Soybean is a legume in the pea family and a popular one. It has been and continues to be a staple in many Indian cuisines. This popularity can be traced to the fact that soy offers one of the few complete plant proteins, making it perfect for people following strict vegan and vegetarian diets. The high-quality protein in soy makes it an ideal substitute for meat and other animal protein sources.
However, to appreciate soy more, you may have to read some U.S. Soy articles to know a lot more about this legume. For instance, it contains a hormone-like substance known as phytoestrogens which are known to mimic estrogen. For some people, this mimicking is beneficial as it leads to positive effects.
Those with experience have found that consuming soy-rich foods can minimize risks of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease (CHD), and stroke and, in some cases, prevent certain types of cancers. Soy is also said to have an impact on bone health. However, these are not the only benefits that come with soy consumption. Keep reading to know more on this subject.
Understanding the Soybean
Before adding any food product to your diet, you must understand its nutritional profile. The last thing you want is to consume an excess of a specific substance just because you do not know what it contains.
A cup / of 186 grams of soybeans contains about 56g of carbohydrates and 830 calories. To further break down soybean’s composition, look at its nutrient profile below.
- 67 g protein
- 17 g fiber
- 37 g fat
- 29 mg iron
- 515 mg calcium
- 3 grams of phosphorus
- 521 mg magnesium
- 3 g potassium
- 41 IU of vitamin A
- 698 micrograms of folate
The profile above captures the nutrient composition of raw mature soybeans. However, you can still consume soybean in other forms, including roasted soybeans, which have more energy than fiber, protein, and carbohydrates. However, most nutrients are retained despite roasting or cooking the soybeans.
Soybeans Phyto Chemical Composition
Soybeans contain active ingredients, including carotenoids, tocopherols, sphingolipids, phospholipids, lunasin, saponins, isoflavones, and phytates.
They have anti-nutrients which include Phytic acid/ phytates. Phytic acid binds or chelates to magnesium, calcium, and potassium ions. The said minerals are bound to proteins in the body cells. With changing pH conditions, phytic acid will bind to proteins and mineral ions, making them less bioavailable.
Whenever one consumes soy, the phytic acid/phytates in the soybeans will react with gut enzymes. This means that it loses a part of the chelating/ trapping power.
Types of Soy
As already mentioned, there are different ways to enjoy soy, depending on the type you choose to eat. Generally, there are three significant types of soy from which other soy products are made. Below are the different types you ought to know.
- Green soybeans: These young green soybeans are often referred to as edamame. These are usually steamed and eaten out of the pods as appetizers by those who enjoy them. Sometimes they can be shelled and used in soups, salads, and stir-fried dishes.
- Yellow soybeans: These are probably the most common type of soybean that soybean product manufacturers also prefer. It is often used in making soy milk, tamari, tofu, and tempeh. It is also the kind that is used in making soy baking flour.
- Black soybeans: This is a common ingredient in many Asia dishes. They are typically considered a cultural food that is often simmered or cooked as fermented black soybeans in traditional Asian dishes.
Most manufacturers make products, especially those that can act as dairy substitutes for soy. For example, soy cheese and soy milk are common substitutes people turn to when they choose to go dairy-free. Usually, it is from soy, as mentioned above, that most other soy products are derived. Besides food and milk, you can also get sauces from soybeans, the most popular being soy sauce, Teriyaki, and shoyu sauces.
Nutritional Benefits of Soy
Now that you understand the composition and the different types of soy available, your next step is to appreciate the gains these legumes offer. Fortunately, soy is loaded with numerous nutritional benefits you ought to know. These include:
1. May Protect the Skin
Soybean exhibits positive anti-inflammatories, antioxidant, collagen-stimulating, skin-lightening, and UV-protecting traits. This makes it an excellent anti-aging skin ingredient, which is why most skin care products tend to incorporate them.
Soy contains active bioactive ingredients like isoflavonoids, proanthocyanidins, tannins, and trypsin inhibitors. Skin products with extracts rich in the mentioned components are great for dermatology and cosmetology.
Soybean trypsin inhibitors are a specific protein in soybean that helps with pigmentation. It is known to have depigmentation capabilities. These properties reduce pigment deposition, and soybean anthocyanins tend to inhibit melanin production.
Other benefits to the skin include a collagen production boost. More studies also reveal how soybean can help with inflammation and wrinkling caused by the sun’s rays. However, more research needs to be done on this subject for better certainty and confirmation of claims.
2. Soy May Potentially Help with Weight Management and Cholesterol Control
Several types of research have been done, and revelations have been made regarding the positive impact of soy on fat. Soy affects fat mass and overall body weight. Findings show that soybean significantly helps lower triglyceride and plasma cholesterol levels.
3. Soy May Minimize the Presence of Hormone-Dependent Cancer
The isoflavones in soy have been a primary research subject for their anti-cancer properties. Some research shows that soy can help minimize the risks of breast cancer in pre-menopausal women. Soybean is also rich in isoflavones, daidzein, and genistein precursors suspected to have antiestrogenic effects. Consequently, it is possible that they help with breast cancer reduction.
4. Soy May Help in the Management of Diabetes
Supplementing your soy in diets can help blood glucose control in patients with Type 2 diabetes. The dietary fiber, complex carbohydrates, and valuable minerals make this a reality. Phytoestrogens, as well as soy peptides, also help as they lower the glycemic value of the legumes, benefitting diabetic individuals.
Soy is one of the world’s best foods and dietary supplements. It is rich in nutrients, and adding them to your diet may provide various health benefits, such as improved heart health, lower risk of certain cancers, etc. Check out the type that is more palatable to you and try it.