Soybeans Nutrition: Health Benefits of Soybeans
Soybean has been cultivated from the ancient times and this legume is native to Asia. Soybean was first cultivated in China and it was a major crop in China, Japan, and Korea. Soybean first arrived in America in 1765, brought by Samuel Bowen- a seaman employed by the East India Company. Today soybean is one of the most favourable foods in the world and cherished for its taste. But most importantly soybean is a great health food. It is one of the most well-researched health foods and known for its health enhancing abilities. Soybean is a legume, it comes in different colours like green, yellow, brown and black. In the modern world, major producers of the soy are United States, Brazil, Argentina, China and India.
Nutritional Value of Soybeans
Soybeans are one of healthiest foods available and rich in many nutrients. First of all, these are great source of molybdenum. Also, soybeans are excellent source of tryptophan. Soybeans are very rich in protein and manganese. They are a good source of iron, phosphorus, dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, copper, Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), Vitamin K and potassium. Soybeans are high fiber foods and free of cholesterol. They are also lactose free and high in phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are hormone-like substances and beneficial for menopausal women.
Health Benefits of Soybeans
Because of the fact that Soybean is rich in essential fatty acids, proteins, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and isoflavones- it is regarded as one of the best health promoting foods.
Major Health Benefits of Soybeans are:
• Soybeans are good to control high blood pressure. Soy proteins and soy isoflavones help to reduce blood pressure levels thus reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease.
• Soybeans are also good for reducing LDL cholesterol levels. Studies have shown soy protein reduces plasma cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations.
• Soybeans are good weight loss foods. Soybeans and other soy product are rich in dietary fiber and they are good substitutes for high calorie foods. Soybeans give the feeling of satiety and fullness thus reduce the craving for the foods or hunger.
• The two isoflavones found in soybeans - daidzein and genistein, reduce the risk of cancer especially breast cancer and prostate cancer.
• Soy foods are good for the diabetic patients. It’s a good diabetic diet because of their low glycemic index. Soybeans are also rich in dietary fiber which is good for balancing blood sugar levels.
• Soybeans and soy foods are beneficial for premenopausal women's Hearts and Bones. The chances of heart disease increase after menopause and soybeans lower blood cholesterol levels as well as lipoproteins. Thus reduce the chances of developing heart disease. Isoflavones in soybeans and body’s own estrogen (female steroid sex hormones) increase the bone mass. It is said that having soy foods daily for six months is good enough for getting beneficial effects on bone in menopausal women.
• Soybeans also help to protect kidneys from damage especially from the disease like diabetes. In addition, soy also improves the kidney functions. Soy lecithin is one of the by-products of soybean processing. Soy lecithin prevents gall stones.
• Choline (B-complex vitamin that is a constituent of lecithin) in soybeans lessens chronic Inflammation. Good intake choline reduces the chronic inflammation significantly. Chronic inflammation can lead to many dangerous diseases such as heart disease, osteoporosis, cognitive decline and Alzheimer's, and type-2 diabetes.
• Soybeans are good for promoting gastrointestinal health. Soy glucosylceramide, a cancer protective substance or sphingolipid- promotes gastrointestinal health and decreases the chances of colon cancer.
• The nutrients in soybeans are good for overall health. Not only soybeans are good for the heart and prevent cancer but also good for preventing other diseases such as osteoporosis and eczema. High dose of isoflavones increases the Bone mineral content (BMC) of postmenopausal women.
Soyfoods are also good for the children as they help to reduce the childhood obesity. Soyfoods are rich in important vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein which are essential for the growing children. Fiber in soy gives relief from the constipation. Lecithin in soybeans and soyfoods help to recover from fatigue and depression.
Caution: Soybeans or soyfoods should be avoided by the women who have estrogen-sensitive breast tumours. Soyfood can be allergic to some people and they should restrict or avoid consumption of soy.