With more and more people turning to vegetarianism, veganism and plant-based diets, and a resurgence of interest in high-protein diets, soy chunks are popular among vegetarians for their high protein content. proteins. Apart from vegetarians, soy chunks are also popular among non-vegetarians, for their meat-like density and texture.
The high protein content of soy chunks makes it very popular, especially among fitness conscious people.
Soybean chunks first became popular in eastern parts of India. Then even non-vegetarians started buying soy chunks and using them as a meat substitute. The love for soybean chunks has gradually spread to other parts of India.
However, there are conflicting views regarding the amount of healthy soy chunks. First, a few years ago, specific popular diets focused on soy deficiencies, giving it a bad name. Like all other good things, soy should also be consumed in moderation.
What are soy chunks?
Imagine getting all the goodness of meat without its drawbacks. Soy Chunks are Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) or Textured Soy Protein (TSP). The extraction of beans gives soybean oil. The residue or by-product that remains is called soybean meal.
Incidentally, this flour led to the formation of soy lumps. Since all the oil is removed, the flour is defatted. Thus, soy chunks are ideally fat-free.
Another advantage of soy chunks is their neutral taste. A classic pulao with chunks of soy should be familiar to most. They blend well with any kitchen, making it easy to adapt to any kitchen style.
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Although soy chunks come in their dehydrated form, they quickly double in volume. The texture of soybean chunks becomes soft, fibrous and spongy when soaked in water.
The protein in soy chunks is comparable to that of real meat. Plus, they’re low in fat and easy to carry. Hence, they got their name from “vegetarian meat”.
The story behind soy chunks
The Soy Production and Research Association (SPRA) introduced soybean chunks or TVP in the fall of 1972. The founder, Knister, Robert W.. Nave, grew up in India and had a deep interest in the welfare of low-income people. Initially, SPRA sold soybean chunks at low prices and in affordable packages. But the product did not receive a warm reception.
SPRA began marketing soybean chunks as a premium product with improved packaging. They were only sold in specific stores and targeted the high income group. Once the Sikh community made soy chunks a common ingredient in their weddings, the success of the product was inevitable.
Nutritional Values of Soy Chunks
Nutritional values may vary by brand and prescribed cooking method. For example, a famous brand of soy chunks in India has the following nutrient profile.
100 grams of soy pieces contain:
- calories: 345 calories
- Protein: 52g
- Carbohydrates: 33 grams
- Fiber: 13 grams
- Fats: 0.50g
- Calcium: 350mg
- Iron: 20mg
Nutrition information on soy chunks:
- One serving (100g) of soy chunks contains a significant amount of calories. Therefore, one should choose portion sizes wisely based on one’s daily calorie intake.
- Some brands require the soy chunks to be fried in oil first. This process can significantly increase calories.
- The protein in soy chunks is very impressive. In comparison, 100g of chicken and egg contain only 27g and 13g of protein respectively. The rich protein content makes up for the recommended daily value for both men and women.
- Likewise, the fat content of soy chunks is insignificant compared to meat and eggs.
- Soy chunks contain a considerable amount of calcium. The amount represents 35% of the recommended daily value.
- Minor traces of iron, vitamin A, and vitamin C are also part of the nutrient list. However, their presence is insignificant.
8 Health Benefits of Soy Chunks
1. Acts as a Meat Substitute
Vegetarians and those suffering from a protein deficiency can incorporate soy chunks into their diet. They make it possible to compensate for the recommended value of proteins without altering its traditions.
Each 100 gram serving contains 345 calories with 52 grams of protein. It does indeed qualify as a meat alternative, but provides additional protein over chicken and lamb.
2. Promotes Heart Health
Soy chunks are high in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and low in saturated fat.
Also, a 2015 study published in the journal Molecules talks about the benefits of soy and its ability to lower bad cholesterol levels in the body. Thus, in addition, the good cholesterol prevents several heart diseases, making soy chunks a healthy food for the heart.
3. Aids in weight loss
This unique vegetable protein is known to reduce body weight and fat mass. The fiber content of soy chunks keeps hunger at bay. Plus, they can keep you full for long hours.
Soy chunks have a greater thermogenic effect (energy needed above basal metabolic rate to digest, absorb, and metabolize food) than carbohydrates. So, when taken in the correct proportions, soy chunks can help you on your weight loss journey.
4. It helps reduce symptoms of menopause
Many women going through menopause experience hot flashes, night sweats, trouble sleeping, vaginal dryness, and mood swings. Dozens of small studies have looked at the effects of soy on these symptoms, especially hot flashes.
Soy chucks are rich in isoflavones, it is a type of phytoestrogen. These are thought to act like estrogen and thus alleviate the symptoms of menopause.
5. Regulates hormonal imbalance in women
Due to the phytoestrogens in soy chunks, women with irregular hormonal activity can eat soy chunks regularly.
In particular, postmenopausal women and those with PCOS benefit the most. It mimics estrogen and regulates the menstrual cycle in women.
