Textured vegetable protein -- also known as textured soy protein -- is a healthy recipe substitute for browned ground beef since it contains no fat, saturated fat or cholesterol. Prepared from defatted soy flour, plain TVP contains no added flavors or colorings and can be stored in an air-tight container indefinitely. Dry TVP must be reconstituted in water before use: Plan on 1 cup of dry TVP yielding 2 cups of meat substitute after adding 1 cup of water.
Excellent Source of Lean Protein
A 1/4-cup serving of dry TVP contains around 11 grams of protein. This amount can supply a woman with 24 percent of her daily protein requirement and a man with 19 percent of his protein needs per day. Unlike most other plant-based sources of protein, TVP is a complete protein, meaning it contains all of the amino acids your body requires. Using TVP instead of red meat as a protein source in your diet may help lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Rich in Dietary Fiber
Of the 57 calories in a 1/4-cup serving of TVP, 24 come from 6 grams of carbohydrates. Most of the carbohydrates -- 4 grams -- are supplied by dietary fiber. One TVP serving would fulfill nearly 12 percent of the daily fiber requirement for men between 19 and 30 years of age, 13 percent of the amount needed by men aged 31 to 50 and 14 percent of the recommendation for men over 51. Women up to age 30 can get 14 percent of their daily fiber allowance from a TVP serving, while older women -- ages 31 to 50 -- would fulfill 16 percent of their needs. Women over 51 would receive 18 percent of their fiber requirement from 1/4 cup of TVP.
Low in Sodium, High in Potassium
Plain TVP is extremely low in sodium: Each 1/4-cup dry serving contains just 3 milligrams, well under 1 percent of the recommended sodium limit even for people who are on a sodium-restricted diet. But TVP has a high concentration of minerals that most Americans need more of, including potassium. Some commercial brands of TVP can have as much as 540 milligrams of potassium in a 1/4-cup serving, or over 11 percent of the 4,700 milligrams recommended daily for healthy adults. TVP is also a good source of calcium, phosphorus and iron.
Packed with Folate
Your body needs vitamins like folate, or vitamin B-9, to support the health of your nervous system, to aid in red blood cell synthesis and to help you break down carbohydrates, fats and proteins for energy. Without enough, you may be more likely to develop heart disease or a neurological problem like depression. Adults should have 400 micrograms of folate each day. A typical serving of TVP contains 64 micrograms of folate, an amount that would supply 16 percent of an adult's recommended daily allowance.
- Soyfoods Association of North America: Textured Soy Protein
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Protein
- Harvard School of Public Health: Protein
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Carbohydrates
- Nutrition Reviews: Health Benefits of Dietary Fiber
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Where's the Sodium?
- Bob's Red Mill: TVP (Textured Veg. Protein)
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Potassium
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B-9 (Folic Acid)