Soybean is one among the most popular healthy foods. Its popularity has spiked up due to number of benefits it provides. Soybeans are good source of protein and are eaten in various forms, like roasted, soaked, and boiled. Over the period of time, soybeans have also been processed into oil, milk, tofu, and soy protein. With this increasing number of uses, you can imagine the benefits it could provide. Delve into this article to find out the innumerable health benefits of soybeans.
What are Soybeans?
Native to East Asia, Soybean or Soy bean or Glycine max, is a species of legume and part of pea family. The two main varieties are yellow and black, while the fresh green soybeans are commonly known as edamame. Soybeans are used in both fermented and non fermented form. Non fermented food uses of soybeans include soy milk from which tofu is made and fermented ones include soy sauce, fermented bean paste, natto, and tempeh. They are often used as meat and dairy substitutes that are mostly preferred by vegans. Soybeans are also a great source of protein for animal feeds.
Interesting Facts About Soybeans
- The largest grower of soybeans in the world is the United States.
- Soybeans are propagated through seeds and have short vegetative season.
- Although soybean is an important part of healthy diet, it cannot be consumed raw. It should be processed before consumption.
- Oil extracted from soybeans can be used as biodiesel.
- The soybean oil is also used in the production of ink, which is used to print newspapers and textbooks.
- Soybeans are used in the manufacture of plastics, crayons, wood adhesives, textile and alcohol beverages.
- One acre of soybeans can produce 82,368 crayons.
- During the Civil War, coffee was scarce and hence soybeans were used in place of soybeans.
- Soybean is cultivated as an annual plant and the flowers of this plant perform self-fertilization.
- Soybean is the only plant that contains complete protein with all essential amino acids.
Nutritional Value of Soybean
The nutritional value of 100 grams of matured raw seeds of soybean is given below.
- Energy: 446 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 30.16 g
- Sugars: 7.33 g
- Dietary Fiber: 9.3 g
- Fat: 19.94 g
- Saturated: 2.884 g
- Monounsaturated: 4.404 g
- Polyunsaturated: 11.255 g
- omega-3: 1.330 g
- omega-6: 9.925 g
- Protein: 36.49 g
- Tryptophan: 0.591 g
- Threonine: 1.766 g
- Isoleucine: 1.971 g
- Leucine: 3.309 g
- Lysine: 2.706 g
- Methionine: 0.547 g
- Cystine: 0.655 g
- Phenylalanine: 2.122 g
- Tyrosine: 1.539 g
- Valine: 2.029 g
- Arginine: 3.153 g
- Histidine: 1.097 g
- Alanine: 1.915 g
- Aspartic acid: 5.112 g
- Glutamic acid: 7.874 g
- Glycine: 1.880 g
- Proline: 2.379 g
- Serine: 2.357 g
- Vitamin A equiv.: 1 μg
- Thiamine: 0.874 mg
- Riboflavin: 0.87 mg
- Niacin: 1.623 mg
- Pantothenic acid: 0.793 mg
- Vitamin B-6: 0.377 mg
- Folate: 375 μg
- Vitamin B-12: 0 μg
- Choline: 115.9 mg
- Vitamin C: 6.0 mg
- Vitamin E: 0.85 mg
- Vitamin K: 47 μg
- Calcium: 277 mg
- Copper: 1.658 mg
- Iron: 15.7 mg
- Magnesium: 280 mg
- Manganese: 2.517 mg
- Phosphorus: 704 mg
- Potassium: 1797 mg
- Sodium: 2 mg
- Zinc: 4.89 mg
Health Benefits of Soybeans
Well, the nutritional profile is quite impressive; now let’s have a look at the health benefits of soybeans.
1. Boosts Metabolism
Abundance amount of proteins in soybeans improve metabolic activities and overall system of the body. Protein is an essential part of the human body and known to be the building blocks of cells and blood vessels. Sometimes, it’s difficult for vegetarian and vegan to get enough protein, here soybeans meet the daily requirement of proteins that are normally provided by meat, fish and dairy products. Protein helps in regrowth, repair, and replacement of cells.
2. Are Soybeans Good for Weight Loss?
Yes, they are one of the most weight friendly foods. Soybeans and soy-products can prevent you from overeating as it suppresses your appetite. Simultaneously, soybeans can help gain weight for those who need to. Presence of protein and fiber promotes healthy gaining of weight, if eaten in large quantities. Furthermore, it provides weight that are free from unhealthy fat and high cholesterol. Therefore, soybeans are good for weight loss as well as weight gain.
