What is Soybean?
Soybeans, which are also known as soya beans, are a species of legume that has become one of the most widely consumed foods in the world. They are extremely useful for human health and they are easy to cultivate as well. These legumes are produced in greatest numbers in the United States and South America, but they are actually native to East Asia.
Their scientific name is Glycine max, and they are classified as an oilseed, rather than a pulse, like most legumes. Soybeans have become wildly important and popular in recent decades because of the rise in soy food’s popularity, including soy milk and textured vegetable protein. The high levels of protein make these soy products an ideal protein source for vegetarians and the variety of soy products has created a massive new market altogether.
One of the reasons soybeans are widely cultivated is because they contain more protein per acre of land than any other crop. They grow up to 2 meters in height and are a green, low-lying plant. Furthermore, soybeans are packed with other essential nutrients, making them extremely important for people on diets, those who need to improve their overall health, and vegetarians and vegans throughout the world. We can talk about the importance of soybeans all day, but why are they so important? What exactly is found in these wonderful beans? Let’s take a closer look at the nutrition facts of soybeans.
Soybean which are also known as soybean are a good source of protein, B vitamins and minerals. They have many health benefits which includes heart health, aids in digestion , reduces cancer risk, relieve menopausal symptoms among others.
Soybeans have a wealth of benefits, including their ability to improve the metabolism, help in healthy weight gain, protect heart health, defend against cancer, and reduce the effects of menopause. They improve digestion, promote bone health, protect against birth defects, increase circulation, decrease the risk of diabetes, and generally tone up the body.
History of Soybeans
Soybeans were a crucial crop in East Asia long before written records began. There is evidence for soybean domestication between 7000 and 6600 BC in China, between 5000 and 3000 BC in Japan and 1000 BC in Korea. Prior to fermented products such as fermented black soybeans (douchi), jiang (Chinese miso), soy sauce, tempeh, natto, and miso, soy was considered sacred for its beneficial effects in crop rotation.
Soybeans were introduced to Java in Malay Archipelago circa 13th century or probably earlier. By the 17th century through their trade with Far East, soybeans and its products were traded by European traders (Portuguese, Spanish, and Dutch) in Asia, and supposedly reached Indian Subcontinent by this period.
By the 18th century, soybeans were introduced to the Americas and Europe. Soy was introduced to Africa from China in the late 19th century, and is now widespread across the continent. They are now a major crop in the United States, Brazil, Argentina, India, and China.
The closest living relative of the soybean is Glycine soja (previously called G. ussuriensis), a legume native to central China.According to the ancient Chinese myth, in 2853 BC, the legendary Emperor Shennong of China proclaimed that five plants were sacred: soybeans, rice, wheat, barley, and millet. Cultivation of soybeans took place over long periods of time in the prehistory of modern-day Japan, Korea and Northern China, based on archaeological evidence.
The origin of soy bean cultivation remains scientifically debated. Early Chinese records mention that soybeans were a gift from the region of Manchuria and the Korean peninsula. Recent research, however, indicates that seeding of wild forms started early (before 5000 BC) in multiple locations throughout East Asia. The Great Soviet Encyclopedia claims soybean cultivation originated in China about 5000 years ago. Some scholars suggest that soybean originated in China and was domesticated about 3500 BC.
However, the oldest preserved soybeans resembling modern varieties in size and shape were found in archaeological sites in Korea dated about 1000 BC.Radiocarbon dating of soybean samples recovered through flotation during excavations at the Early Mumun period Okbang site in Korea indicated soybean was cultivated as a food crop in around 1000–900 BC.Soybeans from the Jomon period in Japan from 3000 BC are also significantly larger than wild varieties.
The cultivation of soybeans began in the eastern half of northern China by 2000 BC, but is almost certainly much older. Soybeans became an important crop by the Zhou Dynasty (c. 1046 – 256 BC) in China. However, the details of where, when, and under what circumstances soybean developed a close relationship with people are poorly understood. Soy bean was unknown in South China before the Han period. From about the first century AD to the Age of Discovery (15–16th centuries), soybeans were introduced into across South and Southeast Asia. This spread was due to the establishment of sea and land trade routes. The earliest Japanese textual reference to the soybean is in the classic Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters), which was completed in 712 AD.
Many people have claimed soybeans in Asia were historically only used after a fermentation process, which lowers the high phytoestrogens content found in the raw plant. However, terms similar to “soy milk” have been in use since 82 AD, and there is evidence of tofu consumption that dates to 220.
Soybeans were mentioned as kadêlê (modern Indonesian term: kedelai) in an old Javanese manuscript, Serat Sri Tanjung, which dates around the 12th to 13th century Java. By the 13th century, the soybean had arrived and cultivated in Indonesia; it probably arrived much earlier however, carried by traders or merchants from Southern China. The earliest known reference to it as “tempeh” appeared in 1815 in the Serat Centhini manuscript. The development of tempeh fermented soybean cake were probably took place earlier, circa 17th century in Java.
By the 1600s, soy sauce spread from southern Japan across the region through the Dutch East India Company (VOC). The soybean probably arrived from southern China, moving southwest into northern parts of Indian Subcontinent by this period.
In 1603, “Vocabvlario da Lingoa de Iapam”, a famous Japanese-Portuguese dictionary, was compiled and published by Jesuit priests in Nagasaki. It contains short but clear definitions for about 20 words related to soyfoods – the first in any European language.
The Luso-Hispanic traders were familiar with soybeans and soybean product through their trade with Far East since at least 17th century. However, it was not until the late 19th century that the first attempt to cultivate soybeans in the Iberian peninsula was undertaken. In 1880, the soybean was first cultivated in Portugal in the Botanical Gardens at Coimbra (Crespi 1935).
In about 1910 in Spain the first attempts at Soybean cultivation were made by the Count of San Bernardo, who cultivated soybeans on his estates at Almillo (in southwest Spain) about 48 miles east-northeast of Seville.
Soybeans were first introduced to North America from China in 1765, by Samuel Bowen, a former East India Company sailor who had visited China in conjunction with James Flint, the first Englishman legally permitted by the Chinese authorities to learn Chinese. The first “New World” soybean crop was grown on Skidaway Island, Georgia in 1765 by Henry Yonge from seeds given him by Samuel Bowen. Bowen grew soy near Savannah, Georgia, possibly using funds from Flint, and made soy sauce for sale to England. Although, soybean was introduced into North America in 1765, for the next 155 years, the crop was grown primarily for forage.
