Is Soy Good or Bad for You?

With more Americans exploring a plant-based diet to improve their overall health and the health of the planet, soy-based foods such as tofu, edamame, soy milk, miso and meat substitutes like tempeh are becoming more popular and no longer relegated to health-food stores. Few products are as nutritionally beneficial as unprocessed forms of soy when you are following a plant-forward diet. It is a complete source of protein and contains all nine essential amino acids, which your body cannot produce and must get from food. For vegans, vegetarians and those who just are veg-curious, unprocessed soy is a protein-packed way to replace meat and dairy. That said, there is a lot of conflicting info out there that may make you question just how good soy actually is for you. Let’s sit back with a nice glass of soy milk and a slice of tofu-based peanut butter pie and discuss.

How Nutritious is Soy? For the most part, you can dig into your stir-fried tofu and sip that soy latte without worry. “Soy is an excellent source of plant-based protein and fiber. It’s low in saturated fat and can provide a more economical way to eat a balanced diet,” says Amy Fischer, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.N, a registered dietitian at the Good Housekeeping Institute. “It’s a complete protein and is a rich source of B vitamins, fiber, potassium and magnesium, among others. It also contains isoflavones (plant estrogens), which recent research indicates, may reduce the risk of breast cancer in pre- and post-menopausal women, and it may improve bone health,” adds Fischer.

“Soybeans provide a slew of vitamins and minerals crucial for reducing the risk of chronic disease; and fiber that helps you fill up and feel satisfied,” adds Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN author of Dressing on the Side (and Other Diet Myths Debunked).

Excerpted from Good Housekeeping

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