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Soy Nutrition Facts: 5 Things You Need to Know

September 9, 2022

Soybeans or soya beans (Glycine max) are a legume native to Eastern Asia. They have been eaten for thousands of years and are an essential part of the Asian diet. Most of them are grown in Asia, South America, and North America. Soybeans are often eaten whole in Asia, but heavily processed soy products are much more common in the West.

Soy products like soy flour, protein, tofu, soy milk, soy sauce, and soybean oil are all available. Soybeans contain potent antioxidants and phytonutrients that offer many health benefits.

This article will highlight five vital nutritional facts you should know about soybeans. Keep reading to discover more about this unique legume.

What is Soybean and its Uses?

Soybeans are part of the pea (legume) family of plants and have been a mainstay of Asian cuisines for thousands of years. Soy and soy foods are popular, especially among vegetarians and vegans, because of their high protein content and ability to be used as milk and meat replacements. Certain producers use us soy to manufacture protein powder and isoflavone supplements. Isoflavones are plant chemicals with an estrogen-like structure.

Soybeans contain phytoestrogens, which are hormone-like compounds that mimic the action of the hormone estrogen and have been linked to health benefits. Eating soybean-based foods may lower the risk of various health problems, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, and coronary heart disease (CHD). These legumes also enhance bone health.

Soy may also be helpful for perimenopausal and postmenopausal women, resulting in fewer and less severe hot flushes.

Soybeans are high-protein plant food that you can prepare and consume in numerous ways. They are from the pea family.

Soybeans come in a variety of colors, including:

• Green soybeans. Often known as edamame, these are young green soybeans. You can steam them and eat them as an appetizer right out of the pod. You can also find shelled edamame in salads, stir-fries, and soups.

• Yellow soybeans. Yellow soybeans are commonly used in producing soy milk, tofu, tempeh, and tamari. They also contribute to the manufacture of soy flour for baking.

• Black soybeans. In traditional Asian cuisines, black soybeans are boiled or fermented.

If you’d like to substitute dairy in your diet, consider soy milk and cheese as potential options.

Soybeans also provide soy oil, which can be used for cooking or as an ingredient. After extracting the oil from soybeans, the residual is used to make feed for farm animals and pets.

5 Key Nutrition Facts about Soy

Soybeans are mostly protein but also have a lot of carbohydrates and fat. Here are the key nutritional facts about soy.

1. Proteins

Soybeans are one of the most significant sources of plant-based protein.

They have a protein content of 36-56% by dry weight.

One cup (172 g) of cooked soybeans has approximately 31g of protein.

Soy protein has excellent nutritional value, although it is not as high in quality as other animal proteins.

Glycinin and conglycinin are the two primary forms of protein found in soybeans, accounting for around 80% of the total protein content. It’s important to note that some people may develop allergic responses to these proteins.

Soy protein consumption also leads to a slight reduction in a person’s cholesterol levels.

2. Fat

Soybeans are oilseeds that can be used to produce soybean oil.

Their fat content is around 18% of the dry weight – primarily polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids and traces of saturated fat.

Linoleic acid is soybean’s most common fat, accounting for around half of the total fat content.

3. Carbs

Whole soybeans are very low on the glycemic index (GI), which measures how meals impact blood sugar levels after meals.

Because of their low GI, soybeans are appropriate for people with diabetes.

4. Fiber

Soybeans are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber.

The insoluble fibers are mostly alpha-galactosidase, which might induce gas and diarrhea in people who are sensitive to them.

FODMAPs, which include alpha-galactosidase, is a kind of fiber that may aggravate the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Soybean soluble fibers are considered healthful, despite eliciting unpleasant side effects in some people.

They are fermented in your colon by bacteria, resulting in the synthesis of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which enhance gut health and lower the risk of colon cancer.

5. Minerals and vitamins

Soybeans are rich in several vitamins and minerals, including:

• Molybdenum. Molybdenum, an essential trace element mainly found in seeds, grains, and legumes, is abundant in soybeans.

• Vitamin K1. Phylloquinone is the type of vitamin K available in legumes. It aids in the formation of blood clots.

• Folate. Folate, often known as vitamin B9, serves several roles in your body and is especially crucial during pregnancy.

• Copper. Copper consumption is not prevalent in people from Western nations. Lacking this vital nutrient can negatively impact your heart health.

• Thiamine. Thiamine, often referred to as B1, is vital for multiple body activities.

The Bottom Line

Soybeans are rich in protein and an excellent source of fats and carbs. They are high in vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant components, including isoflavones. Therefore, frequent soybean consumption can relieve menopausal symptoms and lower your risk of breast and prostate cancer. Use this guide to understand the nutritional facts of soy and what you can benefit from this legume.

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