Benefits of Fermented Soy

Most common in Asian food and diets, fermented soy products like miso, soy sauce, tempeh, natto, fermented soymilk and fermented tofu have been put under the proverbial microscope in recent years and studied for potential health benefits. While nonfermented soy products are still more common in the United States, fermented soy products are increasingly available because of their potential benefits to the body. However, people with severe food allergies should consult their doctor before adding soy to their diet as it is a common allergen.

Tofu cubes on a plate. (Image: Amarita/iStock/Getty Images)

Better Overall Nutrition

According to Alive.com, a website devoted to providing accurate health information, the fermentation of soy products can convert minerals like iron, calcium magnesium, potassium, selenium, copper and zinc into more soluble forms so that the body gets more of the provided nutrients. Soy fermentation can also increase the total amount of vitamin and mineral content in the final product, and some of the yeasts commonly used during the fermentation process are able to add large quantities of thiamin, nicotinic acid and biotin, making an even healthier overall product.

Medicinal Benefits

Certain substances and enzymes found in fermented soy products have medicinal benefits for some users. Fermented soy foods can help hot flashes, reduce cholesterol, slow the progression of atherosclerosis and in some cases have a protective effect against the development of cancer in the body, according to Alive.com. Fermented soy also enhances overall intestinal and digestive tract health in some people. According to A1Nutrition.com, a website designed to provide correct information about proper nutrition, fermentation of soy products increases hyaluronic acid as well, which can lubricate joints and reduce the inflammation associated with arthritis. Eating fermented soy products also increases overall bone strength, promotes better heart health and reduces prostate cancer in some cases.

Easer to Digest Than Unfermented Soy

Unfermented soy beans are hard to digest for many people because they contain a high amount of protein enzyme inhibitors and difficult-to-digest sugar compounds. However, during the fermentation process, the enzymes produced by the bacteria and yeast break down and become easier to digest. This also makes the protein content of unfermented soy protein easier to digest, which is extremely beneficial for people with digestive problems or difficulty digesting protein, according to Alive.com.

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