In the past decade or so there has been a whole lot of talk about soy. Soy milk, soy beans, organic soy and soya.
What exactly is soy? What are the benefits to getting more soy into your diet and are there any side effects to eating a lot of soy in your diet?
The soy bean is in the legume family and from East Asia. In Japan the plant is referred to as edamame. In English, edamame is used when referring to a specific sort of dish however.
Soy originated as a fat free meal and primary source of protein for farm animals. Soy vegetable oil is also a product of the soy plant. Did you know that soy beans are actually made to make soy sauce? That is a connection that many people never made.
Nowadays, the biggest producers of soy besides East Asia are the United States, Brazil, India, Argentina and China.
Inside the soy beans are large amounts of phytic acid, isoflavones genistein, alpha-Linolenic acid and daidzein.
For human consumption it is not recommended to eat raw soybeans because there are trypsin inhibitors in raw soy beans. It is recommended first to cook the soy beans with ‘wet’ heat. Cooking the soy beans in wet heat will destroy any and all of the trypsin inhibitors.
Many consider soy to be a source of complete protein and consider including all of the essential amounts of vitamins and minerals such as all of your amino acids.
Soy became very popular with vegans and vegetarians because it was their way of getting protein in their diet. Soy beans and other soy products have been used as meat and dairy alternatives for vegans, vegetarians and people who cannot have calcium for years.
Some think soy has properties of fighting off colon cancer because there are sphingolipids in the soy beans which are believed to be able to fight this off. Soy is also the least expensive way to get dietary protein into your lifestyle.
The other health benefits to getting more soy into your daily diet are the mass amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids that soy provides your body with. Soy beans also provide your body with mass amounts of isoflavones which are thought to prevent some types of cancer by nutritionists around the world.
Soy beans have also been thought to help reduce bad cholesterol in people as well as the phytic acid have antioxidant properties.