Soybeans are members of the pea (legume) family of vegetables and have been a staple of Indian cuisines for generations. Soy and soy foods are popular especially for people following vegetarian & vegan diets. This is due to their high-quality “complete” protein content, and their ability to be processed into milk and meat substitutes.
Soybeans contain hormone-like substances called phytoestrogens that mimic the action of the hormone oestrogen and have been associated with beneficial health effects. Eating soybean-based foods may reduce the risk of various health problems, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, coronary heart disease (CHD), some cancers and improve bone health.
Evidence also suggests the consumption of soy and soy foods is beneficial for peri-menopausal and postmenopausal women and is linked to fewer and reduced severity of hot flushes.
Soy is a high-quality protein. It is one of the few known plant foods (the other is amaranth seed and to a lesser degree, quinoa) to contain all the essential amino acids, like those found in meat.
The soybean is:
- High in fibre
- High in protein
- Low in saturated fat
- Cholesterol free
- Lactose free
- Good source of omega-3 fatty acids
- Source of antioxidants
- High in phytoestrogens.