Fresh soy-beans have been a staple of Asian cuisine for generations, but they have also been gaining popularity on the Western front of late. Soybeans are often sold in snack packs, but they are also added to a varied range of dishes, from soups to rice-based meals, though they are served as cooked and seasoned on their own, too.
The beans are rich in isoflavones, a type of phytoestrogen – that is plant-derived, estrogen-like substances. Isoflavones are known to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-cancer, and antimicrobial properties.
Thus, they can help to regulate the inflammatory response of the body, slow down cellular aging, fight microbes, as well as, reportedly, protect against certain types of cancer.
Edamame are rich in two types of isoflavones, in particular: genistein and daidzein. A study covered last year on Medical News Today found that genistein could be used to improve breast cancer treatment.
In the meantime, the study authors note that “lifetime intake of soy […] has been linked to reduced risk of breast cancer,” so we may want to include soybeans in our normal diet.
Tofu (soybean curd)
Similarly, tofu, a white cheese-like product made of soybean curds, has been linked to a wealth of health benefits for the same reasons. Tofu is often found cooked in typical Eastern Asian dishes; it can be fried, baked, or boiled (for instance, in soups).
As a soy product, it is rich in isoflavones, whose health benefits we’ve outlined above; it is also a good source of protein, and it contains all the essential amino acids that our bodies need to synthesize protein.
Moreover, it is also rich in minerals, which our bodies need to keep our teeth and bones strong and healthy, and to derive energy. Tofu is a source of calcium, iron, manganese, selenium, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc, and copper.
Some specialists also suggest that eating tofu can make you feel fuller for longer, so incorporating it into your meals may help to prevent overeating.