Despite the fact that Soybeans have been enjoyed by millions of people over thousands of years, they are definitely a controversial food and are surrounded by debate with smart people on both sides. In traditional Asian cultures, the benefit is likely related to the specific forms of consumption – the whole food in moderation. Our Western diet tends to eat isolated components of Soybeans rather than the customary whole Soybeans, fermented tofu, tempeh, or miso. Let’s explore the ways that Soybeans can be beneficial.
One of the most well-researched foods, Soybeans are a main legume worldwide as a dietary mainstay in Japan, China, and Korea. Like other legumes, they are actually edible seeds of a plant and grow in pods. They can be utilized by a variety of methods and types of Soybeans include:
Edamame: These are fresh, green Soybeans that have been cooked inside the pod.
Tempeh: A meat substitute, this type originated in Indonesia. Soybeans are combined and cooked with a grain such as rice, barley or millet and and then fermented. The fermentation process binds the whole Soybeans into a cake form so that they can be prepared in many different ways. Tempeh has a high content of vitamins, fiber and protein.
Miso: This salty, fermented paste hails from Japan and is a combination of Soybeans and grain – either rice or barley. Miso paste can be used in salad dressings, stir fry, soups, and more!
Tofu: Often referred to as “Asian cheese,” the methods used to create tofu are quite similar to those used to make conventional cheese. Tofu is a calcium-rich, protein-dense food that is nourishing and inexpensive.
Soy milk: This beverage is a healthy alternative to dairy for vegans or those who are lactose intolerant. This plant-based drink is made by soaking dried Soybeans, grinding them with water, boiling the mixture, and then filtering out the residues.
Despite their great reputation worldwide, Soybeans are surrounded with health concerns. Here are three:
Those grown in the United States are from genetically modified seeds. While there are benefits to genetically modified Soybeans such as faster growth and resistance to harsh weather conditions, there may be long-term health consequences and side effects that cannot be predicted or pinpointed.
They are highly associated with allergic reactions. Genetic modification of a plant can create a new set of allergens and allergic responses in susceptible people. Again, it is difficult to pinpoint the source of these allergies.
They contain oxalates. Also called oxalic acids, these are naturally-occurring compounds commonly found in a wide variety of foods including spinach, rhubarb, and even chocolate. (Ouch!) They are neither rare nor totally undesirable but can become problematic when they over-accumulate in the body. Kidney stones can form due to supersaturation of the urine with oxalates and calcium. This is just one more reason to stay fully hydrated!
Soybeans can be beneficial, and it is essential to explore all angles if you choose to incorporate them into your diet, either in the whole form or as an ingredient in a purchased food. Protect your health by learning more about what truly will NOURISH LIFE. Enhance your joy and energy! START SOMEWHERE today to give your body more whole food. You can do it. I will help you.