In 1831, the first soy product “a few dozen India Soy” arrived in Canada. Soybeans were probably first cultivated in Canada by 1855, and definitely in 1895 at Ontario Agricultural College. It was not until Lafayette Mendel and Thomas Burr Osborne showed that the nutritional value of soybean seeds could be increased by cooking, moisture or heat, that soy went from a farm animal feed to a human food.
William Morse is considered the “father” of modern soybean agriculture in America. He and Charles Piper (Dr. C. V. Piper) took what was an unknown Oriental peasant crop in 1910 and transformed it into a “golden bean” for America becoming one of America’s largest farm crops and its most nutritious.
Prior to the 1920 in the USA, the soybean was mainly a forage crop, a source of oil, meal (for feed) and industrial products, with very little used as food. However, it took on an important role after World War I. During the Great Depression, the drought-stricken (Dust Bowl) regions of the United States were able to use soy to regenerate their soil because of its nitrogen-fixing properties. Farms were increasing production to meet with government demands, and Henry Ford became a promoter of soybeans. He In 1931, Ford hired chemists Robert Boyer and Frank Calvert to produce artificial silk. They succeeded in making a textile fiber of spun soy protein fibers, hardened or tanned in a formaldehyde bath, which was given the name Azlon. It never reached the commercial market. Soybean oil was used to paint the automobiles, as well as fluid for shock absorbers.
Tofu was introduced in Japanese American internment camps during World War II, and gradually spread into the mainstream cuisine. New varieties were developed to improve the blandness of soybean oil. The Counterculture in the San Francisco region popularize soy foods. Although practically unseen in 1900, by 2000 they covered upward of 70 million acres, second only to corn, and it became America’s largest cash crop.
Caribbean and West Indies
The soybean arrived in the Caribbean in the form of soy sauce made by Samuel Bowen in Savannah, Georgia, in 1767. It remains only a minor crop there, but its uses for human food are growing steadily.
The soybean was first cultivated in Italy by 1760 in the Botanical Garden of Turin. During the 1780’s it was grown in at least three other botanical gardens in Italy. In 1935 soybeans are first introduced to Greece by Anton Brillmayer, an Austrian soybean breeder. By 1939, soybeans have been cultivated in Greece. An entire book has been published on the history of soybeans and soy-foods in Greece.
Wild soybeans were discovered in northeastern Australia in 1770 by explorers Banks and Solander. In 1804, the first soy-food product (“Fine India Soy” ) was sold in Sydney. In 1879, the first domesticated soybeans arrived in Australia, a gift of the Minister of the Interior Department, Japan.
The soybean was first cultivated in France by 1779 (and perhaps as early as 1740). The two key early people and organizations introducing the soybean to France were the Society of Acclimatization (starting in 1855) and Li Yu-ying (from 1910). Li started a large tofu factory, where the first commercial soyfoods in France were made.
The soybean first arrived in Africa via Egypt in 1857.
In 1873, Professor Friedrich J. Haberlandt first became interested in soybeans when he obtained the seeds of 19 soybean varieties at the Vienna World Exposition (Wiener Weltausstellung). He cultivated these seeds in Vienna, and soon began to distribute them throughout Central and Western Europe. In 1875, he first grew the soybeans in Vienna, then in early 1876 he sent samples of seeds to seven cooperators in central Europe, who planted and tested the seeds in the spring of 1876, with good or fairly good results in each case. Most of the farmers who received seeds from him cultivated them, then reported their results back to him. Starting in Feb. 1876, he published these results first in various journal articles, and finally in his magnum opus, Die Sojabohne (The Soybean) in 1878. In northern Europe lupin/lupine is known as the “soybean of the north”
A Hitler Youth manual from the 1930s promoted soy beans, which it called “Nazi beans” as an alternative to meat.
The soybean is first in cultivated Transcaucasia in Central Asia in 1876, by the Dungans. This region has never been important for soybean production.
The first reliable reference to the soybean in this region dates from Mexico in 1877.
The soybean first arrived in South America in Argentina in 1882. Andrew McClung showed in the early 1950s that with soil amendments the Cerrado region of Brazil would grow soybeans. The march of soybeans into deforested areas of the Amazon rain forest would come later.
Different Forms of Soybeans
Soybean can be consumed in various forms and various soybeans recipes can be made out of them. Some popular soy products are:
- Bean Curd- It is also known as tofu
- Edamame- they are green soybeans
- Miso Soup- a traditional Japanese soup
- Natto- a traditional Japanese food prepared from fermented soybeans.
- Soybeans- tender, green soybeans
- Soy Cheese- cheese substitute made from soybeans
- Soy Crisps- soy chips made from soy flour.
- Soy Flour- flour made from roasted soybeans
- Soy Milk- made from mature soybeans
- Soy Nuts- crunchy snack food.
- Soy Yogurt- made from soy milk
- Tempeh- made by fermenting soybeans
Uses Of Soybeans
Among the legumes, the soybean is valued for its high (38–45%) protein content as well as its high (approximately 20%) oil content. Soybeans are the second-most valuable agricultural export in the United States, behind corn. Approximately 85% of the world’s soybean crop is processed into soybean meal and soybean oil, the remainder processed in other ways or eaten whole.
Soybeans can be broadly classified as “vegetable” (garden) or field (oil) types. Vegetable types cook more easily, have a mild, nutty flavor, better texture, are larger in size, higher in protein, and lower in oil than field types. Tofu and soy milk producers prefer the higher protein cultivars bred from vegetable soybeans originally brought to the United States in the late 1930s. The “garden” cultivars are generally not suitable for mechanical combine harvesting because there is a tendency for the pods to shatter upon reaching maturity.
Soybean seed contains 18–19% oil. To extract soybean oil from seed, the soybeans are cracked, adjusted for moisture content, rolled into flakes and solvent-extracted with commercial hexane. The oil is then refined, blended for different applications, and sometimes hydrogenated. Soybean oils, both liquid and partially hydrogenated, are exported abroad, sold as “vegetable oil”, or end up in a wide variety of processed foods.
Soybean meal, or soymeal, is the material remaining after solvent extraction of oil from soybean flakes, with a 50% soy protein content. The meal is ‘toasted’ (a misnomer because the heat treatment is with moist steam) and ground in a hammer mill. Ninety-seven percent of soybean meal production globally is used as livestock feed. Soybean meal is also used in some dog foods.
