Soya products (e.g. beancurd, tempeh and soya milk) belong to the meat and alternatives food group and this food group provides protein, which is an essential nutrient that serves numerous functions. Protein generally comes from two sources - plant and animal. Plant sources of protein (e.g. bean and lentils) are generally considered to be incomplete as they lack one essential amino acid. However, Soya are considered by many agencies to be a source of complete protein. A complete protein is one that contains significant amounts of all the essential amino acids that must be provided to the human body because of the body's inability to synthesize them. For this reason, soy is a good source of protein, amongst many others, for vegetarians and vegans or for people who want to reduce the amount of meat they eat.
Current scientific evidence has shown that soya consumption has a positive benefit on blood lipids level. Soya intake appears to have a small benefit on low density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride levels, both of which may increase the risk of heart disease at high levels. In the case of cancer, most studies observed that soy intake is linked to a lower risk of certain cancers, but more studies are needed to reach conclusion.
Given the above findings, do not just forget about eating soya products as they are still good for overall health and should be part of a healthy balanced diet. In general, soya products are:
- Lower in saturated fat as compared to meat.
- Cholesterol free.
- A source of good fats: Non-Saturated Fat
- Lactose free and hence people who are lactose intolerant can consume it without any undesirable symptoms (e.g. diarrhoea).
- Good source of calcium.
- A source of isoflavones, which is an antioxidant that may be beneficial for the body.
Soya products can be incorporated in your diet in many ways.
You can try:
- Replacing milk with beverage containing soybean.
- Replacing coconut milk with unsweetened soya milk to reduce the bad fat content while boosting the good fat content of your dish.
- Consume food bar containing soybean.
- Soy beancurb with less sugar syrup as a dessert.