Soybeans have a wealth of benefits, including their ability to improve the metabolism, help in healthy weight gain, protect heart health, defend against cancer, and reduce the effects of menopause. They improve digestion, promote bone health, protect against birth defects, increase circulation, decrease the risk of diabetes, and generally tone up the body.
Table of Contents
- What are Soybeans?
- Soybeans Nutrition Facts
- Health Benefits of Soybeans
- Side Effects of Soybeans
What are Soybeans?
Soybeans, which are also known as soya beans, are a species of legume that has become one of the most widely consumed foods in the world. They are extremely useful for human health and they are easy to cultivate as well. These legumes are produced in greatest numbers in the United States and South America, but they are actually native to East Asia. Their scientific name is Glycine max, and they are classified as an oilseed, rather than a pulse, like most legumes. Soybeans have become wildly important and popular in recent decades because of the rise in soy food’s popularity, including soy milk and textured vegetable protein. The high levels of protein make these soy products an ideal protein source for vegetarians and the variety of soy products has created a massive new market altogether.
One of the reasons soybeans are widely cultivated is because they contain more protein per acre of land than any other crop. They grow up to 2 meters in height and are a green, low-lying plant. Furthermore, soybeans are packed with other essential nutrients, making them extremely important for people on diets, those who need to improve their overall health, and vegetarians and vegans throughout the world. We can talk about the importance of soybeans all day, but why are they so important? What exactly is found in these wonderful beans? Let’s take a closer look at the nutrition facts of soybeans.
The health benefits of soybeans come from the nutrients, vitamins, and organic compounds including a significant amount of dietary fiber and a very large amount of protein. In terms of vitamins, soybeans contain vitamin K, riboflavin, folate, vitamin B6, thiamin, and vitamin C. As for minerals, soybeans contain significant amounts of iron, manganese, phosphorous, copper, potassium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, and calcium. They are also a good source of organic compounds and antioxidants, which further help in boosting your health.
Health Benefits of Soybeans
The health benefits of soybeans include the following:
Improve Metabolic Activity
As mentioned above, soybeans are an extremely important source of protein. When you have enough proteins in your body, your metabolic functioning and the overall system will get a major boost. Proteins are the building blocks of cells and blood vessels and basically every essential part of the human body. Proteins from soybeans ensure proper health and regrowth of cells if they need to be repaired or replaced. It can be difficult to get enough protein when you follow a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, so soybeans provide an excellent replacement for proteins that are normally acquired from red meat, chicken, eggs, dairy products, and fish.
Healthy Weight Gain
Soybeans and soy-based products have been associated with appetite suppression to eliminate overeating, which can lead to obesity and related risks. However, soybeans also provide a decent amount of fiber and protein, which can help in weight gain, if eaten in large quantities. Therefore, soybeans are beneficial for people that want to lose weight as well as the ones who want to gain some. Furthermore, the weight they provide to your body is not unhealthy high-fat or high cholesterol in nature, which protects you from dangerous conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
The levels of antioxidants in soybeans make them good for preventing the onset of various cancers. Antioxidants seek out and neutralize free radicals, which are the dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism. These free radicals can cause healthy cells to mutate into deadly cancerous cells. Furthermore, the high fiber content in soybeans has been connected to a reduction in colorectal and colon cancer, since fiber helps to ease the digestive process and put far less strain on the gastrointestinal system.
Boost Heart Health
Soybeans are a source of healthier, unsaturated fat, which helps you lower your total cholesterol. This allows you to prevent conditions like atherosclerosis, which can easily lead to heart attack and stroke. Furthermore, there are some specific fatty acids that are necessary for a healthy system. Two of those fatty acids are linoleic acid and linolenic acid. These two fatty acids, found in significant amounts in soybeans, regulate smooth muscle function in the body and help to maintain appropriate blood pressure levels. Finally, the fiber in soybeans has actually been shown to reduce cholesterol levels in the body by scraping that excess off of the walls of blood vessels and arteries.
Relieve Menopausal Symptoms
Soybeans are a very good source of isoflavones, which are essential components of the female reproductive system. During menopause, estrogen levels drop significantly. Isoflavones are able to bind to estrogen receptor cells, so the body doesn’t feel as though it is going through such a dramatic change. This can ease many of the symptoms of menopause, such as mood swings, hot flashes, and hunger pains. Menopause can be a traumatic time of life for many women and soybeans are a great way to ease that major life transition.
One of the most common elements lacking in many people’s diet is fiber, which is present in high quantities in soybeans. Fiber is an essential part of a healthy body, particularly in terms of the digestive system. Fiber bulks up your stool, making it move through your digestive system smoothly. Furthermore, it stimulates peristaltic motion, which is the contraction of the smooth muscles that push food through your system. It is vital also because constipation can be a very serious condition that can lead to more serious conditions, including colorectal cancer.
Improve Bone Health
Soybeans have a high vitamin and mineral content and the impressive levels of calcium, magnesium, copper, selenium, and zinc are very important for a variety of processes in the body, most importantly for bones. All of these elements are essential for promoting osteotropic activity, which allows for new bones to grow and also speeds up the healing process of the bones. Eating soybeans can be a long-term solution for problems like osteoporosis, which commonly occurs as we age.
Prevent Birth Defects
The high levels of vitamin B complex and folic acid in soybeans are very important for pregnant women. Folic acid ensures the prevention of neural tube defects in infants, which ensures a happy and healthy baby.
Copper and iron are two minerals found in abundance in soybeans and both of these are essential for the formation of red blood cells. With an appropriate amount of red blood cells in the body, extremities of the body and essential organ systems can get the blood flow and oxygen they need to function efficiently. This maximizes metabolic activity and increases energy levels, while also avoiding dangerous conditions like anemia.
This dreaded disease has been on the rise among the globe for more than a decade. Soybeans are an effective method of prevention and management of this disease, primarily because soybeans have shown an ability to increase insulin receptors in the body, thereby helping to manage the disease effectively or prevent it from occurring in the first place.
Relieve Sleep Disorders
Soybeans help in reducing sleep disorders and the occurrence of insomnia. However, soybeans also have a high content of magnesium, which is directly linked to increasing the quality, duration, and restfulness of your sleep.
Side Effects of Soybeans
Although there are many beneficial aspects to consuming soybeans and soy products, there are also some potentially negative health effects of consuming soybeans as a part of your diet;
Estrogen Levels: Since there are estrogen-mimicking compounds in soybeans, men can occasionally develop a hormone imbalance if they consume high amounts of soybeans or soy milk. In men, this can lead to infertility, sexual dysfunction, lower sperm count, and even an increase in the chances of certain cancers.
Goiter: There are certain anti-thyroid compounds in soy that can disrupt the activity of the thyroid gland and result in goiter, as well as an interruption of normal hormonal activity in the body.
Besides these effects, which are seen in a relatively small portion of the population, soy is a healthy and beneficial choice for millions of people around the world. Give it a try!