In the last few decades, individuals have begun prioritizing overall health and well-being. In fact, the amount of searches for “self-care” has doubled since 2015, according to some Google trends. On the other hand, the idea of “self-care” does not stop at the foods you consume or the exercise routines you tend to pursue, however.
That said, soy products impart a unique factor of sustainability that makes them a strong prospect for inclusion in your wholesome diet. A blend of taste and nutrition is just one of the many reasons soy products are essential in your diet. One factor supporting these statements is the recent popularity of soy products in the past few years. Let’s take a look at some important factors when it comes to soy benefits and sustainability.
What Are Sustainable Soy Products?
Soy as a whole and the wide range of soy products have been gaining popularity at a fast pace, but it is important to know the source due to the sustainability factor. Non-sustainable growth can have an adverse environmental and social impact, which is why it is crucial to choose sustainable soy products.
Sustainable soy products are those made using soy that is grown sustainably, with the proper environment and societal practices. Non-sustainable growth, conversely, can have a degrading impact on the environment and aspects such as soil, water, and indigenous communities.
This is why sustainable soy growth practices hold such importance, helping reduce environmental impact. These include reduced usage of insecticides or synthetic fertilizers, rotation of crops, and conservative water usage. This helps promote biodiversity, conservation of natural resources, and protection of natural habitats, all while helping get tasty nutrients of soy from farm to your plate.
Health Benefits of Soy Products
Soy products have a variety of nutrients, including proteins, fiber, and minerals. Many studies show that soy product intake positively correlates with lower cholesterol, reduced heart disease risks, and increased balanced nutrient intake. This primarily benefits those who prefer a wholly plant-based or vegan diet.
- One significant health benefit of soy is the ability to help manage cholesterol levels, all thanks to special compounds known as isoflavones. These work to lower the LDL or bad cholesterol levels in the body.
- Soy products are also known for their high protein content, which is crucial for tissue repair and building, along with bone health.
- Another essential thing to note is that soy has a complete protein profile, meaning it has all 9 amino acids that the body can not produce.
- Soy products are also a rich source of fiber, which is a crucial requirement for maintaining digestive health and reducing certain types of cancer.
Why Sustainability Matters for Soy Products and Your Health
Sustainability is not only a requirement for the environment but also for your health. As discussed earlier, the non-sustainable production of soy, or any other crop for that matter, includes harmful chemicals, which can negatively impact nearby communities, latch on to the produce, and land up on your plate. Another non-sustainable practice is using GMOs, which has potential links to toxicity and food allergies.
Choosing sustainable soy products can go a long way in reducing such practices and averting the negative impacts.
How to Choose Sustainable Soy Products?
There are many ways by which you can choose sustainable soy products. One of the main ones is checking for product certifications and labels, which can easily be found on product packaging. Consumers can look for certifications on the packaging, such as USDA Organic, Rainforest Alliance, and Fair-Trade Certified labels. These labels can let you know that soy products have been produced sustainably with environmentally and socially responsible practices.
Another way is to go for products that are produced by organizations that give priority to sustainability. This is a powerful way for customers to help create a more significant market share for sustainability and encourage more users to support sustainable producers.
A Few Examples of Sustainable Soy Products
There is a considerable amount of sustainable soy-producing organizations in the current market, which produce a wide range of soy products such as soy milk, tofu, edamame, and tempeh, along with soybeans. These brands offer only sustainably produced soy; all products are certified with certifications such as the Rainforest Alliance and Fair Trade Certified.
Examples include Nasoya and Silk. Nasoya is a famous brand that uses organic, non-GMO soybeans and is also USDA Organic program certified. Silk is also a well-known brand for soy milk which only uses non-GMO soybeans for making its soy milk and is certified by the non-GMO Project.
The Future of Sustainable Soy Products
The future seems to be very bright for this plant-based protein source at the current rate of growth and progress of soy and soy products. The industry’s popularity as a whole is proliferating, and the producers and stakeholders are also creating innovative solutions for various issues and challenges, such as production limitations and other environmental impacts. One such great solution is precision agriculture, which is achieved with the help of technology.
Soy production and agriculture data are analyzed in this technique to enhance the yield of crops in a natural way. Technologies such as sensors, drones, and automatic watering systems are employed to achieve the best and highest quality natural results. These technologies are helping farmers get better yields while catapulting the industry forward.
Another great solution that the industry has popularized is vertical farming. This type of farming sees the crops growing in layers stacked vertically in environments enabled by artificial lighting and automated climate control systems. This method not only reduces the need for resources but can also help with multifold growth in yield per unit of land.
By being aware of such trends along with the many health benefits of soy, consumers can act as a necessary power in the growth of sustainable soy production and drive the demand for soy products. Consumers can also help the industry as a whole to move towards sustainable practices while ensuring that the produce that lands on every table is healthy and wholesome.
Making a sustainable choice is more than being environmentally and socially conscious. Sustainable practices are the need of the hour, and the key players in the soy industry are already playing a lead role in doing what is right. As a consumer, adopting plant-based or soy food or including it in your diet is only a fraction of what consumers can do. Choosing sustainable options and promoting them also supports the key players, allowing them to make the best of challenges and innovate further to bring you the best results.