JEFF TIEDEMAN: Oh boy, soyThis vegetable provides nutritional, economic benefits.
Some people I know say they can’t stand anything that contains soy. Most base their dislike on a certain type of soy product.
But chances are they’ve eaten something that contains soy and didn’t even know it.
For example, if you frequent Oriental restaurants, perhaps you’ve sampled one of their soups. Two popular kinds — miso and hot and sour — contain tofu, a soy product.
Or maybe it’s the cereal you had for breakfast this morning. Many that are made by major cereal makers and come in wide variety of flavors, textures and types are fortified with soy protein. These can be hot cereals like oatmeal or cold cereals to be eaten with milk.
Then, there’s that spaghetti you had with meatballs, which very likely has been fortified with soy protein, as well as veggie burgers.
Of course, there are some people, such as Moriah Opp, who prefer some kinds of soy products while not liking others. Moriah, who works at the gym where I exercise, said she and her husband always are snacking on edamame but that she isn’t a big fan of tofu.
(Edamame is made from soybean pods that are lightly boiled in salted water and the seeds are squeezed directly from the pods into the mouth with the fingers.)
I have yet to find any soy product that doesn’t appeal to me. We often have enchiladas that use textured or textured soy protein — also known as texturized vegetable protein — as a meat substitute. (TSP or TVP is quick to cook, with a protein content equal to that of the meat and contains no fat.) And I often put soy milk over my daily bowl of oatmeal.
Nutritionally, soy products have a lot going for them. Besides being high in protein, they help prevent several cancers, heart disease (by reducing total cholesterol, blood pressure and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) and probably prevent plaque increase in the arteries (arteriosclerosis). And probiotics (friendly bacteria) from fermented soy products play a part in intestinal tract health.
For centuries, soy products a have been a part of the regular diet in China, Japan and Indonesia, which probably has something to do with the fact that a great number of Asians live to a very old age.
Soy products are also important to our region’s agriculture. Soybeans are produced across much of North Dakota, thanks to new varieties that mature faster, need less moisture and bring attractive prices. In 2009, North Dakota ranked 11th nationally in soybean production and Minnesota was third.
So, for your health and our economy, don’t dismiss soy products.
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at (701) 780-1136 or toll-free at (800) 477-6572, or e-mail at email@example.com.