Weighing the Health Benefits of Soy: Sources of Soy

Martha Stewart Living, October 2002

Soy may be a somewhat divisive ingredient in the medical community, but its protein and isoflavones are proven to enrich one's diet when consumed in the proper proportion. Soy has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer and decrease the probability of osteoporosis in women. Furthermore, regular soy ingestion is a heart-healthy choice due to the bean's ability to lower cholesterol. Soy additionally has demonstrated an ability to lower the risk of prostate cancer  in men. However, certain studies have revealed that isoflavones possess the potential to bolster estrogen fabrication, and therefore poses a risk to women who have been through menopause. Research suggests that the key to properly consuming soy is eating natural soy sources as opposed to synthetic protein powders or supplements. Eating soy in amounts up to 50 grams is thought to be quite healthy and helpful to one's general well being. 


If you do choose to include soy in your daily diet, it is important to remember that soybeans yield a number of toothsome and tasty food products. Tofu isn't the only way to add soy protein and isoflavones to your diet, and it isn't even the soy food with the highest concentration of these healthful substances. Soy is also a wonderful source of rich and dynamic flavor. Read on for the protein and isoflavone measurements in a number of common soy products. 


10 g protein and 25 mg isoflavones per half-cup serving


Soy Milk (plain, unfortified)
7 g protein and 10 mg isoflavones per one-cup serving


Soy Yogurt
7 g protein and 10 mg isoflavones per one-cup serving


2 g protein and 7 mg isoflavones per one-tablespoon serving


Black Soybeans
9 g protein and 40 mg isoflavones per half-cup serving


Green Soybeans (Edamame)
11 g protein and 50 mg isoflavones per half-cup serving


Yellow Soybeans
14 g protein and 78 mg isoflavones per half-cup serving


16 g protein and 53 mg isoflavones per half-cup serving


Textured Soy Protein
11 g protein and 33 mg isoflavones per quarter-cup serving


Soy Nuts
22 g protein and 45 mg isoflavones per half-cup serving


2 g protein and about 4 mg isoflavones per one-tablespoon serving


Once you've determined which sources of soy best suit your diet and lifestyle, test-drive some of our best soybean recipes. From savory to sweet and grilled to broiled, there is a soy recipe to suit every appetite. Who doesn't love a throat-soothing soup or a thirst-quenching smoothie?


Crispy Sesame Tofu

Sesame seeds and broccoli enhance the soy flavor of tofu in this simple recipe.


Broiled Black-Pepper Tofu

Broiled tofu, tamari, and black pepper form a complex flavor profile in this broiled dish.


Kimchi Stew with Chicken and Tofu

A flavorful kimchi stew is enriched with the addition of chicken and tofu.


Miso Soup with Tofu and Kale

A throat-soothing soup of tofu and kale provides immeasurable benefits during the chilly winter months.


Soba Noodles with Tofu, Avocado, and Snow Peas

Vegetarians and omnivores alike will adore this well-rounded one-dish wonder. 


Avocado-Pear Smoothie

Refreshing pear and decadent avocado blend beautifully with silken tofu in this smoothie recipe.


Marinated Tofu with Cold Peanut Noodles

Rich coconut-peanut sauce and whole wheat soba noodles meld beautifully with marinated tofu in this delectable interpretation of pad thai.


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