1. You will be in good company. Twenty-five percent of Americans are eating more meatless meals than they were a year ago. Soy foods, for many of these people, are becoming one of their basic food groups.
2. Lower your cholesterol. Between 40 and 60 percent of the U.S. adult population is modifying their diet to reduce fat and cholesterol intake. Genistein, a natural estrogenic compound found only in soy, appears to significantly decrease levels of LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) while increasing HDL cholesterol, (the good cholesterol). High LDL (and low HDL) is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, the number one cause of death among men and women in the United States .
3. Lower your risk of cancer. Asian populations on average consume as much as 30 times the amount of soy as the American population. This dietary difference appears to be a significant factor for a four-to-ten-fold lower incidence of death from breast and prostate cancer in these countries.
4. Menopausal symptoms. The Genistein in soy appears to reduce the severity of menopausal systems such as "hot flashes", without the risks associated with estrogen replacement therapy. It also appears to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
5. Soy foods are nutritious. Soy foods are rich in nutrients such as calcium, iron, zinc, and many of the B vitamins. An excellent source of protein, and cholesterol free, soy products are lower in saturated fat than most of the meat and dairy foods that they easily replace.
6. A quality protein source. Soy protein is now recognized by the USDA, the American Dietetic Association and the World Health Organization as being equivalent or superior in protein quality to animal-based proteins such as dairy, eggs or meat.
7. Save our precious resources. Soy foods are an extremely efficient way to utilize precious food resources. A cow grazing on one acre of grass will produce 58 pounds of meat, enough to sustain a person for two and a half months. If that acre were replaced with soybeans, those beans would contain enough protein to sustain that same person for seven years.
8. A variety of alternatives and greater availability. Over the past decade, more than 2,000 new soy products have been introduced. Today's health conscious consumers have soy-based options for milk, cheese, burgers, hot dogs, luncheon meats, ground meat, yogurt, ice cream and more. Many traditional supermarkets have integrated these products into their stores.
9. Better quality. Manufacturers of soy-based products have come a long way since the products many people tasted (and disliked) a decade or two ago. Advances in technology have resulted in remarkable improvements in the taste and texture profile of all categories of soy products.
10. Soy foods are "in." American awareness for soy foods has never been greater. Seventy-five percent have heard of tofu, 55 percent are familiar with soy milk, and 50 percent have heard of soy burgers. Soy food consumption is increasing 30 percent or more per year.
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