One of the major uses of soybeans globally is as livestock feed, predominantly in the form of soybean meal. Spring grasses are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, whereas soy is predominantly omega-6. The soybean hulls, which mainly consist of the outer coats of the beans removed before oil extraction, can also be fed to livestock, as well as whole soybean seeds after processing.
Food for human consumption
In addition to their use in livestock feed, soybean products are widely used for human consumption. Common soybean products include soy sauce, soy milk, tofu, soy meal, soy flour, textured vegetable protein (TVP), tempeh, soy lecithin and soybean oil. Soybeans may also be eaten with minimal processing, for example in the Japanese food edamame (枝豆 edamame), in which immature soybeans are boiled whole in their pods and served with salt.
In China, Japan, and Korea, soybean and soybean products are a common part of the diet. Tofu (豆腐 dòufu) is thought to have originated in China, along with soy sauce and several varieties of soybean paste used as seasonings. Japanese foods made from soya include miso (味噌), nattō (納豆), kinako (黄粉) and edamame (枝豆), as well as products made with tofu such as atsuage and aburaage. In Korean cuisine, soybean sprouts (콩나물 kongnamul) are used in a variety of dishes, and are the base ingredient in doenjang, cheonggukjang and ganjang. In Vietnam, soybeans are used to make soybean paste (tương) in the North with the most popular products are tương Bần, tương Nam Đàn, tương Cự Đà as a garnish for phở and gỏi cuốn dishes, as well as tofu (đậu hũ or đậu phụ or tàu hũ), soy sauce (nước tương), soy milk (nước đậu in the North or sữa đậu nành in the South), and đậu hũ nước đường (tofu sweet soup).
Soy flour refers to soybeans ground finely enough to pass through a 100-mesh or smaller screen where special care was taken during desolventizing (not toasted) to minimize denaturation of the protein to retain a high protein dispersibility index, for uses such as food extrusion of textured vegetable protein. It is the starting material for production of soy concentrate and soy protein isolate.
Soy flour is made by roasting the soybean, removing the coat, and grinding into a flour. Soy flour is manufactured with different fat levels. Alternatively, raw soy flour omits the roasting step.
Defatted soy flour is obtained from solvent extracted flakes, and contains less than 1% oil.
“Natural or full-fat soy flour is made from unextracted, dehulled beans, and contains about 18% to 20% oil.” Its high oil content requires the use of a specialized Alpine Fine Impact Mill to grind rather than the usual hammer mill. Full-fat soy flour has a lower protein concentration than defatted flour. Extruded Full-Fat soy flour, ground in an Alpine mill, can replace/extend EGGS in baking and cooking Full-fat soy flour is a component of the famous Cornell Bread recipe (think pizza)
Low-fat soy flour is made by adding some oil back into defatted soy flour. Fat levels range from 4.5% to 9%.
High-fat soy flour can also be produced by adding back soybean oil to defatted flour, usually at the level of 15%.
Soy lecithin can be added (up to 15%) to soy flour to make lecithinated soy flour. It increases dispersibility and gives it emulsifying properties.
Soy flour has 50% protein and 5% fiber. It has higher levels of protein, thiamine, riboflavin, phosphorus, calcium, and iron than wheat flour. It does not contain gluten. As a result, yeast-raised breads made with soy flour are dense in texture. Among many uses, soy flour thickens sauces, prevents staling in baked food, and reduces oil absorption during frying. Baking food with soy flour gives it tenderness, moistness, a rich color, and a fine texture.
Soy grits are similar to soy flour except the soybeans have been toasted and cracked into coarse pieces.
Kinako is a soy flour used in Japanese cuisine.
Soy-based infant formula
Soy-based infant formula (SBIF) is sometimes given to infants who are not being strictly breastfed; it can be useful for infants who are either allergic to pasteurized cow milk proteins or who are being fed a vegan diet. It is sold in powdered, ready-to-feed, and concentrated liquid forms.
Some reviews have expressed the opinion that more research is needed to determine what effect the phytoestrogens in soybeans may have on infants. Diverse studies have concluded there are no adverse effects in human growth, development, or reproduction as a result of the consumption of soy-based infant formula. One of these studies, published in the Journal of Nutrition, concludes that there are:
… no clinical concerns with respect to nutritional adequacy, sexual development, neurobehavioral development, immune development, or thyroid disease. SBIFs provide complete nutrition that adequately supports normal infant growth and development. FDA has accepted SBIFs as safe for use as the sole source of nutrition.
Meat and dairy alternatives and extenders
Soybeans can be processed to produce a texture and appearance similar to many other foods. For example, soybeans are the primary ingredient in many dairy product substitutes (e.g., soy milk, margarine, soy ice cream, soy yogurt, soy cheese, and soy cream cheese) and meat alternatives (e.g. veggie burgers). These substitutes are readily available in most supermarkets. Soy milk does not naturally contain significant amounts of digestible calcium. Many manufacturers of soy milk sell calcium-enriched products, as well. Soy is also used in tempeh: the beans (sometimes mixed with grain) are fermented into a solid cake.
Soy products also are used as a low-cost substitute in meat and poultry products. Food service, retail and institutional (primarily school lunch and correctional) facilities regularly use such “extended” products. Extension may result in diminished flavor, but fat and cholesterol are reduced. Vitamin and mineral fortification can be used to make soy products nutritionally equivalent to animal protein; the protein quality is already roughly equivalent. The soy-based meat substitute textured vegetable protein has been used for more than 50 years as a way of inexpensively extending ground beef without reducing its nutritional value.
Soy nut butter
The soybean is used to make a product called soy nut butter which is similar in texture to peanut butter.
Sweet boiled beans are popular in Japan and Korea and the sweet boiled soybeans are called as “Daizu no Nimame (ja)” in Japan and Kongjorim (Korean: 콩조림) in Korea. Sweet boiled beans are even used in sweetened buns, especially in Mame Pan (ja).
The boiled and pasted edamame, called Zunda (ja), is used as one of the Sweet bean pastes in Japanese confections.
Roasted and ground soybeans can be used as a caffeine-free substitute for coffee. After the soybeans are roasted and ground, they look similar to regular coffee beans or can be used as a powder similar to instant coffee, with aroma and flavor of roasted soybeans.
Soybeans with black hulls are used in Chinese fermented black beans, douchi, not to be confused with black turtle beans.
