The health benefits of Soybean are such that it helps in improving metabolic activity, helps in healthy weight gain, prevents cancer, boosts heart health, relieves menopausal symptoms, boosts digestive health, improves bone health, prevents birth defects, improves blood circulation, controls diabetes, relieves sleep disorders, helps in cell growth and regeneration.
Soybean (Glycine max), also called soya bean, is an annual legume of the pea family (Fabaceae) that have become one of the most widely consumed foods in the world. They are extremely useful for human health, and are easy to cultivate as well. They are produced in greatest numbers in the United States and South America, but they are actually native to East Asia. Soybeans have become very important and popular in recent decades because of the rise of soy food’s popularity, including soy milk and textured vegetable protein. The high levels of protein make it an ideal protein source for vegetarians, and the wide variety of soy products has created a massive new market.
Soybeans are perhaps best known for their fantastic blend of protein and fibre. But soybeans are also an excellent source of molybdenum and copper. They are a very good source of manganese, phosphorus, and protein as well as a good source of iron, omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fibre, vitamin B2, magnesium, vitamin K and potassium. There are also a wide range of unique proteins, peptides, and phytonutrients contained in soybeans. These nutrients include flavonoids and iso-flavonoids (such as daidzein, genistein, malonylgenistin and malonyldaidzin), phenolic acids (for example caffeic, coumaric, ferulic, gallic and sinapic acids), phytoalexins (like glyceollin I, glyceollin II, and glyceollin III), phytosterols (such as beta-sitosterol, beta-stigmasterol, campestrol), unique proteins and peptides (like defensins, glycinin, conglycinin, and lunacin) and saponins (for example soyasaponins from group A and group B, and soyasapogenols).
Soybeans are an extremely important source of protein. Sufficient amount of proteins in the body helps in maintaining proper metabolic functions and the overall system gets a major boost. Proteins are the building blocks of cells and blood vessels and are basically a very essential part of the human body. Proteins from soybeans ensure the proper health and regrowth of cells if they need to be repaired or replaced. Soybeans provide an excellent replacement for the proteins normally acquired in red meat, chicken, eggs, dairy products, and fish and provides the required protein nutrition, especially to the vegetarians.
Soybeans actually work in both ways. First of all, soybeans and soy-based products have been associated with appetite suppression, which can help people to eliminate overeating, which can lead to obesity and all of the related risks. However, soybeans also provide a decent amount of fibre and protein, which can lead to weight gain, if soybeans are eaten in large quantities. Therefore, soybeans are beneficial for people who want to both lose and gain weight. Furthermore, the weight that it can provide to the body is not unhealthy high-fat or high cholesterol in nature and it protects from dangerous conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
The levels of antioxidants in soybeans make it generally good for preventing the onset of various cancers. Antioxidants seek out and neutralize free radicals, which are the dangerous by-products of cellular metabolism. These free radicals can cause healthy cells to mutate into deadly cancer cells. Furthermore, the high fibre content in soybean meals has been related to a reduction in colorectal and colon cancer, since fibre helps to ease the digestive process and put far less strain on the gastrointestinal system.
Soybeans do supply some fat, but does not provide any saturated fat diet. Soybeans are a source of healthier, unsaturated fat, which helps to lower the harmful cholesterols in the body. This prevents conditions like atherosclerosis, which can easily lead to heart attacks and strokes. Furthermore, there are some specific fatty acids that are necessary for a healthy system. These fatty acids which are found in significant amounts in soybeans helps to regulate smooth muscle functioning in the body and helps to maintain appropriate blood pressure levels. Finally, the fibre in soybeans has actually been shown to reduce the cholesterol levels in the body by scraping off the excess cholesterols from the walls of blood vessels and arteries.
Soybeans are a very good source of iso-flavonoids which are essential components of the female reproductive system. During menopause, oestrogen levels drop significantly. Iso-flavonoids are able to bind to oestrogen receptor cells and so the body doesn’t feel that it is going through such a dramatic decrease. This can ease many of the symptoms of menopause such as mood swings, hot flashes, and hunger pains. Menopause can be a traumatic time of life for many women, but soybeans are a great way to ease that major life transition.
One of the most common elements to be lacking in a person’s diet is dietary fibre. Fibre is an essential part of a healthy body, particularly in terms of the digestive system. Fibre actually bulks up the faeces material, making its movement through the digestive system smooth. Furthermore, fibre stimulates proper peristaltic motion and prevents constipation. Fibre is vital for the body because constipation can be a very serious condition that can lead to more serious conditions, including colorectal cancer.
