The United Soybean Board’s 17th Annual Consumer Attitudes About Nutrition survey reveals Americans continue to recognize soy for its health benefits. More than half of Americans, similar to years past, believe soy-based foods can play a role in reducing obesity, and compared to past years, significantly more consumers recognize soy as heart healthy.

When it comes to food and health, three out of four consumers say they have changed their eating habits in the past three to five years due to health concerns. The health benefits consumers most often note include that soy is heart healthy, low in fat, a source of protein and good for you. In addition, they know that soy lowers cholesterol.

“Consumers are right on the mark with their associations of the health benefits of soy,” says Gretchen Hofing, Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) soyfoods health educator and a registered dietitian based in Lenawee County. “The FDA has approved a health claim stating 25 g of soy protein a day may reduce the risk of developing heart disease,” she notes. “Research continues to point toward other health benefits as well, such as prevention of some cancers, alleviation of hot flash symptoms, dairy and peanut allergy management and possible osteoporosis prevention,” Hofing adds.

According to the survey, consumers are most familiar with soymilk, soybean oil, tofu and soy veggie burgers with more than one-third (37%) of Americans consuming soyfoods or soy beverages at least once a month. Soymilk leads the way for soy consumption while edamame popularity has more than tripled in the last five years to bring it to the number two spot in 2010. Plain white tofu comes in at third, while consumers name soybean oil as one of their two most common cooking oils.

Here is a sample of a heart-healthy and tasty soy recipe.