While soy foods make a very nourishing contribution to your diet, you can reap special healthy benefits by consuming soy foods that have been fermented.
In many Asian traditions, soybeans have always undergone processes of fermentation. Fermentation converts the soy into a more digestible food. During fermentation, soy proteins get broken down into shorter protein strands (called polypeptides) or even into single amino acids. These protein forms require less chemical activity in our digestive tract and are much better prepared for digestion than whole, intact proteins. Less time in our guts means these nutrients are being used right away, giving us more energy, health, and vibrancy. We don’t want all of our bodies resources to go towards digesting food, so quick digestion is essential to feeling light and capable- otherwise we tend to feel somewhat sluggish and “out of it”.
Soy is fermented through the use of friendly bacteria. Friendly bacteria also contributes to ease in digestion by nourishing the colon. Friendly bacteria is essential to colon health and I highly encourage you to consume fermented foods for this alone! And, there is more to fermented foods than just colon health and digestibility. Friendly bacteria produces a host of antioxidants that heal the dermal layer of skin, and increases the strength of the skin collagen and other body connective tissues! Happy, vibrant skin comes from strong cell walls and clean blood feeding the cells good nutrition. The antioxidants produced byt the friendly bacteria in fermented soy combat the free radicals in the body that weaken cell structure, and help repair those cells that have been damaged. If you’ve ever though your skin looked dull or bland, a food like fermented soy will give your skin the a refreshing zing.
From a manufacturing standpoint, there are challenges with traditional fermentation methods for soy. Proper fermenting takes time and adds complexity to production. This means that taste and texture may not be consistent and may not match with what you might expect. Also, lengthy fermentation processes bring a cost factor into production, resulting into a higher price at market. However, even just to buy a fermented product once and a while to spice up your repetoir is worth it for your health. Fermented so is so nutritious and there are such unique health benefits provided by fermented soy foods that I encourage you to try fermented soy products like tempeh, miso, and tamari for their powerful health benefits.