The whole truth about soy

At the word “soy” most people startle, expecting the inevitable content of GMOs, the effect of which on the human body has not yet been clearly proven. Let’s take a closer look at what soy is, is it so dangerous, what are its advantages, what soy products are and what delicious can be cooked from them.

Soy is a plant of the legume family, unique in that it contains about 50% of complete protein. Soy is also called “plant-based meat”, and even many traditional athletes include it in their diet to get more protein. Growing soy is relatively inexpensive, so it is also used as animal feed. The main soybean producers are the USA, Brazil, India, Pakistan, Canada and Argentina, but the USA is definitely the leader among these countries. It is known that 92% of all soybeans grown in America contain GMOs, but the import of such soybeans to Russia is prohibited, and the permission to grow GMO soybeans in Russia has been postponed until 2017. According to the legislative acts of the Russian Federation, on the packaging of products sold on the shelves of supermarkets, there must be a mark on the content of GMOs if their number exceeds 0,9% (this is the amount that, according to scientific research, cannot have any significant effect on the human body). 

The benefits of soy products are a topic for a separate discussion. In addition to complete protein, which, by the way, is the basis of many post-workout drinks for athletes, soy contains many B vitamins, iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium. The undoubted advantage of soy products is also that they contain substances that reduce the level of “bad” cholesterol, and, as a result, reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.

In addition to genetic modification, there is another controversial issue regarding soy products. It concerns the effect of soy on the hormonal system. It is known that soy products contain isoflavones, which are similar in structure to the female hormone – estrogen. Scientists have proven the fact that soy products even contribute to the prevention of breast cancer. But men, on the contrary, are advised to use soy with caution so that there is no excess of female hormones. However, in order for the effect on the body of a man to be significant, many accompanying factors must coincide at the same time: overweight, low mobility, an unhealthy lifestyle in general.

There is another controversial issue regarding soy products: in many detox programs (for example, Alexander Junger, Natalia Rose), soy products are recommended to be excluded during the cleansing of the body, because soy is an allergen. Naturally, not everyone is allergic, and for some people who are allergic to dairy, for example, soy can be a lifesaver on the road to getting enough protein.

In order not to be unfounded, we present the data of the American Cancer Society. 1 cup of cooked soybeans contains:

125% of the daily requirement of tryptophan

71% of the daily requirement of manganese

49% of daily iron requirement

43% of the daily requirement of omega-3 acids

42% of the daily requirement of phosphorus

41% of daily fiber requirement

41% of the daily requirement of vitamin K

37% of the daily requirement of magnesium

35% of the daily requirement of copper

29% of the daily requirement of vitamin B2 (riboflavin)

25% of the daily requirement of potassium

How to decide on the variety of soy products and what to cook from them?

Let’s start with soy meat is a textured product made from soy flour. Soy meat is sold in dry form, it can be shaped like steak, goulash, beef stroganoff, and even soy fish has recently appeared on sale. Many beginner vegetarians love it because it’s the perfect substitute for meat. Others turn to meat substitutes when, for health reasons, doctors do not recommend eating heavy, fatty meats. However, soy itself (like all products from it) does not have a distinct taste. Therefore, soy meat is extremely important to cook properly. Before cooking soy slices, soak them in water to soften them. One option is to simmer the soy chunks in a deep frying pan with tomato paste, vegetables, a spoonful of sweetener (such as Jerusalem artichoke or agave syrup), salt, pepper, and your favorite spices. Another delicious recipe is to make an analogue of homemade teriyaki sauce by mixing soy sauce with a spoonful of honey and a handful of sesame seeds, and stew or fry soy meat in this sauce. Shish kebab from such soy pieces in teriyaki sauce is also wonderful: moderately sweet, salty and spicy at the same time.

Soy milk is another product derived from soybeans that can be a great alternative to cow’s milk. Soy milk can be added to smoothies, mashed soups, cook morning cereals on it, make wonderful desserts, puddings and even ice cream! In addition, soy milk is often additionally enriched with vitamin B12 and calcium, which cannot but please people who have excluded all animal products from their diet.

Soy sauce – perhaps the most famous and often used of all soy products. It is obtained by fermenting soybeans. And because of the high content of glutamic acid, soy sauce adds a special flavor to dishes. Used in Japanese and Asian cuisines.

Tofu or soy cheese. There are two types: smooth and hard. Smooth is used instead of soft mascarpone and philadelphia cheeses for desserts (like vegan cheesecake and tiramisu), hard is similar to regular cheese and can be used as a substitute for almost all dishes. Tofu also makes an excellent omelette, you just need to knead it into crumbs and fry it together with spinach, tomatoes and spices in vegetable oil.

Tempe – another type of soy products, not so common in Russian stores. It is also obtained by fermentation using a special fungal culture. There is evidence that these fungi contain bacteria that produce vitamin B12. Tempeh is most often cut into cubes and fried with spices.

Miso paste – another product of the fermentation of soybeans, used to make traditional miso soup.

Fuju or soy asparagus – this is the foam removed from soy milk during its production, popularly known as “Korean asparagus”. It can also be prepared at home. To do this, dry asparagus should be soaked in water for several hours, then drained into water, cut into pieces, add a spoonful of vegetable oil, pepper, salt, Jerusalem artichoke syrup, garlic (to taste).

Another, though not very common product in Russia – soy flour, i.e. ground dried soybeans. In America, it is often used to bake protein pancakes, pancakes, and other desserts.

In Europe and the US, soy protein isolate is also very popular in smoothies and shakes to saturate them with protein and minerals.

So, soy is a healthy product rich in protein, vitamins and minerals. However, if you are concerned about the content of GMOs in it, it is better to buy organic soy products from trusted suppliers.

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