To Your Health

To Your Health by Pam Schaefer According to a new study by the United Soybean Board, one in six shoppers selects a food today because it contains soy. According to another soybean checkoff-funded study, 68 percent of shoppers who have tried soy products say that they use them regularly. Both studies indicate that more Americans are shopping with health in mind.

Soy has long been popular with vegetarians. Unlike other vegetable proteins, soy contains all eight essential amino acids, making it a "complete" protein. Soymilk has also been a popular milk substitute for lactose-intolerant individuals. But beyond these "traditional" benefits, soyfoods have also been shown � in many studies � to have striking positive effects on health. The most noteworthy are:

* Soy protein produces a significant reduction in total blood cholesterol, lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and improving HDL (good) cholesterol.

* Soy protein with isoflavones has been found to have strong antioxidant potential � that is, it protects cells from damage.

* Soy protein may offer protection against bone loss, osteoporosis and risk of bone fracture.

The health benefits of soy are so important that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows soy products that contain at least 6.25 grams of soy per serving to make the following claim: "25 grams of soy protein a day as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease." The average person can obtain 25 grams of soy protein by consuming four servings of soyfoods per day.

Traditional soyfoods include tofu and tempeh. Thanks to technology, supermarkets now stock a variety of soyfoods including frozen soy entrees, frozen edamame, soy deli slices, soy burgers, soy burger crumbles, soy dogs and soy sausage. There are also soy yogurt, soy cheese and soymilk. Shoppers can find everything from soy nuts to soy bars to soy chips.

Try one of these simple soy substitutions:

* When making chili, substitute black or yellow soybeans for kidney beans.

* For dips, substitute soy cream cheese for dairy cream cheese.

* When making meatloaf, use 50 percent soy crumbles and 50 percent ground beef.

* Use soymilk instead of dairy milk in recipes or on your cereal.

* Use soy cheese instead of dairy cheese on your pizza or in salads.

For more nutrition tips and recipes, go to and click on health or recipes.

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