Friday, November 30, 2012

Power Up and Slim Down With Soy

It's all in the bean! Guess what bean I'm talking about...
When I tell people that I love Tofu they always ask me "What is Tofu, anyway?" I'm not surprised that people don't know that Tofu is actually bean curd made with soybeans and was invented more than 2,000 years ago in China. Soy has been somewhat of a mystery to consumers, especially those that don't often veer from traditional American cuisine.

Soybeans also known as edamame and soy products such as Tofu or soy milk have made their way into mainstream grocery stores and restaurants. Soy-based products are a low-fat, cholesterol-free source of protein, which builds muscles, bones, skin, the antibodies that power your immune system and protect you from disease. They're also high in calcium, which builds healthy bones, teeth and can help prevent or decrease osteoporosis. If that isn't enough, this wonder bean has also been tied to weight loss.

A recent study published in the European Journal of Nutrition suggests that eating more soy can lower your body mass index. The body mass index is a health indicator that compares your weight to your height. I bet you're asking yourself, what type of soy should I buy? Here are my 3 rules:

1.Keep it Simple - The only soy products that go into my shopping cart are soy milk, tofu and whole soybeans. I try to avoid meat substitutes made of soy because they're usually heavily processed and often high in sodium. Firm tofu is a great substitute for meat in salads, stir-fries or sandwiches. Silken or soft tofu can substitute for dairy in dips, soups, sauces & even pudding. If you're trying silken tofu for the first time, I would recommend a 50/50 mixture, such as half yogurt, half tofu in a smoothie.

2.Reach for the whole soy - Look for the phrase "whole soybean" or "whole soy" on the label to make sure you're getting a product high in fiber. Fiber aids in digestion and helps maintain healthy cholesterol, blood glucose levels and other healthy nutrients. Whole soy has been linked in some studies to even help protect against some cancers.

3.Look for organic choices - Organic soy is free of toxins such as pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides and doesn't contain genetically modified organisms. Currently, genetically modified organisms have been studied for their possible link to food allergies.

I'd like to leave you with a healthy soy snack that you can try and I'll bet you'll be pleasantly surprised. Small Planet Tofu, why I love it! It's flavored with seasonings like green tea and lemon grass. Make it a meal by tossing baby greens with white balsamic vinegar, citrus juice; top with chilled wild rice, green tea tofu and sliced almonds. There you have it a little about soy! Hope this helps you discover a new healthy ingredient.

Hope you enjoyed and learned how you can bring the miraculous soy bean into your diet!

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