Soybean or Soya bean is a leguminous plant that is native to East Asia. Soybean is widely cultivated for its edible beans that is well known for their numerous use. According to UN Food and Agricultural Organization, this plant has been classed as an oilseed rather than as a pulse by FAO.
Glycine Max or Soybean is also a cheap source of fat free protein which is used for animal feed. The soy vegetable oil is another product that we get from this crop. Traditional non-fermented uses of soybean consisted of products like soy milk and from the latter tofu and tofu skin. Fermented food products those that are produced out of soybeans are soy sauce, natto, fermented soybean paste, tempeh and others.
Soy oil is also used for several industrial applications. The soy bean contains a great quantity of alpha-linolenic acid, phytic acid and isoflavones. According to statistical records the main producers of this leguminous crop are countries like USA, Brazil, Argentina, China and India.
It may be noted over here that for human consumption, soybean is needed to be cooked with wet-heat to destroy the serine protease inhibitors inside the beans. Thus raw or green soybeans are referred to as toxic for all mono-gastric animals.
According to several agencies soybean is considered as a source of complete protein. Hence soybean foods are acknowledged as a good source of protein among vegans and vegetarians or even for those people who wants to reduce on the amount of meat they eat every day.
Here are some of the most essential health benefits of soybean:
Promotes cardiac health
As elevated serum cholesterol levels can lead to atherosclerosis and thereby increase the risk of cardiac diseases, substituting saturated fat sources with unsaturated fats such as soy oil, helps in lowering our bad cholesterols. Oil produced out of soybean are rich source of polyunsaturated fatty acids and two other fatty acids which are known as Linolenic acid and Linoleic acid that aids in regulating smooth muscle contractions and our blood pressure. Moreover the soluble fibres that is found in these beans also helps in lowering cholesterol, even when soybean is eaten in other gastronomic forms that potentially reduce the risk of cardiac maladies.
Prevents colon cancer and promotes digestive health
Soybean is a rich source of insoluble fibers that helps in adding bulk to stool and thus aid in passing the waste quickly through our digestive track. It has been found by research done on this high fiber diet in Mayo Clinic-USA that diets that are rich in high fibers helps in promoting digestive health and in normalizing our bowel movements. Adding soybean products to our diet may also help in preventing diverticular disease, colon cancer, constipation and hemorrhoids.
Supports bone density
It has been found that soybean has a high concentration of calcium that is necessary for our bone health. Hence eating soybean also helps in offering protection against osteoporosis.
Eases symptoms of menopause
Soybean contains Isoflavones, which are chemicals that has chemical structure very similar to estrogen hormone. So during the menopausal stage, Isoflavones binds the estrogen receptors in cells, when estrogen level drops in women, and eases symptoms like hot flushes during menopause.
Helps in concentration
Since soybean contains trace elements like phosphorous, it has been studied that eating soy products helps in improving mental abilities.
Apart from the above stated benefits, it has also been found that soybean products are good for preventing breast cancer and disease like endometriosis.