There are many soy products available. Traditionally soya has only been eaten as a fermented product, not as a genetically modified processed food.

Miso: a paste made by cooking soybeans and fermenting them with salt for one to three years. The longer the miso is aged, the darker the colour and stronger the flavour. Unpasturised miso contains beneficial bacteria and enzymes. It can be used in soups and stir frys. Miso should be refrigerated.
Natto: is made by fermenting boiled soy beans with Bacillus natto. It can be eaten with rice, in vegetable dishes or soup.
Soy Cheese: a dairy substitute made from soy milk.
Soy Milk: a milk substitute made by soaking soybeans, cooking, blending, and straining. In commercial soya milks other ingredients are added, and sometimes soy isolate used, choose a soya milk that has been made from whole soybeans. Soy milk can be difficult to digest for some people.
Soy Protein Concentrate: is a processed concentrate made from defatted soybean flakes, containing maily soy protein, and some fibre. Soy protein concentrate is commonly found in frozen soy burgers.
Soy Protein Isolate: should be avoided, it is a highly processed protein isolate – soy protein is removed from defatted soybean flakes. Genetically-modified soy is used and heavy processesing removes most of the nutrients from the soybeans.
Soy Sauce: is a fermented seasoning made from soybeans, water and salt. Some heavily-processed soy sauces can contain added MSG or artificial flavourings/colourings. Be careful if you are on a salt restricted diet, soy sauce usually has lots of salt. It is used in stir fries, soups and sauces.
    Shoyu: is a soy sauce which has been aged for 2 to 3 years.
    Tamari: a soy sauce with a slightly stronger flavour than shoyu.
Tempeh: fermented whole soybeans made by removing the hull of cooked soybeans and mixing them with a culture, then aged for a day or two. The culture helps hold the soybeans together. Tempeh can be added to stir fries, vegetable dishes, and casseroles or tempeh burgers. Tempeh is more easily digested, high in protein and rich in calcium. A good form of protein for vegetarians, (although I have not come across it in South Africa unfortunately).
Textured Soy Protein: should be avoided, it can be made in a number of ways. Some textured protein products are similar to soy protein concentrates, such as soy mince, and some forms have a high MSG content similar to hydrolyzed soy protein.
Tofu: is a white soybean cake made from cooked soybeans and nigari (magnesium chloride). It is fairly easily digested form of soy. Tofu is used in soups, stir fries, burgers, and many other types of dishes. Tofu tends to absorb the flavours/seasonings added to the dish.
Hydrolyzed Soy Protein: should be avoided, the extraction process of hydrolysis involves boiling in a vat of acid (e.g. sulfuric acid) and neutralising the solution with caustic soda. The sludge is scraped off the top and allowed to dry. It often contains MSG and other potentially harmful chemicals including carcinogenic chemicals in many cases and usually genetically modified soybeans are used.


High protein content, omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, zinc, magnesium, iron and selenium, monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, fibre, soluble and insoluble, phosphorous, Pptassium, copper, sodium, phyto-oestrogens, vitamins: thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, A, E, folic acid isoflavones: genistein and daidzein, lignans, coumestrol, lecithin, phospholipid compounds: phosphatidylinostol.

It may be detrimental to ingest large amounts of soy foods such as miso and soy sauce because of the high sodium content. Soy products that are heavily processed or genetically modified should be avoided. Overuse of soy can be unhealthy and some people find it difficult to digest.

Adverse Reactions

Soy products can cause allergic or intolerance reactions in some cases, heavily-processed and genetically modified soy products may be more likely to cause allergy and intolerence reactions. Some constituents in soy can interfere with thyroid function if overconsumed. Unless soy is fermented or well cooked, soybeans inhibit the production of trypsin making them difficult to digest.

Benefits and Uses

Helps to prevent some forms of cancer, and heart disease. May help to alleviate menopausal symptoms. Probiotic effects (from fermented soy products). Reduce high cholesterol levels, Miso is particularly useful as an aid to improving digestion and the health of the intestinal tract. Protective against the negative effects of radiation and toxic pollutants, improves circulation, promotes clear vision, lowers fever, galactagogue, eliminates toxins from body, antioxidant, promotes digestion of fats. Soy helps to enhance bowel function. Many people who are sensitive to fermented products and/or eating "anti-candida" diets can tolerate the use of miso without problems. It is helpful in stimulating the circulation. Soy sprouts are thought to help relieve "summer heat". Used as a remedy for dizziness, childhood malnourishment (especially tofu and tempeh), skin eruptions, constipation, excessive fluid retention and toxaemia during pregnancy, spasm, arthritis, heat conditions marked by a yellow tongue coating, yellow mucous, dark yellow urine. Dry conditions, weight loss programmes, hormonal imbalance.