3. Prevents Cancer
Soybeans contain good amount of antioxidants that prevent the chances of developing cancerous cells. It neutralizes the free radicals that cause body cells to mutate into cancerous cells. Soybean also contains phytoestrogen that lowers the risk of prostate cancer. Furthermore, the fiber content eases the process of digestion, which in turn protects the colon from cancer.
4. Improves Digestion
As mentioned above, soybeans are a great source of dietary fiber which is an essential nutrient of the digestive system. It bulks up the stools, and promotes smooth movement of both food and waste products in and out of the digestive tract. Soybeans are also good for relieving constipation as it helps in the contraction of smooth muscles that supplies food throughout the system.
5. Keeps Your Heart Healthy
Soybeans are rich in unsaturated fibers which improves our blood lipid profile. It balances the cholesterol level in our blood, lowers the LDL cholesterol and triglyceride, and increases HDL cholesterol. Soybean also protects the blood vessels from the deposition of cholesterol as it contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It ensures the balanced fluidity of the blood. Therefore, soybeans regulate the blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and thereby improve the function of our heart.
6. Prevents Menopausal Symptoms
There are several health benefits of soybeans for women. They contain an essential substance for female reproductive system which is known as isoflavones. Menopause causes dramatic changes of hormones in women and develops symptoms, like mood swings, hot flashes, and hunger pains. The isoflavones in soybeans bind with female hormone receptor cells that do not allow the body to feel the change and ease the process of menopause.
7. Benefits of Soybeans During Pregnancy
Soybeans are indeed good for women. They are an excellent source of multivitamins, such as B, C, E and k, and minerals, such as calcium, manganese, phosphorous, magnesium, iron, and copper. These nutrients help to meet the daily requirements for pregnant women for the development of the fetus. Presence of folic acid prevents defects in neutral tube, and thus protects from birth defects.
8. Good for Your Bones
By now, we know soybeans contain impressive level of minerals that are essential for your bones. Mineral such as calcium, magnesium, copper, selenium, and zinc play a major role in developing new bones and healing any damage in them. With age, the bones become weaker, and can even lead to diseases like osteoporosis. A combination of vitamin D and minerals present in soybeans controls the loss of bone mass and cuts the risk of such disease.
9. Fights Insomnia
Inability to sleep often leads to sleep disorders, including insomnia. Owing to its magnesium content, soybeans improve the duration, quality and restfulness of your sleep.
10. Soybean Benefits for Body Building
Soybeans contain many macro-nutrients that help in building muscles in your body. Processed soy-products like soy protein powder are good for both pre- and post- workout sessions. The antioxidants in it also help you recover from exercise. Furthermore, the soy protein improves blood flow in the muscles and stimulates growth hormone.
11. Boosts Energy
The high protein content of soybeans enhances the efficiency of work and learning. These proteins facilitate the cerebral cortex which provides energy to your body to function. In addition to this, soybeans are also known to relieve gloomy and depressed moods.
12. Benefits of Soybeans to Babies
The soy milk processed from soybeans is an amazing alternative for cow’s milk. It is one of the best feeding formulas of babies who are allergic to cow’s milk and who are unable to digest lactose easily. You can soy milk to babies over age 1 and, they even come in varieties of flavors.
13. Are Soybeans Good for Diabetes?
Yes, the vegetable protein in soybeans is good for lowering the chances of developing type 2 diabetes. It improves glycemic level and insulin resistance of the body. The fresh soybeans are better than processed soy-products for diabetes. Soybeans maintain blood sugar level and are good for people suffering from diabetes.
14. Benefits of Soybeans for Skin
- The ability to fight free radicals delays the sign of aging. Soybean also contains phytoestrogens that balance the elasticity of the skin, and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
- Soybean is good food for oily skin as it removes excess oil. Additionally, it moisturizes the skin and relieves dry and flaky skin.
- Vitamin E in soybeans revitalizes the skin and renews the dead skin cells which helps your skin to glow.
15. Soybean Benefits for Hair
- The oil extracted from soybeans provides strength and good nutrition to the scalp.
- It nourishes the scalp and promotes hair growth.
- Regularly, applying soybean juice into your hair will make it smooth, soft and shiny.
Now, that you know the nutritional and health benefits of soybeans, you can reap its benefits in all the way you want. The only disadvantage of soybean is that the phytoestrogens may cause imbalance in hormones, if consumed in large quantities. Taking soybeans in moderate amount will definitely improve your health. You can have it roasted, boiled or simply sprinkle some salt over the soaked soybeans and savor its taste.