example, the soybean is a leading source of edible oil, which is
low in saturated fat (about 15 percent) and high in
polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (85 percent). High levels
of saturated fats are associated with coronary heart disease. In
addition, soy oil is a good source of vitamin E, also thought to
be beneficial to the heart.
protein, which Rinker says would be a good replacement for some of
the animal protein in the American diet, can help lower LDL (the
"bad" cholesterol) without lowering HDL (the
"good" cholesterol). This also promotes a healthier
foods are high in isoflavones, a phytochemical found in plants.
The isoflavones in soy have a chemical structure similar to
estrogen. Populations that consume plenty of soy foods have lower
incidences of breast, colon and prostate cancers, possibly because
of the effects of these estrogen phytochemicals and other
cancer-fighting agents found in soy. The role of isoflavones in
preventing osteoporosis (bone loss) is also being studied.
also show that Asian women, who consume an average of 25 to 45 mg
of isoflavones per day (with Japanese women having the highest
consumption, about 200 mg), report fewer symptoms of menopause
than North American women, who consume only about 5 mg of
isoflavones daily. Japanese women also have lower rates of
osteoporosis and heart disease and a longer life expectancy.
Rinker warns, women taking estrogen or other medications should
not stop taking these medications just because they are eating soy
foods, without first consulting their physicians.
has incorporated soy foods into the diet of her own family, a
husband and three teenagers, making sure they get at least one
serving a day. Although it would take three or four servings to
reach the Asian level of 35 to 45 mg, she thinks even one serving
can promote better health.
foods are not highly advertised items in most supermarkets, but
more and more of them are becoming available.
also known as soybean curd, is a soft, cheese-like food that can
come in several types. A firm, solid type can be used in stir-fry
or on the grill. Soft tofu, found in most groceries, is easily
blended into sauces or other dishes. Tofu is very bland and will
take on the flavor of whatever it added to it, either spicy or
sweet. It is high in B-vitamins and iron and low in sodium. Tofu
is usually found in the produce section.
milk is also found in many groceries. A creamy product with a
nutty flavor, it can be used over cereal or as a drink like
regular milk. It can be mixed with milk, made into milkshakes and
used to make pancakes, soups, and sauces that are low in saturated
fat and cholesterol-free. It is sold both refrigerated (found in
the dairy case) and non-refrigerated.
1929 soy milk has been given to babies who could not tolerate cows’
milk, and it is still used in place of milk and eggs for people
who have food allergies. Rinker sometimes uses it in the diet of
hospital patients who need protein and calories but are sensitive
to cows’ milk. However, Rinker warns, a few people can become
allergic to soy. Symptoms would be a rash, burning and tingling
around the mouth or tongue, and flushing of the face. If these
symptoms appear, stop using the soy product.
oil is the most frequently consumed oil in the United States, but
often it is not labeled as soy. Rinker says that in the past, soy
wasn’t thought of as a high-quality food, and if a product had
"soy" prominently displayed on the label, people would
avoid it. Today much of the oil labeled "vegetable oil"
is largely soy oil, but consumers must read the labels to be sure.
Soy oil is also used in many margarine-type spreads, but again it
is necessary to read the label. Non-dairy coffee creamers,
margarine, sandwich spreads and salad dressing may also be high in
(To top of
product becoming readily available in grocery stores is vegetable
patties, called veggieburgers or hamburger substitutes. Made with soy
protein and vegetables, these "burgers" can be popped into
the microwave and served on a bun. Much lower in fat than the meat
products they replace, they are found in the freezer section and come
in a variety of flavors. Soy "sausages" are also available
Kroger and the Eagle stores in Lincoln offer these soy products, and
Kroger offers a cheese substitute made with soy, found in the produce
section with the tofu. Other soy products, however, are harder to find
and will require a trip to a health food store.
popular soy product in the Rinker household is TSP, textured soy
protein, which Rinker calls "soy crumbles." It is low in
moisture and has a long shelf life, so it can be kept in a sealed
container on the shelf for several months. When it is reconstituted
with water, it has a texture similar to ground beef. It can be used to
replace part or all of the ground beef in almost any recipe.
I was surprised my kids would eat TSP, but they prefer it to hamburger
in spaghetti sauce and chili," Rinker says. "It has none of
the saturated fat of hamburger but has a nice crunch to it."
soybeans for use in recipes calling for dried beans, and roasted
soynuts that can be eaten as snacks, are also available in health food
stores, along with soy flour. Soy flour is higher in protein than
wheat flour and is used in many products by the food industry.
However, it has no gluten, so cannot replace all the flour used in
yeast breads, and it must be refrigerated.
crumbles, soy milk and soynuts are the easiest foods to incorporate
into the American diet, Rinker says. "Americans don’t cook like
Asians do. We have to find quick and easy ways to do things."
she warns, quick and easy does not mean taking soy supplements.
"We won’t get the full benefits of soy simply by taking a pill.
It has been proven that supplements are not as effective as whole
foods, probably because there are other healthful substances in soy
that have not yet been discovered."
She suggests using soy crumbles as a substitute for ground meat and
making "smoothies" with soy milk. "Smoothies" are
drinks made in a blender by mixing a milk-type product with fresh or
frozen fruit. A good substitute for the traditional high-cholesterol
Alfredo sauce can be made with a package of soft tofu, two tablespoons
soy oil, grated parmesan and romano cheeses, and spices such as dried
parley, onion powder, garlic, basil and pepper. Blend for about a
minute, heat and serve over fettuccine noodles.
soy products are available in two health food stores in the area. Food
Fantasies at 1512 W. Wabash in Springfield has all kinds of soy
products, according to manager Stu Kainste, including soy pudding, soy
ice cream, soy chili, soy butter (like peanut butter) and soy
cookbooks. Common Grounds at 516 N. Main St., Bloomington, also has a
variety of soy products, including TSP, dried soynuts and soy protein
information about soy products and recipes can by found at the United
Soybean Board Web site, www.soyfoods.com/.
To go directly to soy recipes, use www.soyfoods.com/recipes/index.html.