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Is Soy A Complete Protein? (Quickly Explained)

Soy is a very controversial food that people either deem healthy or bad for you. It does contain a lot of nutrients and minerals that contribute to good health, so many people still eat it.

Soy is a great source of dietary protein too. Because of that, people often consume it when they’re following plant-based diets. 

But is soy a complete protein? Or does it need to be consumed with other foods to add more amino acids to it?

Is Soy A Complete Protein?

Since soy contains all nine essential amino acids that your body doesn’t produce, it’s considered to be a complete protein. So, eating it can help you easily load up on the missing amino acids.

What’s more, soy is quite nutritious and rich in various minerals and vitamins that contribute to good health. So, it might be a good idea to have some from time to time and in moderation to avoid any adverse side effects.

Make sure to also check out Do I Need To Worry About Eating Complete Proteins? and Yes, You Can Be A Vegan And An Athlete Too.

Soy Milk

Why is soy a complete protein?

Soy is considered a complete protein because it contains all nine essential amino acids that your body cannot produce on its own. 

As a result, soy is a much better source of protein than some other plant-based protein sources.

This is because these essential amino acids are crucial for supporting the normal growth and development of our cells and tissues. 

So, if you don’t get them from your diet, you’re at a higher risk of various health issues.

While consuming complete proteins for each meal is not essential, it’s a good idea to ensure that you’re getting it at least once a day. 

It’s also important to know that your whole day counts for creating complete protein as it takes your stomach a while to digest the food.

So, don’t stress too much about having complete proteins all the time but aim for consuming them.

Is soy good for you?

Is Soy A Complete Protein?
Is Soy A Complete Protein?

Since it’s a complete protein, soy is a great source of protein. This nutrient helps you stay full after eating, curbs your appetite, and aids in weight loss.

A diet rich in high-protein foods can also improve exercise performance and prevent lean muscle mass loss when working out. 

So, it’s important to consume such foods, even if you follow a plant-based diet.

Additionally, soy is an excellent source of all minerals that your body needs aside from sodium. 

It’s especially rich in manganese, magnesium, and potassium – all of which are important for bone health and a healthy immune system.

Potassium is also crucial for the health of your cardiovascular system, as it lowers your blood pressure and contributes to heart attack and stroke prevention.

Soybeans are also a particularly good source of polyphenols, a type of antioxidants. These help flush out free radicals from your body, prevent oxidative damage to your cells, and reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer.

These antioxidants may also lower your levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol and raise the levels of ‘good’ cholesterol. 

This improves the health of your heart and the whole cardiovascular system, all while reducing your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic conditions.

Is soy good for you?
Is soy good for you?

Because of that, eating soy-based products is a great way to easily improve your health.

What’s more, soy-based products like tofu, tempeh, edamame, and soy protein make for an excellent source of iron. 

This mineral is important for the prevention of anemia, as it contributes to creating hemoglobin, a protein that transports oxygen throughout your body.

Iron is also important for growth and development, especially for children. It’s also essential for ensuring good energy levels. So, make sure to include iron-rich foods in your diet.

Some research even suggests that adding soy-based foods to your diet can reduce the symptoms of menopause and make you feel better during this period.

Studies believe that it’s because soy contains isoflavones, which have similar properties as estrogen – the hormone that lowers during menopause. 

When the levels of this hormone decrease, women tend to experience symptoms like fatigue, hot flashes, and other issues.

So, eating soy-based products can help with these problems.

How can you make soy a better source of protein?

Soy is considered a complete protein
Soy is considered a complete protein

Soy is a complete protein on its own. But adding some other sources of essential amino acids to meals with this legume can make it even better for you.

For example, eating tofu (which is made with soy) with beans or kale can help you reap even more amino acids as well as essential vitamins and minerals. 

Soy is also a great replacement for meat for vegans, vegetarians, and everyone following a plant-based diet.

Because of that, it can be used in dishes like spaghetti, meatloaf, chili, soups, and meatballs, so you don’t have to remove these dishes from your diet altogether.

Is soy milk a complete protein?

Since soy is a complete protein, so is soy milk. It does contain slightly less of each amino acid, though, as it’s served in smaller portions.

Soy milk is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and a lot of protein, which makes it a great healthy food. 

Is soy milk a complete protein?
Is soy milk a complete protein?

It also provides you with a lot of copper, magnesium, manganese, and selenium in a single one-cup serving.

Is soy flour a complete protein?

Generally, all foods made with a source of complete protein are complete proteins as well. So, soy flour is a complete protein, providing you with all essential amino acids.

Aside from protein, soy flour is a great source of magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and even fiber. 

Because of that, it can be used as a substitute for other high-carb types of flour when following a low-carb or keto diet.

Conclusion

Soy is a complete protein, which makes it a great source of all essential amino acids for everyone, especially vegans and vegetarians. It’s also loaded with vitamins and minerals that contribute to good health.

Even though soy doesn’t always get the best rap, it does provide you with essential nutrients, including protein. So, there’s no harm to adding it to your diet in moderation.

Make sure to also check out Do I Need To Worry About Eating Complete Proteins? and Yes, You Can Be A Vegan And An Athlete Too.

Sources: Nutrition Data, PMC, and National Library of Medicine