Should You be Adding More Soy to Your Diet?

Casey Berglund, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for Dietitians of Canada, gives us the lowdown on soy and why we should be adding it to our diet

Should You be Adding More Soy to Your Diet?


What makes soy a nutritional choice?

Soybeans are high in protein. Three-quarters of a cup of cooked soybeans contains as much protein as half a cup of cooked meat, chicken or fish. Soy is higher in fat than other legumes. However, the fats are mainly healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids. Soy is also a source of important minerals, such as calcium and iron. Research shows that soy may be beneficial in the prevention of heart disease and breast cancer.

How can women incorporate more soy into their diets?

I would recommend starting with whole soybeans, tofu and/or a soy beverage. Soy can be added to salads, soups, smoothies or pasta dishes. Green soybeans, or edamame in the shell, can be steamed and eaten alone as an appetizer or snack. Tofu can replace meat in vegetable stir-fries, soups and pasta sauces. Soy beverages are great to drink on their own, in smoothies, over cereal or in cooking and baking. Choose a plain fortified soy beverage that has at least seven grams of protein per cup.

Can you substitute soy for other items in your favourite recipes?

Silken (soft) tofu works well for preparing smooth sauces, like alfredo sauce for pasta, or dips for veggies and crackers. It can be blended with savoury ingredients to create a delicious soup or combined with sweet ingredients to make a creamy dessert, such as "cheesecake." Tofu also works well in smoothies – it has a very neutral flavour, so it takes on whatever flavour it’s paired with.