JOY OF SOY | Recipes, Cooking Tips and Health Benefits
In this 5th edition Issue:
Soybean Oil Basics
Soybean oil’s light, golden appearance and neutral flavor make it an ideal ingredient for many types of cooking. Most “vegetable oil” is actually soybean oil – just check the ingredients listed on the product label to be sure.
Soybean Oil and the Good Fats
Unsaturated fats are found in soybean oil, and when they replace saturated fats, they can lower both total and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. A serving of soybean oil contains 3 grams of monounsaturated fat and 8 grams of polyunsaturated fat.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Soybean oil is one of the few non-fish sources of omega-3s, and is the principal source in the U.S. diet. These polyunsaturated fatty acids lower blood cholesterol levels and help to prevent heart disease.
Soybean Oil and the Bad Fats
Saturated fats tend to raise LDL cholesterol, and therefore increase the risk of heart disease. Soybean oil contains just 2 grams of saturated fat per serving.
Produced during the hydrogenation process to make a more stable, solid fat for food products, trans fats elevate “bad” LDL cholesterol and lead to increased risk of heart disease. Liquid soybean oil contains zero grams of trans fats per serving.
Building Blocks of Soy
Soy is a complete protein and soybeans are rich in some vitamins and minerals including folate, potassium and, in some cases, fiber. Most soyfoods, such as tofu and soymilk, are relatively low in saturated fat and contain zero grams of trans fat (the “bad” fats), and they’re cholesterol-free.
Traditional soyfoods contain natural compounds called isoflavones that, although different from the hormone estrogen, exert a mild estrogen-like effect under certain conditions. Isoflavones may play a role in a number of soy’s proposed health benefits.
Research suggests that soyfoods may reduce the risk of a number of chronic diseases. Always consult your healthcare provider before making a change in medical treatment.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a health claim for soy protein and coronary heart disease. It states that 25 grams of soy protein per day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may decrease the risk of heart disease.
A science advisory from the American Heart Association concluded that omega-6 fatty acids found in soybean oil may decrease risk for heart disease. The advisory recommends Americans aim for 5 to 10% of their daily calories from omega-6s.
Research suggests just 1 to 2 daily servings of soyfoods during childhood and/or adolescence may reduce breast cancer risk during adulthood up to 50%.
Evidence indicates that men who eat soyfoods daily are less likely to develop prostate cancer than those who do not.
A new large-scale statistical analysis, published in Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Association, concluded that soy isoflavones reduce menopausal hot flash frequency and severity by approximately 50%.
Osteoporosis is a condition of decreased bone mass leading to fragile bones that are at increased risk for fracture. As a rich source of high-quality protein, vitamin D and well-absorbed calcium, fortified soymilk and calcium-set tofu (for example) can help promote bone health. Epidemiologic (or observational) studies have found soy intake is associated with a reduced risk of hip fracture.
A healthful diet is important at all stages of childhood and encourages healthy eating practices for a lifetime. This includes heart-healthy protein sources such as soyfoods that provide high-quality protein and are low in saturated fat. Furthermore, exciting research suggests consuming soy as a child and/or teenager may help girls lower their breast cancer risk later in life.
Where to Find the Research
Want to read the scientific findings for yourself? We cite journal references throughout our technical materials published for health professionals. See the United Soybean Board’s series of fact sheets – on women’s health, men’s health, children’s health, heart health and myths versus facts.
Simple Soy Tips from a USB Dietitian
Use soyfoods in a variety of ways to reap the benefits of this nutrient-dense powerhouse:
- Add to homemade trail mix
- Sprinkle on top of salads
- Add crunch to any dish
- Whole pods as a quick protein-filled snack (sprinkle with spices)
- Shelled as a topping for salads and pastas
- Puree and incorporate into hummus, guacamole or other dips
- In your morning coffee or latté
- Blended with seasonal fruit for a smoothie
- In pancakes, crepes or waffles
- Combine with lean meats and veggies for a quick stir-fry
- Grill and combine with veggies for kebabs
- Add thin grilled slices to a veggie sandwich
- Purée into rich-tasting dips and dressings
- Add seasonings for cracker spreads
- Puree into tasty desserts such as pudding or fruit parfait
- Infuse with herbs and garlic and use for dipping bread and dressing pasta
- Whisk with seasonings for homemade salad dressings and marinades
- Sauté veggies
- Use in sauces and dressings
- Add to soups
- Use in patés
- Crumble and add to spaghetti or chili
- Crumble and use for tacos
- Use in sauces