If you just know Tofu as a healthy soy product, then this post is meant for you. While we all know that soy and soy products are good for health, we are not aware about the long list of products that contain soy and are easily available. Several food alternatives that contain soy have become quite popular these days. Here are some of soy products that you can include in your diet for good health.
1. Soy Milk
One of the most common soy products that tastes as good as milk is Soy milk. To prepare soy milk, soybeans are soaked first. Then, they are grounded finely and finally strained to prepare soybean milk or soy milk. Experts recommend unfortified soy milk to people who are lactose intolerant for its excellent source of protein as well as B Vitamins. Many brands even offer fortified soy milk for added benefits. Soy milk does not require refrigeration till it is opened. It stays good for 12 months without refrigeration. However, the only drawback is that plain soy milk does not offer the goodness of calcium and vitamin D.
2. Soy Sauce
If your weekend dinner is incomplete without soy sauce, then you are in for a healthy surprise. Soy sauce is prepared from fermented soybeans using salt and water. There are several varieties of soy sauce available these days which include light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, low sodium soy sauce, tamari and many others.
The variety depends upon the type of ingredients and method used to prepare the sauce as well as the region where it is being prepared. For instance, Tamari comes from Japan and is sans any grain, giving a unique flavor. While soy sauce is high in sodium, it is also a rich source of protein, antioxidants as well as isoflavones and small quantity of fiber.
3. Textured Soy Protein
You might not be aware of textured soy protein, but you very well know about soya chunks, soya granules, soya slices, soya flakes, bits or even crumbles. Well, all these are varieties of textured soya protein. If you are looking for protein-rich foods, then textured soy protein will be apt for you as it is at least fifty percent protein.
It is a rich source of not only soy protein but also dietary fiber and isoflavones as well. It even contains essential amino acids that are required for growth.
Textured soy protein does not contain any fat or cholesterol and is low on sodium. It is recommended for its benefits like prevention of heart ailments.
If you are fond of some particular soups and are not aware of the reason why they taste better, then hunt for the ingredients. They might contain Miso. Miso is a flavorful sweet paste that is prepared through fermented soybeans. It is used to enrich soups, marinades, dressings and even dips.
They are available in several flavors, colours and aromas. It is a rich source of beneficial enzymes, phytochemicals and even bacteria that aid digestion and keep the gut healthy. There are three main types of miso available viz. barley miso, straight soybean miso and rice miso. The different colours of miso are white miso, yellow miso, red miso and hatcho miso.
5. Soy Flour
Full of protein, dietary fibers, isoflavones, bio-active components along with iron, potassium as well as B vitamins, Soy Flour is considered to be quite healthy. Soy flour comes from ground soybeans. If you fond of baked goods, then add soy flour for extra moisture. Soy flour even helps in reducing the fat that is absorbed in many fried foods. In addition, this flour is gluten-free.
6. Soy Dairy Free Products
There are a range of dairy free products prepared from soy. They are dairy alternatives like cheese alternatives, soy sour cream, soy yogurt, soy cream cheese as well as frozen soy milk desserts. The highlight of these products is that they are free of lactose and even milk protein. The good news is that these products are rich in essential fatty acids. With no cholesterol, they also offer protein, potassium, dietary fiber, B vitamins, iron, and isoflavones. These dairy alternatives are prepared from soymilk or tofu or a combination, depending upon the product.
7. Soy Nut Butter
If you are fond of peanut butter, but are worried about fat present in it, try soy nut butter. Prepared from fresh roasted whole soybeans, soy nut butter is very close to peanut butter, both in taste and texture. However, unlike peanut butter, soy nut butter is less on fat and free of cholesterol. This nut butter is high in soy protein and offers all the essential amino acids.
To prepare tempeh, whole soybeans are first thoroughly cleaned. They are then boiled and dehulled. After several processed, they are fermented for tempeh. Tempeh is essentially a tender white cake that is prepared of cooked soybeans. At times, even legumes, seeds and grains are added along with soybeans to give a different flavor and texture. In taste, it is chewy and tender.
Tempeh can be cooked easily and quickly and can be used to prepare a variety of dishes using different methods. Tempeh is high on soy protein and dietary fibers. Along with this, it is a rich source of potassium, iron, isoflavones, saponins, and folic acid as well.
Soybean curd or tofu is a widely popular soybean product. Tofu is available in superstores as smoked, crumbled, baked or marinated. There are several ways to use tofu in meals. It is an excellent addition to several cuisines. To prepare tofu, soybeans are first washed, soaked and then grinded in water. The slurry is then filtered to give soymilk which is then further processed using coagulants to give tofu. This soy product is high on iron and protein. Several brands fortify tofu to make it healthier.
10. Whole Soybeans
Whole soybeans are used in stews, soups as well as sauces. They can be used in several ways. Whole soybeans are available in several varieties like dried yellow soybeans, dry soybeans, edamame, black soybeans and roasted soybeans. They all taste different and are widely popular. If you happen to use fresh soybeans, you need to soak them before cooking. They are a rich source of soy protein, dietary fiber, folic acid, isoflavones, potassium and other vitamins and minerals.
If you happen to be a vegan or a vegetarian, then stock on soy products for a healthy intake of protein. They are easily available, easy to prepare and benefits your health as well. I am heading to superstore, should I get you some soy products for your dinner?
Do you like to have Soy and Soy products in your daily routine? Share your views in the comments section.