ST. LOUIS -- Soy continues to be a versatile crop as the soybean checkoff explores and promotes its many food and other uses. In April, soyfoods month, it's time to remember that soyfoods can be healthy and easy to include in your diet every day.

"Many U.S. soybean farmers don't realize that soyfoods are a product of their soybeans," says Jim Stillman, soybean farmer from Emmetsburg, Iowa, and soybean checkoff farmer-leader. "They think about the soybean meal for animal feed and oil for biodiesel, but most soybean oil is actually consumed by humans. The soyfoods market is a small market, but a good and healthy one to create additional demand."

The soybean checkoff and United Soybean Board (USB) support research on soyfoods and potential benefits to continue to add more value to U.S. soybeans. Through supporting efforts such as QUALISOY, the checkoff helps to find ways to improve the soybean for human use. Stillman explains two new soybean varieties coming down the research pipeline that will add more value to soybean oil and maintain its demand by the food industry. In fact, soybean oil is already found in most cooking oils, including vegetable oil. A new U.S. soybean variety that produces oil with a higher content of stearic acid is in the works. It has improved applications for baking and frying foods. Another new U.S. soybean variety could have increased omega-3 fatty acids, which may provide health benefits similar to eating nearly a serving of fish.

"The farmer-directors who serve on USB and on many of our state soybean checkoff boards see the value of supporting soyfoods research," adds Stillman. "For example, USB helped create the Soy Nutrition Institute to research benefits, expel myths and share information about soyfoods."

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a heart-healthy claim for soy more than a decade ago that states 25 grams of soy protein per day may reduce the risk of heart disease. In addition, the soybean checkoff helps facilitate research on several other potential benefits such as soy's effects on menopause and breast cancer.

Many soyfoods exist today with plenty of ways to add soy to your diet to take advantage of the healthful benefits of soybeans. For more information on soyfoods, visit www.unitedsoybean.org.

SOURCE: United Soybean Board.