A very high vitamin and mineral content in soybeans, and impressive levels of calcium, magnesium, copper, selenium, and zinc are very important for a variety of processes in the body. The most important is their role in maintaining bone health. All of these elements are essential for promoting osteotrophic activity, which allows new bones to grow and also speeds up the healing process of bones. Eating soybeans can be a long-term solution for problems like osteoporosis, which commonly occurs with aging especially in women.
The vitamin B complex levels in soybeans are impressive as well, and the high levels of folic acid are very important for pregnant women. Folic acid ensures the prevention of neural tube defects in infants, which ensures the birth of a healthy baby.
Copper and iron are the two minerals found in abundance in soybeans, and both of these are essential for the formation of red blood cells. With an appropriate amount of red blood cells in the body, extremities of the body and essential organ systems can get the necessary blood flow and oxygen that they need to function efficiently. This maximizes metabolic activity and at the same time increases energy levels, while also avoiding dangerous conditions like anaemia.
Soybeans are an effective method for prevention and management of diabetes, primarily because soybeans have shown an ability to increase insulin receptors in the body and thereby helping to manage the disease effectively or prevent it from occurring. Studies focusing on this specific relationship of soy products to a decrease the effects of Type 2 diabetes are still in their initial stages, but the results are very promising, primarily in Asian populations.
Soybeans help to regulate a number of aspects of the metabolism, which in turn helps in reducing sleep disorders and the occurrence of insomnia. Soybeans also have a high content of magnesium, which is a mineral that is directly linked to increase the quality, duration, and restfulness of a person’s sleep.
Soybean oil, extracted from Soybeans, is a rich source of vitamin with small molecular structure that can penetrate the epidermis. Soybeans can actually nestle inside the cellular structure and help in stimulating the synthesis of collagen and elastin with other proteins. These properties are vital for cell growth and for reversing the formation abnormal cell.
Soybeans are directly used as food, mainly in Asian countries such as China, India, Japan and Indonesia. Whole beans may be eaten as a vegetable, or crushed and incorporated into tofu, tempeh, soya milk or soy sauce. Soybeans can also be processed into flours and protein additives.
Soybean is also used as an ingredient in many baked and fried products, as well as in margarine, in frying fats, or bottled as cooking oil. Lecithin derived from soybeans is one of the most common additives in processed foods, found in anything from chocolate bars to smoothies.
Soybean oil has also been used to produce biodiesel, although this remains a very small proportion of the total soybean production.
The consumption of Soybean as well as other soy-based products are likely safe for health. However, there are two potentially negative health effects of consuming soybeans as a part of one’s daily diet.
Firstly, since there are oestrogen-mimicking compounds in soybeans, men can occasionally develop a hormonal imbalance if they consume high amounts of soybeans or soy milk. In men, this can lead to infertility, sexual dysfunction, lower sperm count, and even an increase in the chances of certain cancers.
Secondly, there are certain anti-thyroid compounds contained in soybeans that can disrupt the activity of the thyroid gland and result in goitre, as well as an interruption of normal hormonal activity in the body.
Soybeans have been cultivated in China for thousands of years, and they also became popular in other Asian countries (especially Japan and Korea) over a thousand years ago (as early as the third and fourth centuries AD).
Many countries in the world depend on soybeans and other legumes as key sources of dietary protein. However, for the past 30-35 years, soybeans have seldom been produced in the United States for the purpose of being consumed in whole food form by humans. Instead, a $20 billion industry has grown up around the cultivation of soybeans as an 'oilseed' crop that can be traded alongside of other interchangeable commodities like rapeseed, sunflower seed, and cottonseed. Even though the United States has become the world's larger grower of soybeans (producing approximately 83 million metric tons of soybeans on 75 million acres of land), these soybeans are not being cultivated for human food use but for other purposes (their extractable oil and their processing into animal feed). This historical trend has given rise to a whole new classification of soybeans as an 'oilseed crop' or 'oilseed commodity'. When economists talk about soybeans that are intended to be consumed in whole food form by humans, they use the terms 'vegetable soybeans' or 'garden soybeans' or 'edible soybeans' to describe this food.
This new interest in soybeans as an oilseed crop has also been accompanied by widespread genetic engineering of the legume. Nearly 90% of all soy products in the U.S. marketplace now come from soybeans that have been genetically engineered (GE), making them one of the world's top foods in terms of genetic modification. Genetic engineering of soybeans began as early as 1998 with the introduction of soybeans into the marketplace that had been modified for better resistance to the commercial herbicide glufosinate ammonium. Since 1998, at least eight other GE patents have been granted for use on soybeans, most of them involving better resistance to pesticides and herbicides.