As often as I’ve warned against nonfermented soy, such as fresh or dry whole soybeans, soy nuts, soy milk and tofu, I’ve also extolled the wonderful health benefits of traditionally fermented foods, and fermented soy is part of that pack.
After a long fermentation process, the phytic acid and antinutrient levels of the soybeans are reduced, and their beneficial properties – such as the creation of natural probiotics -- become available to your digestive system.
It also greatly reduces the levels of dangerous isoflavones, which are similar to estrogen in their chemical structure, and can interfere with the action of your own estrogen production.
So if you want to take advantage of the health benefits of soy, go ahead! Just make sure you’re eating the fermented varieties and avoid all nonfermented soy products.
Healthy options include:
Natto, fermented soybeans with a sticky texture and strong, cheese-like flavor. It's loaded with nattokinase, a very powerful blood thinner.
Natto is actually a food you could eat nearly every day as it is the highest source of vitamin K2 on the planet and has a very powerful beneficial bacteria, bacillus subtilis. It can usually be found in any Asian grocery store.
Tempeh, a fermented soybean cake with a firm texture and nutty, mushroom-like flavor.
Miso, a fermented soybean paste with a salty, buttery texture (commonly used in miso soup).
Soy sauce: traditionally, soy sauce is made by fermenting soybeans, salt and enzymes, however be wary because many varieties on the market are made artificially using a chemical process.