6. Improves Digestive Health
Animal and human studies have shown that eating soy foods can increase levels of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli in the gut, improving gut health.
7. Contains anti-inflammatory properties
Consumption of soy foods has been shown to have beneficial effects on multiple aspects of human health, including reducing the risk of inflammation-related diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers.
A study by the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Oklahoma State University, explains the effectiveness of soy protein in relieving pain and inflammation in osteoarthritis.
8. Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
Soy can be extremely beneficial for diabetics and should definitely be added to their diet.
A study from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst found that soy is rich in bioactive compounds called isoflavones. These compounds are responsible for reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease. More importantly, the study noted that consuming soy foods can lower blood sugar and even improve glucose tolerance in people with diabetes.
Recipes using soy chunks
Soy Chunks are a fantastic substitute for meat in almost any non-vegetarian dish. From biryani to pasta, you can also use them in a variety of cuisines. Here are two simple recipes to get started with soy chunks.
Recipe Soy pulao
Pulao is one of the simplest dishes made from soybean chunks. Pair it with the Manchurian Soybeans shown below for the perfect main course.
- Soy chunks – ½ cup
- Rice – ½ cup
- Ghee (homemade is best) – 2 tbsp
- Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
- Bay leaves – 2
- Peppercorns – ½ tsp
- Cinnamon stick – ½
- cloves – 2 to 3
- Onions – ½ cup
- Any vegetable of your choice (optional)
- Soak the soy pieces in water until they become spongy. After that, rinse the parts several times in water.
- Simultaneously, soak the rice in water as well.
- Take a pressure cooker and add oil or ghee to it.
- Once the oil is heated, add the cumin seeds, bay leaves, peppercorns, cinnamon sticks and cloves.
- Chop the onions and mix them after the spices.
- Once the onion is nicely browned, add the vegetables of your choice.
- Now include the soy chunks and sauté for a few minutes.
- Add the soaked rice to the slow cooker with 1 ½ cups of water and close the lid.
- After a whistle on high heat, put the stove in simmer mode.
- Wait 4-5 whistles. Then, wait for the steam to come out before opening the lid.
Side Effects of Soy Chunks
The presence of phytoestrogens in soy chunks is a cause for debate. Although this property is very beneficial for women suffering from hormonal imbalance, it may be useless for others.
Consuming large amounts of soy chunks can also cause hormonal issues in men. They also have the potential to increase uric acid in the body leading to certain health issues. However, these effects are only valid when consuming soy chunks in large quantities.
Therefore, limit yourself to a maximum of 25-30 grams of soy chunks per day and rejoice in their benefits.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Are soy chunks unhealthy?
A.Soy chunks are high in protein and fiber. However, avoid consuming soy chunks in excessive amounts. The presence of phytoestrogens can be harmful in some cases. This can lead to health issues like hormonal imbalance, thyroid imbalance, and higher levels of uric acid in the body. The recommended serving of soy chunks is around 15-25 grams per day.
Q. How do I cook soy chunks?
A.Boil water in a saucepan and add the dehydrated soy pieces. Cook for about 5 to 6 minutes or until the soy pieces become spongy and enlarged. Then, run cold water over the cooked soy pieces to rinse them thoroughly. Finally, squeeze out any excess water before adding it to sauces and rice. Many brands come with an instruction manual on the back cover. Read them first for better understanding.
Q. Can men eat soy chunks?
A.Yes, soy chunks, when taken in the correct amounts, can also benefit men. Phytoestrogens which are naturally present in plants have a function similar to the human hormone estrogen. Thus, some theories say that consuming large amounts of it can cause hormonal imbalance in men. As a precaution, do not exceed the recommended serving per day.
Q. How do I eat soy chunks?
A.For easy recipes, you can add soy chunks to salads, pulao, and fried rice. Substitute soy chunks for meat in any dish for a vegetarian option. A simple curry made with soya chunks is also excellent. Since they have no particular taste, you can add them to a variety of dishes.
Q. Do soy chunks cause weight gain?
A.No, soy chunks are very low in fat. Soy chunks can help with weight loss. Fiber-rich foods tend to fill you up for long periods of time. Therefore, soybean chunks do not inherently have fattening properties. However, if consumed in large quantities, they can exceed your daily calorie intake. When this practice continues for long periods of time, it can lead to weight gain.
Q. Are soy chunks healthy?
A.Soy chunks are high in protein and full of polyunsaturated fats, as well as omega-3 fatty acids. It is packed with many nutritional benefits such as; it is good for cardiovascular health, skin, hair and even bones. Thus, soy chunks can be a healthy option to include in your diet.
Q. What are the side effects of Soy Chunks?
A.Excess consumption of soy can cause problems like bloating, nausea, constipation, and increased frequency of urination. To avoid having these symptoms, limit your consumption to one serving (25g) per day.
Q. Benefits of Soy Chunks for Diabetes
Astudyfrom the University of Massachusetts Amherst explains the bioactive compounds known as isoflavones in soybeans and how they are beneficial in reducing the risk of diabetes.