Soybeans are also used in industrial products, including oils, soap, cosmetics, resins, plastics, inks, crayons, solvents, and clothing. Soybean oil is the primary source of biodiesel in the United States, accounting for 80% of domestic biodiesel production. Soybeans have also been used since 2001 as fermenting stock in the manufacture of a brand of vodka. In 1936, Ford Motor Company developed a method where soybeans and fibers were rolled together producing a soup which was then pressed into various parts for their cars, from the distributor cap to knobs on the dash board. Ford also informed in public relation releases that in 1935 over five million acres (20,000 km2) was dedicated to growing soybeans in the United States
Nutrition Value of Soybean
The health benefits of soybeans come from the nutrients, vitamins, and organic compounds including 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. As for minerals, soybeans contain significant amounts of iron, manganese, phosphorus, copper, potassium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, and calcium. They are also a good source of organic compounds and antioxidants, which further help in boosting your health.
Amount Per 100 grams
- Calories 446
- Total Fat 20 g – 30% RDA
- Cholesterol 0 mg Soybean
- Sodium 2 mg
- Potassium 1,797 mg – 51% RDA
- Total Carbohydrate 30 g – 10% RDA
- Dietary fiber 9 g – 36% RDA
- Sugar 7 g
- Protein 36 g – 72% RDA
- Vitamin C 10% RDA
- Calcium 27% RDA
- Iron 87% RDA
- Vitamin B-6 20% RDA
- Magnesium 70% RDA
Soybeans contain vitamin E that can help to renew dead skin cells and also form new skin cells. This can help you look young and radiant. Crush soybeans with little water and apply it on the face. Leave it on for 20 to 25 minutes to moisturize your skin. Use this concotion three times a week for best results.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids:
Soy oil, like algae and oily fish, is loaded with omega 3 fatty acids. This protects the body from various cardiovascular diseases.
Soy has phytic acid that acts as an antioxidant. This can combat many diseases like cancer, diabetes, inflammation, tumor etc.
Most soy protein is a relatively heat-stable storage protein. This heat stability enables soy food products requiring high temperature cooking, such as tofu, soy milk and textured vegetable protein (soy flour) to be made. Soy is a good source of protein, amongst many others, for vegetarians and vegans or for people who want to reduce the amount of meat they eat, according to the US Food and Drug Administration:
Soy protein products can be good substitutes for animal products because, unlike some other beans, soy offers a ‘complete’ protein profile. … Soy protein products can replace animal-based foods—which also have complete proteins but tend to contain more fat, especially saturated fat—without requiring major adjustments elsewhere in the diet.
The Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS) of soy protein is the nutritional equivalent of meat, eggs, and casein for human growth and health. Soybean protein isolate has a biological value of 74, whole soybeans 96, soybean milk 91, and eggs 97.
Soy protein is essentially identical to the protein of other legume seeds and pulses. Moreover, soybeans can produce at least twice as much protein per acre than any other major vegetable or grain crop besides hemp, five to 10 times more protein per acre than land set aside for grazing animals to make milk, and up to 15 times more protein per acre than land set aside for meat production.
All spermatophytes, except for the grass-cereal family, contain soybean-like 7S (vicilin) or 11S (legumin), (S denotes Svedberg, sedimentation coefficients) seed storage globulin proteins. Oats and rice are anomalous in that they also contain a majority of soybean-like protein. Cocoa, for example, contains the 7S globulin, which contributes to cocoa/chocolate taste and aroma;whereas coffee beans (coffee grounds) contain the 11S globulin responsible for coffee’s aroma and flavor.
Vicilin and legumin proteins belong to the cupin superfamily, a large family of functionally diverse proteins that have a common origin and whose evolution can be followed from bacteria to eukaryotes including animals and higher plants.
2S albumins form a major group of homologous storage proteins in many dicot species and in some monocots but not in grasses (cereals). Soybeans contain a small but significant 2S storage protein. 2S albumin are grouped in the prolamin superfamily. Other allergenic proteins included in this ‘superfamily’ are the non-specific plant lipid transfer proteins, alpha amylase inhibitor, trypsin inhibitors, and prolamin storage proteins of cereals and grasses.
Peanuts, for instance, contain 20% 2S albumin but only 6% 7S globulin and 74% 11S. It is the high 2S albumin and low 7S globulin that is responsible for the relatively low lysine content of peanut protein compared to soy protein.
The principal soluble carbohydrates of mature soybeans are the disaccharide sucrose (range 2.5–8.2%), the trisaccharide raffinose (0.1–1.0%) composed of one sucrose molecule connected to one molecule of galactose, and the tetrasaccharide stachyose (1.4 to 4.1%) composed of one sucrose connected to two molecules of galactose.While the oligosaccharides raffinose and stachyose protect the viability of the soybean seed from desiccation (see above section on physical characteristics) they are not digestible sugars, so contribute to flatulence and abdominal discomfort in humans and other monogastric animals, comparable to the disaccharide trehalose. Undigested oligosaccharides are broken down in the intestine by native microbes, producing gases such as carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and methane.
Since soluble soy carbohydrates are found in the whey and are broken down during fermentation, soy concentrate, soy protein isolates, tofu, soy sauce, and sprouted soybeans are without flatus activity. On the other hand, there may be some beneficial effects to ingesting oligosaccharides such as raffinose and stachyose, namely, encouraging indigenous bifidobacteria in the colon against putrefactive bacteria.
The insoluble carbohydrates in soybeans consist of the complex polysaccharides cellulose, hemicellulose, and pectin. The majority of soybean carbohydrates can be classed as belonging to dietary fiber.
Raw soybeans are 20% fat, including saturated fat (3%), monounsaturated fat (4%) and polyunsaturated fat, mainly as linoleic acid (table). Within soybean oil or the lipid portion of the seed is contained four phytosterols: stigmasterol, sitosterol, campesterol, and brassicasterol accounting for about 2.5% of the lipid fraction; and which can be converted into steroid hormones.Additionally soybeans are a rich source of sphingolipids.
