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One does not have to be vegetarian to benefit from the addition of soy products to their diet.
Soy products, especially tofu, are perfect for easing into a diet low in fat, calories and cholesterol but without losing essential proteins found in meat. Tofu is very versatile; it absorbs the flavor of whatever spices and ingredients with which it is cooked.
Silken: softest variety; used in soups, desserts and smoothies
Firm: easy to slice or cube; used in frying or baking
Frozen: gives it a spongy, meat-like texture; crumble and use in chili or pasta sauce
Large-scale soybean farming has only become prominent in the United States since the 1940's and 1950's. However, soybeans have been widely used in Asia for over 1,000 years because of their medicinal properties and health benefits.
Consuming soy products has been shown to protect against heart disease, breast cancer and osteoporosis. A diet high in soy also helps to reduce the risk of prostate cancer and diminish the symptoms of menopause.
Soy products are high in both protein and fiber, and are easy to digest. Soy is also low in calories, fat and carbohydrates, and contains no cholesterol.
For those who might not be ready to try tofu, there are a wide variety of other soy-based products on the market. Soymilk, soy meats, soy nuts and soy cheeses are all easy ways to work soy into one's diet.
Look for soy products such as tofu and meat substitutes in the produce and frozen departments at grocery stores and at health food stores. When eating out, look for tofu on the menu at Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese restaurants.
Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff