Soy bean as commonly called in North America and soya bean as popularly called in Africa is specie of legume native to East Asia, widely grown for its edible bean which has numerous uses. Countries growing soy beans globally are the United States (32% of world total according to 2016 forecast), Brazil (31%) and Argentina (18%). The plant can either be cultivated as seen in the above countries or can grow wildly as seen in China, Japan and Russia. The word Soy originated from the corruption of Chinese or Japanese names for Soy Sauce.
Soy bean contains 36% protein and 20% fats and oil, the other components include carbohydrates 30%, water 9%, and ash 5%.
Soy beans can be used for various purposes as;
Soy bean oil, the oil possess a high content of omega 3 fatty acid.
Food for human consumption.
Soy based infant formulae.
Meat and dairy alternatives and extenders.
Soy nut butter, just like peanut butter.
Sweetened soy bean.
It can also be in industrial products as oils, soap, cosmetics, resins, plastics, inks, crayon, solvent and clothing.
- Soy bean is considered safe for cancer patients according to the American cancer society.
- It contains significant amount of essential omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linoleic acid. Its oil also contain an omega-6.
- Food and drug administrative (FDA) approved soy as a cholesterol-lowering food, along with other heart and health benefits.
- It contains Phytic acid which has the effects of acting as an antioxidant and a chelating agent. Phytic acid is credited to reducing cancer, minimizing diabetes and reducing inflammation.
- It is believed to improve circulation because it contains copper and iron which are essential for the formation of red blood cells and appropriate amount of red blood cells in the body is essential for healthy blood flow.
- It prevents birth defects in pregnant women due to high level of vitamin complex and folic acid. Folic acid ensures happy and healthy baby.
- There are essential elements for promoting osteotropic activities which allows new bones to grow and also speeds up the healing process of the bones and these elements can be found in calcium. Magnesium, copper, selenium and zinc which are present in Soy beans.
- Soy bean possess high fiber content which in turn aids digestion.
- Soy bean helps in reducing sleep disorders as it has high magnesium content which is directly linked to increasing the quality duration and restfulness of sleep.
- Isoflavones which is essential component of female reproductive system has soy bean as its good source. Isoflavones creates an atmosphere of relieve to menopausal symptoms.
- Soy bean is very good for a healthy weight gain.
Nigerians mostly consume their soy bean when processed into beverage as either soy milk drink or in powdered beverage form. I personally grind soybean to add to my livestock feeds and also process it for my personal consumption though some researchers advised that too much consumption should not be encouraged on people with traces of cancer as a result of its omega-6 content.
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