Happy New Year! I hope you had a fantastic winter break full of family and relaxation. Can you believe it’s the start of another semester? Here at the Nutrition Nook, that means a brand new calendar of Produce of the Month! This month’s produce is soybeans. These legumes are an extremely multifaceted, protein-packed powerhouse. Soybeans are used to make many types of culinary products like soy sauce, tofu, tempeh, soy milk, and so much more. All of these foods (and everything else made with this versatile bean) must be labeled as “contains soy” due to soy being one of the top 8 food allergens. Edamame and other soybeans have origins in East Asia dating back 5500 years ago. The first written records of them indicate they were used for medicinal purposes. In Japanese, edamame translates to “beans on branches”.
When purchasing soybeans, look for beans that are firm, have bright colors, and are not mushy or have black spots. They are an excellent source of plant-based protein and can be a staple in any vegan or vegetarian diet. Protein is what our bodies use to build muscle, cells, enzymes, and many other types of tissue. Soybeans are high in folate, manganese, and vitamin K. Folate helps in red blood cell formation. Manganese has many functions like forming bones and hormones. It also works with vitamin K in blood clotting. Plant sterols are abundant in soybeans. They have been found to help lower cholesterol which decreases the risk of heart disease.
Because of their versatility, soybeans can be used in many different types of dishes. Edamame are great to steam or roast and toss with lemon juice, salt, and a little bit of sriracha. Throw soybeans in your salad or add them to a stir-fry dish. Roasted soy nuts also make a great crunchy snack! If you love tofu, try out different textures in different recipes. Firm tofu is great for grilling and sauteing. Silken tofu is amazing in smoothies and gives them a creamy texture. My favorite silken tofu smoothie is mango peach! Check out some other great soy recipes on the Produce of the Month page!
Let me know how you guys like to eat soy!
Stay safe, stay healthy!