Soybean is hailed as the most protective bean. Soy contains 26 percent protein. It has the highest protein content amongst plant products. “Soy protein” refers to the protein found in soybeans. They are an important component of Asian diets and have been consumed for thousands of years. Today, they are mainly grown in Asia and South and North America. As animal protein contains all the essential amino acids, lacking in pulse protein, soy is often used to replace the animal proteins in an individual’s diet. Various soy products are available, including soy flour, soy protein, tofu, soy milk, soy sauce and soybean oil.
Soybean is the richest plant source of protein. Soy protein is also of the highest quality amongst all legumes. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Food and Drug Administration use an alternative method for evaluating protein quality called the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS). Soybeans are among the best sources of plant based protein. The protein content of soybeans is 36–56% of the dry weight. Soy foods if used smartly contribute significantly toward meeting protein needs, and could be an excellent addition to a diet for a variety of reasons.
The Nutrition Benefits of Soybean
- Being low in carbs, whole soybeans are very low on the glycemic index (GI), which is a measure of how foods affect the rise in blood sugar after a meal.
- The polyunsaturated fat content of soybean includes linolenic acid or omega-3 fatty acid. The presence of omega–3 fats makes it special as soybeans are one of the very few plant sources of this essential fatty acid.
- A serving of soybeans provides approximately eight grams of dietary fibre. However some soy foods are processed in ways that decrease the fiber content significantly.
- Soy is rich in iron too. However, both phytate and soy protein reduce iron absorption which leads to the iron in soyfoods being poorly absorbed.
- Tofu and soymilk contain very little fiber, while soy foods that utilize the whole bean such as tempeh, soy flour and textured soy protein are high in fiber.
- Soybeans are a very rich source of plant-based protein and fat. What’s more their high fiber content is good for your gut health.
- Iron could be better absorbed from fermented soy foods like tempeh and miso.
- Soybeans are rich in molybdenum, an essential trace element primarily found in seeds, grains and legumes Low in fat with no cholesterol.
- Contains essential heart friendly omega-3 fats.
- Dietary intake of copper is often low in Western. populations.Deficiency may have adverse effects on heart health.
- The form of vitamin K found in legumes is known as phylloquinone. It plays an important role in blood clotting.
- Provides important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and selenium.
- Rich in proboscis in the form of fermented soy products, such as miso, tempeh and soy yogurt.
- Contains isoflavones which are beneficial in reducing risk of various cancers, heart disease and osteoporosis.
- Thiamine plays an important role in many bodily functions.
- Defatted soy flour is commonly available. Reduced-fat tofu and reduced or non-fat soy milk also form some low fat alternatives.