US Soy Is A Sustainable Solution For Our Health *And* The Planet's — The Full Story
Soy has been a staple in nutritious diets for decades. From flavorful preparations of tofu and tempeh to classic eats like edamame and soy milk and even newer uses in plant-based burgers and protein bars—soy offers a high-quality source of protein and flavor in cultures around the world. In fact, soy is a powerhouse ingredient but for many more reasons than we realize.
A new appreciation for soy
We know that nothing beats tofu in our veggie bowl (followed by a miso chocolate chip cookie). But how does soy impact our long-term health—and the planet's? After learning about the transparency, consistent improvement, and reliability behind U.S.-grown soy, our appreciation for this versatile ingredient continues to grow.
The nutritional benefits of soy—what you may not know
Soy is a common source of plant-based protein—and for good reason. Soy protein is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids needed by the body to make protein. This actually makes soy protein comparable to animal protein. Depending on the soy food, some are also a source of folate, potassium, fiber, and even contain probiotics1 (think natto and miso).
Soy foods also contain omega-6 and -3 essential fatty acids, which may be beneficial for your heart. In fact, soy protein and soybean oil both carry the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) heart-health claim noting soy protein and oil as positive additions to your diet. When it comes to a heart-healthy lifestyle, soy foods can be an excellent choice.
But soy isn't just important for nutrition at an individual level. U.S. Soy is uniquely positioned to provide a solution to help us feed a growing global population. According to the U.N., the world population is projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050. And alongside this growth comes an increasing demand for protein sources. While we'll need an additional three billion bushels of soybeans per decade to meet this demand, U.S. soybean farmers are (thankfully) developing sustainable solutions to make that possible.
U.S.-grown soy isn't just nutritious, it's sustainable
Just like biodegradable plastics and water conservation, U.S. Soy is a major player in the sustainability movement. This starts with U.S. soybean farmers, who are committed to sustainable farming and constant innovation. As self-declared stewards of the land, these farmers are using regenerative farming practices to build and maintain healthy soil for generations to come.
Through methods like crop rotation, cover crops, and no-till farming, U.S. soybean farmers are working to increase the carbon in our soil and decrease the carbon in our atmosphere, a process called carbon sequestration. And their efforts are paying off. Since 1980, U.S. soybean farmers have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 43% and energy usage per bushel by 46%.
Climate-friendly agriculture is one aspect of U.S.-grown soy's sustainability—technology is another. Through the use of biotechnology, U.S. soybean growers can reduce the use of herbicides and decrease weed and insect pressure, both of which contribute to increased yields of high-quality soybeans. Through precision farming, GPS, and satellite mapping, these farmers can improve their seed planting and spraying while optimizing their land more sustainably. Sounds like an inspiring future in the works!
A powerhouse ingredient
Soy is a powerhouse ingredient. But to appreciate soy for just its protein content and versatility misses the bigger picture! Soy has a variety of dietary benefits that make it a promising source of nutrition for a growing world. Thanks to the sustainable farming practices of U.S. soybean growers, U.S.-grown soy is also a solution for the climate challenges that grow more urgent each day.
As wellness enthusiasts, we'll always have love for soy. But now we know that behind every soy-based veggie burger, soy milk latte, or miso recipe—there's so much more.
Devon Barrow is a Branded Content Editor at mindbodygreen. She received her degree from the University of Colorado. When she's away from her desk, Devon is teaching yoga, writing poetry, meditating, and traveling the world. She's based in Boulder, Colorado.
Devon's first book, Earth Women, is coming soon. To learn more, join the mailing list, and receive updates, head to www.devonbarrowwriting.com.