April 2016 Issue

Editor's Spot: Praising Soyfoods
By Judy Riddle
Today's Dietitian
Vol. 18 No. 4 P. 4

I have never been one to eat tofu, tempeh, miso, or other types of soyfoods, but as I reflect on the amazing health benefits of soy this month, I think I may give some of the delicious-sounding recipes available a try. Soyfoods are rich in calcium, iron, fiber, and protein, and research has found they can help prevent and improve some of the top health issues facing women today such as heart disease and high blood pressure; osteoporosis; certain cancers; and menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, and insomnia. Soyfoods are capable of providing these health benefits because of their fatty acid profiles, high-quality protein, and isoflavone content.

Whole soybeans are about 40% fat as a percentage of calories, but the fat is predominantly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated, making it a valuable contributor to heart health. What's more, soybeans are full of protein. One-half cup of cooked soybeans has about 15 g, which is approximately twice the amount found in other legumes. And the quality of soy protein is equivalent to that of animal foods and is higher than other plant proteins. The isoflavones in soy are phytoestrogens (plant estrogens), which have a mild estrogenic effect in the body that can decrease hot flashes and other nagging menopausal symptoms. To learn more about isoflavones' effects in menopausal women, read "Are Menopause Supplements Effective?" in the March issue of Today's Dietitian.

This month, we're featuring an article on soy's positive effects on heart health in "Soyfoods and Heart Disease," on page 18. In honor of National Soyfoods Month, the article discusses the history and popularity of soyfoods dating back centuries, reviews the latest research on soy's association with lower heart disease and cancer risk, and provides strategies to help dietitians counsel clients.

Also in this issue are articles on the National Diabetes Prevention Program, what RDs think about the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, dietitians in home health care, and busting carbohydrate myths. Please enjoy the issue!

Judith Riddle