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Sunday, January 8, 2012
SOY OR SOYA BEANS - USEFUL SOURCE OF PROTEIN: HISTORY, USES AND HEALTH BENEFITS OF SOY BEANS
In British English we say soya bean while in US English it’s a soybean, but they are the same thing. They originated in
South-East Asia and were first domesticated in sometime around 1100 BC. From there they spread to other Asian countries where they were cultivated by the first century AD (including China ). The soya plant is a member of the Leguminoseae or Fabaceae family which includes lupins, kudzu or pueraria, liquorice, carob, peas, beans, chickpeas, indigo, alfalfa and broom to name but a few. Its wild ancestor is Glycine soja. Japan
Shoyu was imported into
Europe long before the soya bean, first by the Dutch in 1670 who supplied it to King Louis XIV of for use at his banquets. It was a luxury item at that time, just as it had been when it was first introduced into France , centuries before. John Locke, the English philosopher, wrote that it was available at a Japan restaurant in 1679 and during the 18th century soy sauce was popular in London Europe, and widely used in by the end of that century. The famous Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce had a base of soy sauce and was spiced up to market it as a different food item. Britain
Henry Ford had his scientists make strong durable plastic from soya beans and made a car entirely out of soya bean plastic. When the plant was first introduced into the American colonies by Europeans in 1765 it was called “Chinese vetches.” The soya bean has been one of the five main plant foods in China along with rice, wheat, rye, barley and millet for centuries, but the beans were fist exported to Europe only in 1908.Now soya oil is used for many purposes, in the form of flour it can be added to wheat flour and helps compensate for the lack of the amino acids, tryptophan and lysine in the grain flour. Sixty pounds or one bushel of the beans yields eleven pounds of oil and forty-eight of meal. The oil can be used as a green fuel and lubricant as well as for culinary purposes, while the lecithin extracted from the oil is a natural emulsifier and used to stabilize the ingredients of some food products, as it makes fat and water compatible, and can prevent cocoa butter and chocolate from separating for example. The oil is used in margarines, salad dressing and can be found in paints, varnishes and printers’ ink. The plants themselves have always been used as fodder for animals, so the whole plant is useful.
The choline found in soybeans lessens chronic inflammation, while a sphingolipid in the beans, soy glucosylceramide may promote gastro-intestinal health and inhibit the formation of cancerous tumours.
Soya beans also contain dietary fibre which can reduce the risk of colon cancer. Apart from the substances already mentioned above, soy beans are excellent sources of molybdenum, tryptophan, the minerals manganese, iron, and phosphorous as well as containing selenium, magnesium, copper, calcium, sodium and zinc. They contain the B-complex vitamins, B1 thiamin, B2 riboflavin, B3 niacin, B6 and folate. Soy beans are also sources of the vitamins K, A and C along with Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, 18 amino acids, and the isoflavone genistein which may help us stay thin, and which is generally considered to have anti-cancer properties. The beans are also excellent sources of protein and a good substitute for meat, at least occasionally.
The whole beans are the best for our health, although tofu, soya bean sprouts, tempeh and miso also have some benefits. The beans can be cooked in the same way as chickpeas or borlotti beans, and the fresh green beans (called endamame) are particularly tasty. Unfortunately perhaps the
is the biggest exporter of soy beans and their oil, and these are GM crops. As we don’t really know what the long-term health effects of GM food are as it has not been around long enough for valid research, it could be that soy beans may not be as healthy as they would appear at the moment. However it is probably true that if eaten in moderation they won’t be very harmful. USA