Comparison to other major staple foods
The following table shows the nutrient content of green soybean and other major staple foods, each in respective raw form. Raw soybeans, however, aren’t edible and cannot be digested. These must be sprouted, or prepared and cooked for human consumption. In sprouted and cooked form, the relative nutritional and anti-nutritional contents of each of these grains is remarkably different from that of raw form of these grains reported in this table. The nutritional value of soybean and each cooked staple depends on the processing and the method of cooking: boiling, frying, roasting, baking, etc.
|Nutrient component:||Maize / Corn[A]||Rice (white)[B]||Rice (brown)[I]||Wheat[C]||Potato[D]||Cassava[E]||Soybean(Green)[F]||Sweet potato[G]||Yam[Y]||Sorghum[H]||Plantain[Z]||RDA|
|Vitamin C (mg)||0||0||0||0||19.7||20.6||29||2.4||17.1||0||18.4||90|
|Thiamin (B1) (mg)||0.39||0.07||0.40||0.30||0.08||0.09||0.44||0.08||0.11||0.24||0.05||1.2|
|Riboflavin (B2) (mg)||0.20||0.05||0.09||0.12||0.03||0.05||0.18||0.06||0.03||0.14||0.05||1.3|
|Niacin (B3) (mg)||3.63||1.6||5.09||5.46||1.05||0.85||1.65||0.56||0.55||2.93||0.69||16|
|Pantothenic acid (B5) (mg)||0.42||1.01||1.49||0.95||0.30||0.11||0.15||0.80||0.31||–||0.26||5|
|Vitamin B6 (mg)||0.62||0.16||0.51||0.3||0.30||0.09||0.07||0.21||0.29||–||0.30||1.3|
|Folate Total (B9) (μg)||19||8||20||38||16||27||165||11||23||0||22||400|
|Vitamin A (IU)||214||0||0||9||2||13||180||14187||138||0||1127||5000|
|Vitamin E, alpha-tocopherol (mg)||0.49||0.11||0.59||1.01||0.01||0.19||0||0.26||0.39||0||0.14||15|
|Vitamin K1 (μg)||0.3||0.1||1.9||1.9||1.9||1.9||0||1.8||2.6||0||0.7||120|
|Saturated fatty acids (g)||0.67||0.18||0.58||0.26||0.03||0.07||0.79||0.02||0.04||0.46||0.14|
|Monounsaturated fatty acids (g)||1.25||0.21||1.05||0.2||0.00||0.08||1.28||0.00||0.01||0.99||0.03|
|Polyunsaturated fatty acids (g)||2.16||0.18||1.04||0.63||0.04||0.05||3.20||0.01||0.08||1.37||0.07|
Amazing Health Benefits of Soybean
1. Reduces Cancer Risk
Soybeans have high levels of antioxidants which help prevent the onset of various cancers. Antioxidants seek out and neutralize free radicals, which are the dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism. These free radicals can cause healthy cells to mutate into deadly cancerous cells.
The fiber content in soybeans has been connected to a reduction in colorectal and colon cancer, since fiber helps ease the digestive process and thus putting far less strain on the gastrointestinal system.
2. Heart Health
Soybeans are a source of healthier, unsaturated fat, which helps you lower your total cholesterol. This allows you to prevent conditions like atherosclerosis, which can easily lead to heart attack and stroke.
The fiber in soybeans has actually been shown to reduce cholesterol levels in the body by scraping excess cholesterol off the walls of blood vessels and arteries.
3. Relieve Menopausal Symptoms
Soybeans are a very good source of isoflavones, which are essential components of the female reproductive system. During menopause, estrogen levels drop significantly. Isoflavones are able to bind to estrogen receptor 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 pains.
4. Aids in Digestion
Soybeans contain fiber which adds bulk to the stool making it move through the digestive system. It also stimulates peristaltic motion, which is the contraction of the smooth muscles that push food through your system. It is vital also because constipation can be a very serious condition that can lead to more serious conditions, including colorectal cancer.
5. Strengthens Bones
Soybeans contain calcium, magnesium, copper, selenium and zinc which are essential for bone strength. All of these elements are essential for promoting osteotropic activity, which allows for new bones to grow and also speeds up the healing process of the bones.
6. Foetal Development
The high levels of vitamin B complex and folic acid in soybeans are very important for pregnant women. Folic acid ensures the prevention of neural tube defects in infants, which ensures a happy and healthy baby.
7. Regulates Blood Sugar
soybeans have shown an ability to increase insulin receptors in the body, thereby helping manage the disease effectively or prevent it from occurring in the first place.
8. Skin Care
soybeans contain vitamin E which can help to renew dead skin cells and also form new skin cells. This can help the skin look young and radiant.
9. Regulates Blood Pressure
soybeans contain potassium which is a vasodilator and helps reduce tension on the blood vessels thereby reducing blood pressure.
10. Protects Against Arthritis
Soybeans are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and folate. These vital nutrients are useful to protect against arthritis and their symptoms. Soybeans contain anti-inflammatory properties that help people suffering from arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
11. Improve Metabolic Activity
As mentioned above, soybeans are an extremely important source of protein. When you have enough proteins in your body, your metabolic functioning and the overall system will get a major boost. Proteins are the building blocks of cells and blood vessels and basically every essential part of the human body. Proteins from soybeans ensure proper health and regrowth of cells if they need to be repaired or replaced. It can be difficult to get enough protein when you follow a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, so soybeans provide an excellent replacement for proteins that are normally acquired from red meat, chicken, eggs, dairy products, and fish.
12. Healthy Weight Gain
Soybeans and soy-based products have been associated with appetite suppression to eliminate overeating, which can lead to obesity and other related risks. However, soybeans also provide a decent amount of fiber and protein, which can help in weight gain, if eaten in large quantities. Therefore, soybeans are beneficial for people who want to lose weight as well as the ones who want to gain some. Furthermore, the weight they provide to your body is not unhealthy high-fat or high cholesterol in nature, which protects you from dangerous conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
13. Prevent Birth Defects
The high levels of vitamin B complex and folic acid in soybeans are very important for pregnant women. Folic acid ensures the prevention of neural tube defects in infants, which ensures a happy and healthy baby.
14. Improve Circulation
Copper and iron are 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 blood flow and oxygen they need to function efficiently. This maximizes metabolic activity and increases energy levels, while also avoiding dangerous conditions like anemia.
15. Control Diabetes
This dreaded disease has been on the rise among the globe for more than a decade. Soybeans are an effective method of prevention and management of this disease, primarily because soybeans have shown an ability to increase insulin receptors in the body, thereby helping manage the disease effectively or prevent it from occurring in the first place.
16. Relieve Sleep Disorders
Soybeans help in reducing sleep disorders and the occurrence of insomnia. However, soybeans also have a high content of magnesium, which is directly linked to increasing the quality, duration, and restfulness of your sleep.
