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7 ways to reap the benefits of soy

September 10, 2014

Next time you see soy on the menu, you may want to give it a try. According to a report in the Journal of Perinatal Education, the protein contains little saturated fat, no cholesterol and provides extensive benefits that could be part of a healthy lifestyle for seniors. It promotes heart health and weight loss, and can even lower your risk of developing certain cancers. Older women experiencing postmenopausal symptoms can also find relief by incorporating more of the ingredient into their diet. Try increasing your soy intake in the following ways so you can experience the many benefits of the food.

1. Snack on edamame

A light treat full of protein, edamame is a great food to snack on between meals and takes little time to prepare. U.S. News & World Report recommended boiling 1/4 cup of soybeans in a pot, and then straining and shelling them upon serving. Add salt and pepper if you'd like some seasoning, and enjoy. It's a simple, tasty way to get a great dose of protein.

2. Choose soy milk

Sometimes you just need to make a few modifications to your existing diet to make it healthier and more well-balanced. Opt for soy instead of regular milk whenever you would normally include it. Use it in your coffee, cereal and any other dish that calls for milk. Replacing milk could help cut calories and promote weight loss, which is an important part of managing health conditions and battling obesity. According to U.S. News & World Report, 1 cup of light soy milk has 20 fewer calories than 1 cup of skim milk.

3. Order soup

Miso soup is an Asian dish made with soybeans and other healthy ingredients like wheat, rice, rye and barley, noted FitDay, an online health resource. Rather than choosing a heavy stir fry dish next time you're eating Asian food, try getting soup to get your fill of the substance and promote healthy aging.

4. Pick up soy protein bars

Soy bars can usually be found anywhere that protein bars are sold and can offer a quick, convenient way of getting the healthy protein on the go, advised FitDay. They come in a variety of flavors, so you're sure to find one that you like. Snacking on soy protein bars can be a great way to add a boost of energy to your day.

5. Make tofu lasagna

When making your favorite lasagna dish, try replacing most of the ricotta cheese with tofu, which is made with soy, for a healthy twist, suggested the University of California, San Francisco. Add salt, pepper, garlic, basil and parsley to tofu and blend until smooth and use it in your casserole.

6. Try it pureed

Pureed tofu can be a great way to add nutrition to what would otherwise be a cheat food. The UCSF recommended using the blended substance in twice-baked potatoes by scooping out the baked potato pulp the same way you would in the traditional recipe, but adding tofu for its health benefits instead of replacing the potato. Mix in sauteed garlic and minced onions for flavor and add seasoning as you prefer. Place the mixture in the potato shell, sprinkle with low-fat cheese and leave in the oven until the cheese is completely melted.

7. Add it to main dishes

Soybeans and tofu can be included in nearly every savory dish. Try adding edamame to your salad or using tofu in your tacos. The UCSF suggested adding ranch dressing mix and taco seasoning to pureed tofu and serving with tortilla chips for a unique Mexican dish. You can also add soy protein to meatless chili or other stews or soup to reap all of its health benefits in a sneaky way.