Soy milk has been around for a while now and tofu, tempeh, and other soy products are literal protein staples for those who follow a plant-based diet. But somehow, when it comes to actual soy nuts, we don't really see them as the preferred snack of choice, even with a plethora of health benefits they bring to the table. Here's what you should know.
What are Soy Nuts?
They're made from matured soybeans that have been soaked in water and then dried, baked, or roasted. Their flavor is on the nuttier side and grinding them will even yield soy nut butter. Talk about alternatives to peanut butter!
Even though they're called "nuts," just like peanuts, they aren't actually nuts. They belong to legumes, which are defined as plants that have pods with multiple edible seeds. On the other side, tree nuts have single seeds that are surrounded by a hard shell.
Soy nuts have a rich nutritional profile that provides an array of beneficial effects on the human body and act as a great source of protein for those looking to cut back on their animal protein intake. Having them as a healthy snack instead of your regular cashews, almonds, and other tree nuts brings extra fiber and vitamins while cutting back on saturated fat and calories. They're also naturally gluten-free and low in carbohydrates, making them a protein snack that won't cause your blood sugar to spike up.
Health Benefits of Soy Nuts
Since their nutritional profile is so rich, soy nuts can have amazing benefits on our bodies. Here are some of the most important ways they can positively impact our health:
Support Weight Loss
Soy nuts are high in protein and dietary fiber, but lower in fat and overall calories. This makes them the perfect snack for those on their weight loss journey. Keeping a high-protein diet has been linked to boosting your metabolism, helping burn fat, and assisting weight loss. They're also rich in antioxidants, which help you lower inflammation and fight free radicals.
Additionally, studies done on soy products and soy protein show results connected to successful weight loss in adults with obesity, which could potentially be an amazing way to fight this 21st-century pandemic.
Promote Heart Health
Soy nuts are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, or alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which contribute to lowering bad cholesterol and with it, other risk factors for developing heart disease. An important review of 35 studies found that eating soy products significantly decreased LDL cholesterol levels while increasing the levels of good cholesterol, or HDL.
Additionally, other studies directly link soy nuts as those soy products that influence cholesterol levels the most.
May Help Alleviate Symptoms of Menopause
Soy contains isoflavones, compounds that mimic estrogen in the body and can bind to estrogen receptors. That's why in women that are going through menopause, eating soy nuts can help treat symptoms caused by low estrogen levels, such as hot flashes, hair loss, mood swings, and more.
Additionally, isoflavones are antioxidants that help fight free radicals and oxidative damage in the body, lowering overall inflammation, which can be common during menopause.
Promote Bone Health
Isoflavones are also linked to helping prevent osteoporosis and therefore promoting bone health. Research on isoflavones, and especially genistein has shown to increase bone mineral density in postmenopausal women.
And there's even research that suggests how eating soy products helps increase bone density more than supplements.
May Help Protect Against Certain Cancers
Soy nuts and other soy products have been researched for their role in preventing cancers, and some results suggest how they may reduce the risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer. Even though the research is still in its infancy, it shows the potential of these incredible legumes and their powerful effects on our health.
Soy Nuts as a Delicious Snack
Soy nuts are crunchy in texture and even though you can find them in a variety of flavors, it's really easy to make them at home. All you have to do is coat them with any variety of spices you want, drizzle some olive oil, and roast them in the oven or air fryer for a few minutes. If buying packaged, just pay attention to the salt content and choose unsalted if possible.
You can add them to other nuts and seeds and make granola and your own trail mix, or add them on top of your favorite salads, soups, yogurts, or veggie bowls for additional crunch - and extra protein! Just pay attention to the source - always choose non-GMO and organic soybeans.
Soy nuts are an incredibly micro and macronutrient-rich food that's high in protein and fiber, low in carbohydrates and saturated fat, and bring on a variety of powerful vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They're an amazing addition to your diet, helping improve your health and wellbeing.