About Healthy Diet Foods Sources of Soybean(s), Soy Protein, Edamame, Tofu, Tempeh, Miso and Soy Milk

Soy is a subtropical plant in the pea family and is a very common food source in Asian diets. The seeds of this plant are “high in protein” legumes known as soybeans or edamame.

Soybean protein is a healthy diet substitute for animal protein, because it offers your body a “complete” protein with less saturated fat. Complete proteins contain all the amino acids essential for healthy nutrition.

Dietary sources of soybeans come in various forms, including:

  • raw
  • nuts
  • cooked
  • ground
  • additives
  • fermented

Fermentation techniques prepares the soy to be in a more easily digestible forms, such as:

  • miso
  • tempeh

Today, the most common diet food sources of soy protein are:

  • Tofu ~ cooked soybeans processed into a custard-like firm, soft or silken textured cake, having a neutral flavor it can be used in stir-fries, mixed into smoothies, used in dips or as a cheese substitute.
  • Soymilk ~ ground soybeans and water forming a milk-like liquid, which can be consumed as is or a recipe substitute for milk, sometimes fortified with calcium, comes in a variety of flavors, good dairy product replacement for lactose intolerance.
  • Soy flour ~ ground roasted soybeans adds protein to baked goods, in cereals, pancake mixes, frozen desserts, etc.
  • Textured soy protein ~ defatted soy flour, which is compressed and dehydrated, used as a meat substitute or as filler in dishes.
  • Tempeh ~ whole, cooked, fermented soybeans formed into a chewy cake, used as a meat substitute.
  • Miso ~ fermented soybean paste used for seasoning and soup stock.

Soy is considered safe for most people when consumed as part of a healthy diet in its natural soybean food form. In some, these legumes have been reported to cause food allergy reactions (rarely) or minor stomach and bowel problems, such as:

  • nausea
  • bloating
  • constipation

Edamame are young green soybeans, that taste sweeter and have a nuttier flavor than the matured soybean legumes. Although mature soybeans contain a higher amount of protein and other healthy nutrients, edamame may taste to you a whole lot better!

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