17. Moisturizing the Skin
A well hydrated skin is a must, when it comes to keeping the skin healthy. Soybean acts a moisturizer for combination skin and is also useful to get rid of dry, flaky skin. If you have oily skin, you can use this amazing bean to remove the excess oil from your skin.
18. To Strengthen Nails
If you have brittle nails, soy can be the best thing for you. Include it in your regular diet for six months. This will help strengthen your nails and also add shine. Soybeans are also known to moisturize your nails and treat nail fungus infection. Just dip your nails in soy sauce to get fungus free nails.
19. Makes Hair Shine
Soybeans are also used for smooth, soft, and shiny hair. You can apply soy bean juice onto the hair regularly for three months to get the desired results.
20. Prevents Hearing Loss
Soybean is rich in iron and zinc. It helps in expanding capillaries, soften red blood cells, and stimulate blood supply to the ear. This can prevent hearing loss in elderly people.
21. Improves Lipid Profile
Soybeans have the ability to improve our blood lipid profile. Soy milk is high in unsaturated fat with zero cholesterol. The monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids in soybeans prevents transportation of cholesterol in the blood stream. If you want to lower the blood concentrations of triglyceride, (LDL) and increase the level of (HDL), try consuming soy regularly.
22. Strengthens Blood Vessel Integrity
Soybeans contain powerful phyto-antioxidants like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that can protect the blood vessels from lesions and hemorrhage. This nutrient is useful in binding blood vessel lining and helps to defend the lining cells for free radical attacks and deposit of cholesterol. The binding process boost the fluidity and flexibility of the blood vessels that helps to regulate the body’s blood pressure.
23. Prevents Prostate Cancer
Soy is a rich source of phytoestrogen. This is a unique plant hormone that prevents testosterone production in men. This reduced testosterone levels helps to lower the risk of prostate cancer.
25. Prevents Postmenopausal Syndromes
During menopause, the estrogen production in a woman’s body takes a nose dive. This sudden drop of estrogens can cause many health problems in postmenopausal women. They are at higher risks of disease related to the heart, diabetes, and obesity. This can also cause depression, mood swings, insomnia and various other psychological disorders. The phytoestrogen content in soybeans are effective as an estrogens replacement. Consume soy regularly to prevent and cure postmenopausal syndromes.
26. Prevents Osteoporosis
Most women are prone to Osteoporosis. This disease is caused due to age and weakening bones. The phytoestrogen content in soybean can boost calcium absorption by the body and prevent bone mass loss. To avail maximum benefit, consume soy milk fortified with vitamin D and extra calcium.
27. Baby Food
Soy is also a good substitute for milk in infant feeding formulas. This acts as a good alternative to cow’s milk.
28. Prevents Breast Cancer
Soybeans can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. Women who consume soybeans regularly are less likely to develop breast cancer.
29. Improves Intelligence
Soybean contains lecithin that is vital nutrient for the brain. Consuming soybeans can help patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. It also contains phytosterols that increases the function of nerve cells in the brain.
30. Strengthens Human Tissues and Organs
Soybean can help in stimulating absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. This helps strengthen the tissues and organs of the body. Soybean is also known to lower cholesterol level in the body, improve the lipid metabolism, and prevent coronary atherosclerosis.
31. Improves Energy
The protein content in soybean can stimulate the cerebral cortex. This is useful to improve the efficiency of learning and work. This can also alleviate your depressed and gloomy mood.
32. Prevents Oxidation
The soybean saponins work as an antioxidant, to clear the free radicals in our body. This also reduces the growth of tumor cells and strengthens the immune function of the human body.
33. Reduces Blood Fat
Soybean contains plant sterols that reduce the cholesterol level in blood. This competes with the cholesterol in your intestines and reduces its absorption. This also lowers the level of “bad cholesterol” in the patient of hyperlipidemia.
34. Healing Power
Soybeans contain Zinc that helps in boosting the body’s immunity. This is also useful to heal wounds and perceive taste.
Soybeans contain antioxidants that cleanse the body and flushes out free radicals from the body.
Soybeans contain anti-inflammatory properties that help people suffering from arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. This can be consumed as a side dish or a snack by asthmatic people to heal inflamed breathing passages.
37. Prevents Depression
Folate, which is abundant in soybeans, helps in the production of serotonin. This is useful to get rid of depression and improve your mood.
38. Prevents Migraines
Magnesium in soybeans can reduce the risk of migraine headaches. So, if you are prone to those debilitating headaches, make it a point to include soyabeans in your regular diet.
39. Alpha-linolenic Acid
Whole green soybeans are a rich source of omega-3 fat known as, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). This works to reduce inflammation and many other cardiovascular diseases.
Tips To Use Soybeans
- Soybeans are considered safe during Pregnancy and breast-feeding. But ensure that the quantity consumed is within normal range. Excessive consumption of Soybeans protein during pregnancy can harm the baby.
- Soy is also safe for children, when taken in normal amount.
- Soy milk can cause nutrient deficiencies, when taken regularly.
- Children allergic to cow’s milk must not be given soybean.
- Soy products increase the chances of kidney stones, as it contains oxalates.
- Avoid consuming soybeans if you have bladder cancer or an under-active thyroid.
- Asthma patients are easily allergic to soybeans.
Soy milk is mostly known for being the replacement drink for lactose-intolerant people. And it is also constantly under the radar for supposedly affecting sperm quality in men, but this lacks solid proof. What’s important about soy milk is that it can treat conditions like hypertension, diabetes, breast cancer, cardiac issues, obesity, and more! Know how it affects men and women differently and how much of soy milk is the right amount in your daily diet.
Soy milk, a beverage made solely from soybeans and which is completely dairy-free, is the preferred choice for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant. But that’s not the only reason you should drink it! Soy milk is loaded with wholesome nutrients that give you multiple health benefits, provided you’re not allergic to soy.
Let’s take a look at some of the nutritional benefits of soy milk (about 240 ml; plain flavor) and exactly how they help:
|Total Fat||4 g|
|Saturated And Polyunsaturated Fats||0.5 g and 2.5 g, respectively|
Health Benefits Of Drinking Soy Milk
1. Lowers Blood Pressure And Cures Hypertension
Soy milk treats hypertension by lowering both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Drinking soy milk every day has been seen to induce the urinary excretion of a particular flavonoid, which is what reduces blood pressure. Soy milk also helps diabetics who face kidney-related problems (nephropathy) with better blood pressure control. It contains a good amount of polyphenols, which might increase the bioavailability of nitric oxide and thus influence blood pressure levels.
