Soy is a type of legume. It is also often called the chicken of the vegetarians due to its fleshy, meaty and succulent taste. It is often further processed into many other types of products which are then called Soy Products.
There are many types of soy products available in the market and are appreciated by major population.
The soy protein which is contained in these products is highly beneficial for your body. New food products are very day being experimented on to be created by the use of soy. So much so that these days soy burgers and soy pasta is also not unheard off.
Types of Soy Food
The various types of Soy food are enlisted below:
The soy seeds which are harvested before they mature and harden. Hence they have a soft texture and contain no cholesterol. They are an excellent source of protein and fiber.
2) Soy Milk
Soy Milk is made from soybeans which have been soaked then ground and then strained. It is a great source of soy proteins but it does not have calcium and vitamin D.
It is a great replacement for any other milk especially for those who have lactose intolerance as soy milk has no lactose at all.
It is a paste of soy with salt which is essential in Japanese cooking. It can be refrigerated for future use as well.
4) Meat Alternatives
The low fat and cholesterol free replacements of meat are used in burgers, hot dogs, etc. They are a rich source of vitamins and proteins.
5) Soy Sauce
It is a dark colored nearly black sauce which is made from the beans of soy after their fermentation. This soy product has a minimum of soy proteins.
The sauce comes in two varieties:
- Shoyu: It is made with soybeans and wheat.
- Tamari: This one is made of soybeans only and is usually a by-product made during the processing of Miso.
6) Soy Nuts
Soy nut is hard and mature soybeans which have been soaked overnight and then baked. They are rich in proteins. They resemble the flavor and appearance of peanuts which are also legumes just like soy itself.
It is also called soy curd or soy paneer. It is a rich source of protein and has a mellow flavor to it. It is low in sodium and is available in two variants:
- Silken Tofu: It is a low-fat version and is also soft. I usually lose it structure if cooked and thus is well suited for purees.
- Water Tofu: It is a film version and is dense and solid. It maintains its shape and structure in most of the delicacies it is added to.
The whole soybean is at times mixed with other whole grains like millets and also fermented which is further pressed to form a sweet cake like structures called tempeh.
9) Textured Soy Protein
It is a soy product which in which soy flour is textured with soy protein and some soy fiber. It is dried is a granular way and when soaked it again gains back its chewy texture.
10) Whole Soy Beans
The soybeans themselves grow in a pod and remain in it until they mature and dry to form a hard bean. Most soybeans turn out to be yellow, but some are also brown and black.
It is a great way to fulfill your daily protein and fiber requirement. They can be cooked or even soaked and prepared by themselves for snacking.
11) Soy Nut Butter
Soy nuts are soaked and ground and again blend using soybean oil; then soy nut butter is received. It has some fat content but not as much as peanut butter.
12) Soy Flour
This is a good way to break the monotony of wheat flour as it is gluten-free.
13) Soy Cheese
It is made from soy milk. It also contains a milk protein called casein.
14) Soy yogurt
Soy milk is further used to form soy yogurt and a times cream cheese and some frozen desserts too.
15) Soybean Oil
A neutral or no flavored oil which is extracted from the soy is great for your body as it has no cholesterol but good proteins, omega three fatty acids and also Omega 6 essential fatty acids.
16) Soy Infant Food
It is specifically best for those babies who are unable to process and digest milk.
17) Soy mayonnaise
These days natural food stores are selling everything made of soy. Soy mayonnaise is one such example. If you are a vegan, kindly read the ingredients before consumption though.
Just to ease the understanding of so many types of soy products, these are further categorized under two heads. Namely:
1) Fermented Soy Products
While foods which are fermented which make soy easier to digest like Miso, Soy Sauce or Tempeh fall into the category of fermented soy products.
2) Non-fermented or Unfermented Soy Products
Food which contains whole soybeans like tofu, Soy milk, Soy Curd, etc. falls in this category.
Health Benefits of Soy
1) It is a great source of Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids.
2) It is rich in protein and fiber. It is a great source of plant protein.
3) If you substitute oil and milk with soy products, you can easily cut down on your fat and cholesterol levels.
4) These products mentioned above are one of the best sources of the polyunsaturated fats which are good for your heart and cholesterol balance.
5) They are rich in all types Vitamins and minerals and thus, maintain an overall healthy body and regulates its functioning too.
6) It has a high fiber content which helps in controlling your bowel movement and also aids in digestion.
Soy is a multi-faceted legume. It is healthy and delicious at the same time. It might be of interest to the vegetarians due to its meat-like flavors but it is equally appealing to those who can eat nonvegetarian food as soy has its benefits too. Soy keeps you healthy in and out. Its high nutritional profile is enough to cover not only your internal organs and their health, but your outer beauty is also well managed by this amazing legume.