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Popular, health-conscious soyfoods for consideration
Soyfoods provide a host of health benefits. Before including more soyfoods in your diet, speak with your physician about safe ways to make such a transition.

There’s more than one way to get to most destinations. If the end of the line is a fitter, healthier version of yourself, then a journey that involves consumption of soyfoods may help you get there.

The United States Soybean Export Council notes that the majority of fat in soybeans is unsaturated. That’s a feather in the cap of soyfoods compared to animal-based foods, which typically contain significant amounts of saturated fats. The American Heart Association notes saturated fats are sometimes called “solid fats” because they are typically solid at room temperature. When consumed regularly and/or in significant quantities, these types of fats can wreak havoc on cholesterol levels and increase individuals’ risk for heart disease.

Individuals who want to utilize diet to help them realize their health and wellness goals can consider making the following popular soyfoods staples of their daily diets.

Edamame: Edamame can be added to a host of popular dishes, including stir fry, soup and pasta salad. The Illinois Soybean Association notes that edamame also can make for a simple, tasty snack on its own. The ISA recommends adding a sprinkling of the Mexican spice Tajin to enhance the flavor profile of edamame.

Tofu: The sight of tofu makes some people think of a block of cheese, and that’s not necessarily a bad comparison. Though tofu is made from soy, not dairy, it is condensed soymilk pressed into a block, which is perhaps why it so closely resembles a block of cheese. Tofu has a heart-healthy reputation, as a 2020 study published in the journal Circulation found that people who ate at least one serving of tofu per week had an 18 percent lower risk for heart disease compared to those who rarely ate tofu.

Tempeh: The ISA notes tempeh is a traditional Indonesian dish that is typically made with soybeans. Tempeh is a good source of protein, making it a strong option for people who aspire to get healthy and pivot away from animal-based diets that typically provide ample protein. WebMD reports that tempeh is cholesterol-free and a good source of B vitamins, fiber, iron, and calcium. Some people find tempeh a bit bland on their first encounter, so incorporating it into flavorful dishes like tacos or lasagna can make it more palatable.

Miso: The United Soybean Board notes miso is a paste made from fermented soybeans, water, salt, and culinary mold known as koji. Miso has a lengthy history in Japan, but it’s increasingly accessible on western menus and in grocery stores as well. A 2019 study published in the journal Hypertension Research found that long-term intake of miso decreases nighttime blood pressure in subjects with high-normal blood pressure or stage I hypertension. Miso is often utilized in salad dressings, sauces and marinades, so it can be a good way to make foods like salad and roasted vegetables more flavorful.