2. Treats Type 2 Diabetes
With its high calcium and low fat content, soy milk is the perfect non-dairy option for your diabetic meal plan. It helps diabetics by lowering cholesterol and preventing cardiovascular issues. Its effect on lipid levels is shown to be beneficial in the treatment of diabetes. However, remember to drink soy milk in moderation as excess protein and carbs can mess up your diet plan.
3. Accelerates Weight Loss
The fiber in soy milk has a considerable effect on the body mass index, LDL cholesterol levels, and body weight, which is useful in the treatment of obesity, hypertension, and excess lipid levels. When combined with a low-fat diet, the soy proteins reduce weight but retain muscle mass in obese individuals.
4. Improves Cardiovascular Health
According to the USFDA, soy is one of the products that lowers cholesterol levels in the body and prevents heart-related diseases. Soy products like soy milk improve plasma lipid levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, especially in those with high cholesterol. The high levels of polyunsaturated fats, vitamins, fiber, and minerals and low saturated fats also assist in keeping your heart healthy.
Your body takes care of the blood flow through vascular reactivity, which alters the build of the blood vessels as and when required. Soy milk improves this reactivity and keeps your heart strong.
5. Prevents Osteoporosis
Calcium-fortified soy milk can reduce osteoporosis. About 240 ml of normal soy milk will have around 31 mg of calcium, whereas calcium-enriched soy milk will have about 210 mg of calcium. Be well informed about the nutrient content of the products before buying.
6. Cures Skin-Related Issues
A diet consisting of soy products might lower the incidence of acne. And soy, by itself, is one of the ingredients used for treating dermatological issues such as hyper-pigmentation, which causes excessive darkening of the skin. Soy products can have anti-aging benefits on your health and skin. Recently, a compound of soybean was found to be an effective anti-aging agent. And fermented soy milk has been seen to have anti-aging properties.
7. Promotes Luscious Hair
Drinking soy milk has a moderate effect on the appearance of hair and its manageability. However, complementing soy milk intake with the use of topical products containing soy can provide better results.
8. Helps With Lactose Intolerance
As mentioned earlier, soy milk is a very good alternative for those with lactose intolerance. It contains a good amount of calcium and is low in fat. But there’s a high chance of being allergic to soy milk if you’re allergic to cow’s milk. So drink it cautiously and decide for yourself if it’s good for you. All of these benefits work for both men and women. However, some effects are gender-specific:
Effects Of Soy Milk On Men
Soy milk consumption in high quantities (more than once a day) reduces the risk of prostate cancer in men. Consumption of about 400 ml of soy milk daily has shown a reduction in estrone levels in men, which might reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes.
One study showed that men who consume a higher amount of soy milk have been seen to have a lower sperm concentration. However, there’s no convincing data yet as to the concerns over lowered sperm quality due to soy milk.
Effects Of Soy Milk On Women
Although there have been a lot of contradictory research on this, latest studies show that soy milk is beneficial in treating breast cancer and does not obstruct cancer therapy. But most studies have concluded that soy consumption should be at the levels of Asian diets (more than once a day) for it to significantly reduce the risk. Soy milk was also considered as beneficial for cognitive health in menopausal women. But there’s a lack of evidence and some studies have even proven that the milk has no such effect whatsoever.
How Much Soy Milk Can You Have?
Excess intake of soy milk is not good for your health as it can cause an inflammatory response and give excessive protein and carbs. The amount of soy milk your body can take differs for each person as we all react to it differently. Some consider 2–3 servings a day as the right amount while some suggest just one glass a day.
The best thing to do is to listen to your body. Start off by having one glass a day and observe for both positive and negative responses in your body. Preferably discuss with a dietician and then gradually increase the quantity if required. And since most soy milk products are flavored or contain additives, look for the ones with the right nutrients, for example, with less or no sugar and more calcium. Remember: Soy milk is not a magic solution to all your health issues. The trick is to complement it with an overall healthy, moderate diet that will take you a long way in avoiding sickness and staying healthy.
How Much Calcium Do Soy Milk And Soy Foods Have?
Soy is a staple for many vegans, the lactose intolerant, and people who just plain love tofu and soy! But when it comes to getting calcium from your diet, how much can you expect to chalk up from soy-based foods? From obvious ones like soy milk to the less obvious forms of soy like the green edamame beans so popular in Asia and now the world over, soy can be encountered in many forms and guises. So, if you’re wondering whether soy milk, yogurt, or curd cheese are equally rich in calcium or have calcium at all, you’ll find some answers right here.
But before diving into whether or not soy has calcium, here’s a primer on how much calcium you should aim at. If you’re an adult under 50, your recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for calcium stands at 1,000 mg a day even when you’re pregnant or lactating. Intake needs to be upped to 1,200 mg for women over 51 years and men over 71 years. The United States Food and Drug Administration has set the updated daily values (DV) for calcium intake at 1,300 mg per day. And here’s a look at how each kind of soy stacks up against this value.
Soy Milk Contains 23% DV When Fortified, Just 4% Otherwise
Soy milk is by far the most commonly available and convenient way to get your soy. Available in plain or flavored variants, it may come fortified or as regular soy milk. A cup of plain or vanilla flavored soy milk has 61 mg of calcium, which meets just 4.1% DV.4 That’s hardly enough if you’re counting on soy as a major calcium source. Fortified soy milk, on the other hand, has as much as 299 mg per cup. This accounts for 23% DV, making it a calcium-rich food. Plus it often also contains added vitamin D, which is good for bone health too. You can use the milk as a base for smoothies, in recipes that use milk like sauces, or just drink it up plain.
Soybeans And Edamame Offer 7.5–9.5% DV Of Calcium
Soybeans contain 125 mg of calcium in a cup of the boiled mature seeds. That’s 9.6% DV – not bad but not enough to qualify as a calcium-rich food. This tag is generally assigned to foods with 20% DV or more. Still, if you are having your calcium from other calcium-rich sources, soybeans are not a bad addition to the diet. You can use them in stews or soups and even add them to a rice recipe.
Not everyone realizes that edamame, the seemingly exotic Asian bean, is essentially a young immature green soybean, usually cooked and served in the pod. A cup of edamame has 98 mg of calcium, which meets 7.5% DV of the nutrient. You can have the beans steamed or roasted, just plain or with some spices. Shell them and add them to rice with vegetables or coconut or use them in steamed dumplings. Or even make a vibrant green dip out of them.
