Soybeans and most soy foods are excellent dietary sources of fiber. A serving of soybeans provides about 37% of the recommended daily intake!
How much fiber should we consume a day?
A high-fiber diet has been associated with a lower risk of developing heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and certain gastrointestinal diseases. Also, it may reduce high blood pressure and serum cholesterol levels, enhance immune functions, and improve insulin sensitivity.
Furthermore, fiber supports weight loss, as it controls appetite and decreases cravings for fattening foods.
We should consume at least 28 g of fiber per 2,000 calories. If you consume more calories, you should consume more fiber as well.
Most people fail to meet the recommended dose of fiber, though. In fact, about 90% of Americans don’t consume enough fiber.
What’s the fiber content of soybeans?
Soybeans are excellent dietary sources of fiber. They contain 6 g of fiber per 100g. A serving (1 cup) provides 10.3 g of fiber. This amount is about 37% of the recommended daily intake!
Consuming beans is the easiest way to boost your daily fiber intake. All beans are particularly rich in fiber. For instance, lentils and chickpeas provide 55% and 45% of the DV (Daily Value) per serving!
Are soy products high in fiber?
Most soy products are also great sources of fiber. They’re rich in protein too.
Edamame is the green immature pod of the soybean plant. The pods are usually boiled or steamed. Edamame has a slightly lower fiber content than mature cooked soybeans. A serving provides 29% DV.
Tempeh is made from cooked and slightly fermented soybeans, which formed into a block. A serving of tempeh contains 8 g of fiber, or 29% DV. Tempeh is one of the few plant-based foods containing some vitamin B12!
Tofu is the most popular soy food. It’s prepared by coagulating soy milk. A serving of tofu contains approximately 3.3 g of fiber, or 12% DV.
Miso is a paste, made from fermented soybeans. It’s used for preparing the traditional Japanese miso soup, dressings, and many more recipes. Just a tbsp of miso provides 3% of the recommended daily intake of fiber.
On the other hand, soy milk, soy sauces, and soy protein isolate are soy products containing negligible amounts of fiber.
You can find a wide variety of soy products on Amazon.
All soy products are good for weight loss. Not only due to their high fiber content, but also, due to their high protein, mineral, and antioxidant content. However, most soy products have many calories.
The best time to drink soy milk for weight loss is at breakfast, or late at night.
What’s the main type of fiber in soybeans?
Dietary fiber is classified into soluble and insoluble fiber. Soybeans contain both.
However, soybeans consist mainly of insoluble fiber. Actually, about 89% of the total fiber in soybeans is insoluble fiber. Only 11% is soluble fiber.
But, the ratio of insoluble to soluble fiber depends on many factors, such as the processing methods. cultivation conditions, growing region, soybean cultivars, storage conditions, and many more.
Soy products have different ratios of insoluble to soluble fiber as well.
Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water. It absorbs water, making the stool softer, helping defecation.
On the other hand, soluble fiber dissolves in water, turning to a gel. It slows down digestion and has satiating effects. Thus, it supports weight loss.
Common foods high in fiber
Only plant-based foods, like vegetables, fruits, legumes, beans, whole-grains, mushrooms, seeds, and nuts, are good dietary sources of fiber.
Beans are the richest foods in fiber. Vegetables help meet our daily needs of fiber as well. Common vegetables, like lettuce, spinach, cabbage, kale, and broccoli, are good dietary sources of fiber. Even fruits contain decent amounts of fiber.
Animal-derived foods contain no fiber at all. Refined plant-based foods contain negligible amounts of fiber as well.
We can easily get more than enough fiber a day by eating a big salad, a cup of beans, 2 fruits, and a slice of whole-grain bread.
Are soybeans & soy products bad for you?
Soybeans have a superior nutritional value. Not only they’re rich in fiber and high-quality plant-based protein, but also, they’re packed with vitamins, minerals (e.g. iron, calcium), and antioxidant compounds.
For instance, soybeans are particularly high in isoflavones. Actually, they’re the richest foods in isoflavones.
Isoflavones are polyphenolic compounds with many health benefits. Isoflavones can help maintain blood vessel health, help support cellular health, and significantly increase the antioxidant status of the body!
Soy isoflavones may reduce the risk of cardiovascular heart disease, cancer, menopausal symptoms, and osteoporosis! Also, they may help improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce inflammations in the body.[4,5]
If consumed instead of animal protein, soy products may reduce the serum concentrations of LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides. Fermented soy foods may have a beneficial effect on diabetes and blood pressure as well.
Moreover, soy foods may alleviate hot flashes and improve skin health.
However, isoflavones are plant-derived compounds with estrogenic activity. They’re classified as phytoestrogens. Due to their high content of these phytoestrogens, many people think that soy foods are bad for our health.
Soy foods aren’t bad for you, though. Many studies support the safety and benefits of soy foods. For instance, according to the European Food Safety Authority, isoflavones in soybeans don’t adversely affect the breast, thyroid or uterus of postmenopausal women.