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Anti-Inflammatory Diet Tip: Soy

The meaty soybean is packed with plant protein and anti-inflammatory nutrients that boost heart health and may prevent cancer.

These days, most people have tried edamame at their local sushi restaurant. The meaty soybeans are packed with plant protein and anti-inflammatory nutrients that boost heart health and may prevent cancer. They also contain manganese, iron, omega-3s, calcium, selenium and magnesium -- which support healthy bones and nerve function. Whole soy and fermented soy are best, but you can also opt for other less-processed soy products, like tofu and tempeh.

What Do Experts Say?
"This great protein source can help lower inflammation in people who aren't sensitive to soy," says Elizabeth W. Boham, MD, MS, RD, of The UltraWellness Center. "I often recommend that people eat a good protein source at every meal. For most people, a good rule of thumb is to get that protein from vegetables sources, like healthy soy, beans, legumes and nuts half the time. For the other half, choose from animal protein sources."

How Should You Eat It?
"Whole soy that's organic and non-GMO can be a good substitute for high-fat meats some of the time," says Dr. Boham. "Substituting tofu or edamame for deli meat or a hamburger can help lower inflammation in the body." Try blending soft tofu into dressings or sauces, instead of fatty oils. Firm or extra-firm tofu can be baked, stir-fried or grilled.

Medically reviewed in November 2020.

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