Soy or soya beans belong to the family of legumes and have been cultivated in East Asia for centuries. Soy granules are oilseeds rather than pulses. The word “soy” is derived from the Japanese work “Shoya”, which refers to soya sauce. The Chinese also refer to soy plants as “greater beans”, while the Japanese call these legumes “edamame”.
History of Soy
The Chinese have been using soy since the 11th century BC for both medical, as well as dietary purposes. Soy was considered to be one of the most sacred plants by the Chinese emperor Sheng Nung. It was during the 7th century that invaders took soybean plants to other Asian countries such as Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, India, and Nepal. Soybean became popular only in 1904 after a famous chemist by the name of George Washington Carver found them to be a good source of protein and fiber.
Health Benefits of Soy
- Soy consumption helps in building healthy bones due to the presence of calcium, isoflavones, and traces of minerals like boron and magnesium in these plants.
- Soy helps in alleviating menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings.
- Eating soy products reduces the chances of developing breast or prostate cancer.
- Soy is a good source of protein, fibers, minerals, and vitamins and is low in calories and has lesser fat content. This makes it an ideal food for people looking to lose weight.
- People who eat about 25 gm. of soy protein daily are at a lesser risk of developing high blood pressure and diabetes.