You may have heard that soy is bad for you. I definitely believed that, but as a new vegan, it can be challenging to avoid. Until recently, I tried to limiting my soy consumption to once or twice a week. But I was excited to learn that all soy is not harmful. Actually despite getting negative news headlines for years, new studies indicate that eating ‘good soy’ has many health benefits.
I recently interviewed nutritionist, author and long time vegan, Tracye McQuirter for The Vegan Sexy Cool Podcast (that can’t miss episode will post soon). Among the many jewels she shared during our conversation, was a lesson on good soy vs bad soy. I asked her about to share her thoughts on soy since I had heard conflicting opinions about whether it is bad for you.
McQuirter told me that the soy we need to avoid is heavily processed soy foods, which means it is void of nutrients and likely loaded with harmful additives and has no health benefits. In addition, McQuirter points out these types of soy products can also be difficult to digest. Soy foods you want to avoid include many imitation meats such as hotdogs, hamburgers, as well as protein bars, many (but not all vegan cheeses), etc…. mostly found in grocery stories. All soy milk is not created equal, so best to check labels to avoid unhealthy ingredients.
The good soy is soy that is considered whole food or organic… basically soy foods that are as close to the original form. Products like organic tofu, edamame, miso and tempeh fall into this category. The benefits of the good soy includes decreased risk of heart disease, some forms of cancer, and other chronic diseases. Good soy is also high in protein, cholesterol free, low in saturated fat and is full of health amino acids. And ladies, studies show soy can help with hot flashes and fertility.
So if you are looking for a healthy and delicious way to get more protein into your diet, let go of the fear and dig into some good soy. Tofu has become one of my favorite foods and it comforts me to know all the benefits that come with it.