty brine. However, unfortunately, soy sauce doesn’t contain the many healthful and nutritional properties inherent in other soy products.