Soy Foods for Healthy Cholesterol

Filed Under: Heart Health, Cholesterol, Food and Nutrition
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

It’s one thing to say “eat more soy” to help maintain good cholesterol levels or as part of a plan for reducing cholesterol. It’s quite another to actually put that advice into action. So here are my top recommendations of soy-based foods and how to use them.

Soy is known to be one of the two most genetically modified foods in the United States (corn is the other). Given this, I strongly recommend sticking with “true” soy foods, meaning edamame (the beans themselves), tofu, and tempeh (fermented soy). And always, always choose organic.

Easy Edamame

Edamame is the easiest of the three to work with! For a delicious finger food (and great alternative to greasy, unhealthy chips), steam edamame, toss with sea salt, and enjoy!

I also like to toss edamame into my salads for a quick hit of protein. In fact, 1/2 cup of edamame gives you 150 mg soy isoflavones a day.

Turn Up Your Tofu

Let’s face it, tofu is rather bland. But that doesn’t have to be the case! Tofu is like a culinary chameleon, meaning that whatever you add to tofu, it magically “becomes.” Therefore, the secret to tofu is marinade and spice.

The easiest tofu recipe I know is to mix 2/3 cup tamari sauce, 2/3 cup olive oil, and 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar. Add 2-3 tablespoons of your favorite spice mix and blend well. Cut tofu block into five slices. Add to marinade and refrigerate (covered) for at least four hours. Lightly sauté and you have a delicious meal that can be pair with virtually any side dish!

You can also “soak” tofu in your favorite barbeque sauce, cut into slices, and grill. So delicious! Pair with a salad and some roasted vegetables and you have an easy, delicious, healthy meal in no time. And, just one cup of tofu provides 70 mg soy isoflavones as part of a healthy cholesterol loweing diet.

Tempting Tempeh

This one seems to baffle even the most devout soy lover. The simplest answer? Treat like ground meat. Simply crumble tempeh and lightly sauté with onions and peppers. Add some diced tomatoes and your favorite blend of Italian spices and you have a delicious pasta sauce!

Another favorite? Add tempeh to chili to give it a protein-powered boost without altering the flavor of your favorite recipe. Again, crumble the tempeh to achieve the best texture and mouth feel. And, like tofu, just one cup of tempeh gives you 70 mg soy isoflavones.

If you have any recipes, tips, or questions regarding healthy heart nutrition, please send them in so we can share them with other healthy epicures!

For more information on healthy cholesterol options and healthy heart nutrition, visit

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