Soy or soybean is a specie of legume widely cultivated for its edible beans with numerous uses worldwide. Although soy is said to be of Asian origin, its popularity has gone worldwide.
As the world population grows and its attendant effects, such as an increase in food consumption, companies worldwide are looking for alternative means of food production to help sustain the environment and improve human health.
Soy is a highly nutritious food with essential vitamins, minerals, and proteins. It’s a highly versatile, nutrient-rich plant that has been used worldwide for its many advantageous qualities. It has a variety of uses and provides a range of health benefits. From aiding digestion to preventing cardiovascular disease, soy has been used for centuries to improve overall health.
Studies have revealed a wide range of benefits that soy can offer, from reducing cholesterol levels to promoting healthy skin and hair.
Soy cultivation is gaining popularity all over the world. Because of its significant amount of phytic acid, dietary minerals, and vitamin B, it has become helpful in industries, domestic consumption, farm products, animal feeds, etc.
Reports suggest that soybean is the most widely cultivated edible legume worldwide. And as global soybean production increased, international soy consumption grew to about 57 million tons between 1999 and 2019.
Nutritional and Health Benefits of Soy
There are abundant nutritional and health benefits associated with the use of soy around the world. This article highlights five splendid benefits of soy and its services across the globe.
A Great Source of Proteins
Soy is an excellent source of protein. It’s the primary protein found in soy foods. It‘s a plant-based food containing complete protein. You can incorporate soy into your daily diet.
Because it’s a complete source of protein, it serves as a dietary substitute for higher animal-fat products. This makes it a perfect choice for vegans or vegetarians who don’t consume animal products.
Coronary Heart Diseases
Another health benefit of soy is its rich source of isoflavones, compounds that may help reduce the risk of certain diseases. Foods such as tofu are rich in isoflavones could help to lower the risk of heart disease.
Studies have linked isoflavones to a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer. Isoflavones are also thought to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help protect the body from infection.
Helps Digestive System
A diet high in fiber helps to keep the digestive system healthy. Ailments such as constipation and irritable bowel syndrome are some health conditions linked to a low fiber intake.
Soy is high in fiber, which can help support digestive health and prevent constipation. Fiber also helps regulate blood sugar levels and can help reduce cholesterol.
Manage Diabetics and Sleep Disorders
Soybean has been proven to have anti-diabetic properties. People with diabetes can regularly add soybean to their meals to manage diabetics. Soybeans can produce insulin which is an effective treatment for diabetics.
Many people may need to know that soybean is also used to treat sleep disorders. Studies show that eating soybean regularly can treat symptoms of insomnia.
Uses for Soy Around the World
Besides being a sustainable source of nutrition, many other uses are associated with soy production. Soy is used in a variety of forms around the world, depending on the country’s needs. For example, soy can be used for food, animal feed, biodiesel, industrial purposes, etc.
Soy is used for soy sauce, soy kinds of pasta, and some beverages. Soy oils can be used for frying, baking, vegetable oil, salad, etc. Other food products from soy include tofu, edamame, soy milk, tempeh, miso paste, and soy sauce.
Soybean has clean, natural, and odorless tastes, making them adaptable to nearly all kinds of food. It enhances the natural flavor of prepared food and works well with other ingredients.
Unlike vegetable oils, soybean oils have powerful emulsifying abilities such that a few ounces of olive oil can produce a large quantity of flavored oil in food processing; hence it’s a compelling product for the food industry.
As An Animal Feed
Soy cultivation helps to improve soil fertility, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers. This increases the soil’s capacity to retain moisture, making it more drought-resistant and resilient to climate change.
Reports show more than 77 percent of soy is fed to livestock for meat and dairy production.
More importantly, its efficient root system helps to reduce soil erosion, preserving the soil’s fertility.
Soy is a renewable resource that can be harvested repeatedly without depleting the environment. Soy fuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions, which helps to increase energy efficiency.
Soy production uses fewer resources than other crop production methods, making it more environmentally friendly.
Soy’s impact is also evident in the industrial sectors as it is used for industrial purposes. Soy oil can be converted into paints, plastics, and cleaners. Reports indicate that soy’s use for industrial applications accounts for nearly 7 percent of soybean oil in the US.
Finally, the wide range of uses for soy products provides an economic boost to many countries worldwide. Because of the rich content of soy, various compounds, such as vitamins A, B, D, and E, can be used for multiple products like food, skincare, paints, and many more.
Many countries around the world are now cultivating soy. They use soy to feed livestock for meat and dairy production.
Soy foods are available in various forms, from tofu to tempeh, soy milk to soy sauce. Soy serves as a delicious and nutritious addition to many dishes.