Health Benefits of Soybean: An Alternative to Dairy and Meat
Soybean is the richest plant source of protein. It contains up to 43 percent of protein as compared to other legumes, which contain only 20 to 25 percent. According to the World Health Organization, the quality of soy protein is equivalent to that of meat and cow milk proteins. In exact terms, 250 g of soybean is equivalent to the protein found in about 3 litres of cow milk or 1 kilo of mutton or 24 eggs. So here we will discuss the health benefits of soybean. Read on!
Soybeans (Glycine max), also called soja bean or soya bean are annual legume of the pea family (Fabaceae). Many botanists believe soybean was first domesticated in central China as early as 7000 BCE. Soybean has its uses in China, Japan, and Korea for thousands of years as a food as well as a component of medicines.
Soybeans came to the United States in 1804 and became particularly important in the South and Midwest in the mid-20th century. Soybeans were later introduced into other regions of Asia centuries. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that it became popular for more than animal feed in the West.
Did You Know?
– Soybean oil provides an environment friendly biofuel for diesel engines
– Soybeans also find their way into candles, cleaning products and haircare products
– Soybean is the richest natural source of dietary fiber
– Soy ink has its uses for printing purposes
The soybean is an erect branching plant and can reach over 2 meters (6.5 feet) in height. Its flowers are white or a shade of purple. Seeds can be yellow, green, brown, black and even bi-coloured. Most commercial varieties have brown seeds, with one to four seeds per pod.
Soybeans are usually harvested mechanically, after the leaves have fallen off the plant and the moisture content of the seed has dropped, permitting safe storage. Like other legumes, the plant infuses nitrogen to the soil by means of nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Historically, it has been an important soil-enriching crop.
Health benefits of Soybeans
There are several health benefits of Soybeans, including their ability to improve metabolism, help in healthy weight gain, defend against cancer, protect heart health, and reduce the effects of menopause. They improve digestion, promote bone health, increase circulation, protect against birth defects, decrease the risk of diabetes, and generally tone up the body.
The health benefits of soybeans come from the nutrients, vitamins, and organic compounds as well as a significant amount of dietary fiber and a very large amount of protein. In terms of vitamins, soybeans contain vitamin K, riboflavin, folate, vitamin B6, thiamin, and vitamin C. Soybeans also contain significant amounts of iron, manganese, phosphorus, copper, potassium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, and calcium. Soybean also contains a high percentage of good oil, which is a healthy source of Omega-3 and six fatty acids similar to those found in fish oils.
Good for heart
Soybeans are a source of healthier, unsaturated fat, which helps you lower your blood cholesterol. This allows you to prevent conditions like atherosclerosis. Furthermore, fatty acids (linoleic acid and linolenic acid) present in soybeans, regulate smooth muscle function in the body and help maintain appropriate blood pressure levels. The fiber in soybeans helps reduce cholesterol levels in the body by scraping excess cholesterol off the walls of blood vessels and arteries. Soy is also a good functional food for heart health.
Healthy for bones
Soybeans have a high vitamin and mineral content as well as impressive levels of calcium, magnesium, copper, selenium, and zinc. They are very important for a variety of processes in the body, most importantly for bones. These elements are essential for promoting orthotropic activity, which allows for new bones to grow and also speeds up the healing process of the bones. Eating soybeans can be a long-term natural solution for problems like osteoporosis, which commonly occurs as we age.
Healthy weight gain
Soybeans and soy-based products can help with appetite suppression to control overeating. Benefits of soybeans include providing a decent amount of fiber and protein. They help in weight gain, if you eat it in sufficiently large quantities. Therefore, soybeans are beneficial for people who want to lose weight as well as the ones who want to gain mass.
Minimizes symptoms of menopause
Soybeans are a great source of isoflavones, which are essential for the female reproductive system. During menopause, estrogen levels drop significantly. Isoflavones are able to bind to estrogen receptors on the cells, so the body doesn’t feel as though it is going through such a dramatic change. This can ease many of the symptoms of menopause, such as mood swings, hot flashes, and hunger pangs.
Prevent neural tube defect in fetus
The high levels of vitamin B complex and folic acid in soybeans are very important for the wellbeing of pregnant women. Folic acid also ensures the prevention of neural tube defects in infants, which ensures a happy and healthy baby.
Relieve Sleep Disorders
Soybeans have a high content of magnesium, which is directly linked to increasing the quality, duration, and restfulness of sleep. So we can say that soybeans help in reducing sleep disorders and the occurrence of insomnia.
How to include soybean in your diet?
Soybean is extensively consumed as soy milk, a whitish liquid suspension. In addition, tofu, a curd somewhat resembling cottage cheese is quite popular too. Soybeans are also sprouted for use as a salad ingredient or as a vegetable. You can even roast and eat it as a snack food.
Young soybeans, known as edamame, are commonly steamed or boiled and you can even eat directly from the pod. Soy sauce, a salty brown liquid is produced from crushed soybeans and wheat that undergo yeast fermentation in salt water for six months to a year. It is a ubiquitous ingredient in Asian cooking. Other fermented soy foods include tempeh and miso.
Additionally, you can eat soybean are in numerous ways – roasted, sprinkled with salt and boiled. Soybeans work great as meat substitutes. Soybeans, especially roasted ones are relatively high in calories. So adding them to your diet without reducing your total calorie intake can cause weight gain. To lose weight, eat soybeans in place of higher-calorie foods. Make a veggie burger with soybeans, grated carrots and zucchini instead of full-fat ground beef. For a snack, having edamame instead of cheese and crackers can cut calories and saturated fat while still providing fiber and calcium.
In brief, soy is not only nutritious; it’s incredibly versatile. Also, when used as a meat substitute, you’ll be able to save on your grocery bill. What are your favorite soy recipes? Share them with us in the comments section!
Disclaimers – Soybeans have estrogen-mimicking compounds, men can occasionally develop a hormone imbalance if they consume high amounts of soybeans or soy milk. In men, this can cause infertility, sexual dysfunction, lower sperm count, and even an increase in the chances of certain cancers.
100g of soybean provides 446 Calories, Carbs – 30g (Dietary Fibre – 9.3g, Sugar – 7.3g), Protein – 36g, Fat – 20g, Sodium – 2mg
And a percentage daily value of Vitamin A – 0%, Vitamin C – 10%, Iron – 87%, Calcium – 28% (based on a 2000 Calorie diet).