Soy Yogurt Has Less Calcium Than Dairy Yogurt But Still Meets 9.2% DV
If you enjoy your regular dairy-based yogurt, how does soy yogurt compare on the calcium charts? Regular plain low-fat yogurt packs in a whopping 183 mg of calcium per 100 gm serving (nearly half of an 8 ounce pack). That meets 14.1% DV of calcium. Fortified soy yogurt, on the other hand, has 120 mg in 100 gm, offering 9.2% DV. So if you’re avoiding dairy yogurt, soy yogurt does give you calcium, even if it is a little less. Have yours as it is or use it to whip up a delicious smoothie or parfait.
Firm Tofu Adds Up To 66.2% DV Of Calcium
Firm tofu, made with calcium sulfate alone, contains a staggering 861 mg of calcium in every half cup (66.2% DV).10 If it is calcium-fortified or made from soy milk that’s fortified, you’ll end up getting more calcium. A half-cup serving of firm tofu made with calcium sulfate and magnesium chloride (nigari) contains 253 mg of calcium, which is 19.5% DV of the mineral. If you like soft tofu more, that’s slightly lighter on calcium – a half cup gives you 137.5 mg or 10.6% DV of the mineral.So just check how your tofu has been made. If it is packaged, read the labels to be sure you’re getting as much calcium as you expect.
While soy foods can’t be your mainstay for calcium if it’s not fortified, it can add to your calcium intake. To get to the recommended levels, complement these with other foods. Dairy foods like milk, yogurt, and cheese, green leafy vegetables, fish like canned sardines or salmon where you can eat the soft bones for the calcium, and calcium-enriched foods like fruit juices, cereals, and rice drinks can all help you bring in some variety as soy alternatives.
Ways To Have Soybean
Soybean, though a legume, is quite versatile in the way it can be added to your diet. The best thing about this is that whichever way you eat it, the benefits you get is almost the same.
So you can eat your soy:
1. As Bean Seeds
Green soybean, called edamame, can be had as a salad. In this, the seeds are still in the pod. You can also eat sprouted bean seeds if you want to up your daily intake of antioxidant isoflavone. When you germinate soybean seeds, you are actually increasing the levels of soy isoflavones in it, which is important for good health.
2. As Milk
Soy milk, which is made by soaking, grinding and straining the seeds, is a good source of phytoestrogen. It can be had daily to reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Research shows that men who drink big quantities of soy milk have lower chances of getting prostate cancer.18
Soy milk is also a good substitute for cow’s milk and can be had by those who are lactose intolerant. It also helps in lowering lipid count that helps in managing weight and cardiovascular diseases.19
3. As Tofu And Miso
Both tofu and miso are fermented versions of soybean. While miso is made from fermented soybean paste, tofu, also called bean curd is made from fermented soy milk. Both are known to be excellent sources of the antioxidant soy isoflavones that the original bean is so rich in. Tofu is also a good source of not just protein, but also iron and calcium. Since both are fermented, they also have a probiotic benefit on the stomach. Miso, with its sweet-salty taste, is a major flavoring agent in Asian food.
4. As Oil
It is a good cooking medium and is a healthier option as it is rich in poly and monounsaturated fats. It is low in trans fat, and even in oil form, it retains high levels of antioxidants. Soy oil can be used on a regular basis to add dietary fatty acids that do not impact the cardiovascular health. It improves overall health.
Soybeans are a globally important crop, providing oil and protein. In the United States, the bulk of the harvest is solvent-extracted with hexane, and the “toasted” defatted soymeal (50% protein) then makes possible the raising of farm animals (e.g. chicken, hog, turkey) on a large industrial scale. Soybean products are used in a large variety of processed foods.
During World War II, soybeans became important in both North America and Europe chiefly as substitutes for other protein foods and as a source of edible oil. During the war, the soybean was discovered as fertilizer by the United States Department of Agriculture.
Cultivation is successful in climates with hot summers, with optimum growing conditions in mean temperatures of 20 to 30 °C (68 to 86 °F); temperatures of below 20 °C and over 40 °C (68 °F, 104 °F) stunt growth significantly. They can grow in a wide range of soils, with optimum growth in moist alluvial soils with a good organic content. Soybeans, like most legumes, perform nitrogen fixation by establishing a symbiotic relationship with the bacterium Bradyrhizobium japonicum (syn. Rhizobium japonicum; Jordan 1982). For best results, though, an inoculum of the correct strain of bacteria should be mixed with the soybean (or any legume) seed before planting. Modern crop cultivars generally reach a height of around 1 m (3.3 ft), and take 80–120 days from sowing to harvesting.
Environmental groups, such as Greenpeace and the WWF, have reported soybean cultivation (primarily as a feed crop for animals) and the probability of increased soybean cultivation in Brazil has destroyed huge areas of Amazon rain-forest, and is encouraging further deforestation. However, note that the driving cause of this deforestation is the global demand for meat, which in turn demands huge amounts of land to grow feed crops for livestock. According to the World Bank, animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of the destruction of the Amazon rain-forest.
American soil scientist Andrew McClung, who first showed that the ecologically biodiverse savannah of the Cerrado region of Brazil could grow profitable soybeans, was awarded the 2006 World Food Prize on October 19, 2006. However, even correcting for poor soils soybeans were an unlikely cash crop for the Cerrado. Soy did not fare well in the low latitudes. More than the heat and humidity, it was a lack of seasons that hampered production. In the higher more northerly latitudes, flowering coincides with the summer solstice, when the plants reach their maximum height. The first soybeans planted in the Cerrado, however, flowered early and, deprived of long summer days, remained stunted. For soy agriculture to take root in Mato Grosso it was first necessary to develop a “tropical soybean”—one that would flower later, giving the plants more time to fully mature. This was accomplished after years of crossbreeding by scientists within Embrapa, the research arm of the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture.
Human sewage sludge can be used as fertilizer to grow soybeans. Soybeans grown in sewage sludge likely contain elevated concentrations of metals.
Soybean plants are vulnerable to a wide range of bacterial diseases, fungal diseases, viral diseases and parasites. One important pest is the corn ear-worm moth, which is the most common and destructive pest of soybean growth in Virginia
Negative Effects of Soybeans
Although there are many beneficial aspects to consuming soybeans and soy products, there are also some potentially negative health effects of consuming soybeans as a part of your diet:
Estrogen Levels: Since there are estrogen-mimicking compounds in soybeans, men can occasionally develop a hormone 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.
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