by Melissa Chichester
One bean has received more attention than others for its versatility: the soybean.
Soybeans are native to Asia and were first cultivated more than 7,000 years ago. They are used in many traditional unfermented and fermented foods, including:
Another common food made of soybeans is edamame – or immature soybeans in the pod that are typically steamed and seasoned for consumption.
As a source of iron, magnesium, dietary fiber, protein, and calcium, soybeans are a filling and nutritious dietary choice. Because of their high protein content, many people seeking vegetarian protein supplements choose soy-based products.
Because of their versatility and benefits, compounds from soybeans have been used in a variety of supplements.
Soy lecithin is a yellow-brown substance extracted from soybean oil during processing. Lecithin can be used in liquid form or as soy lecithin granules. Lecithin attracts water and fat, making soy lecithin a useful food additive used to smooth out the texture of products.
In addition, soy lecithin is an important source of choline. Choline is a vital component of all cell membranes and plays an important role in cell function.*
Lecithin also contains phospholipids, which are made up of fatty acids that are components of the cell membrane. Phospholipid levels in the brain may decline with age Lecithin also contributes to the health of the nervous system.*
Soy isoflavones are a compound that makes soy unique compared to other plants.
As a plant-based source of phytoestrogens, soy isoflavones help with hot flashes in menopausal women.*
For vegetarians, vegans, and people sensitive to dairy, soy protein supplements are a great option to support protein intake.
Plant-based proteins don’t usually contain all of the essential amino acids your body cannot make, but soy does. This means soy protein is a complete protein. Plus, it contains little fat and no cholesterol, making it a good choice to consider if you are on a low-cholesterol diet.
Soy can be a part of your optimal nutrition plan and well-balanced diet. The best way to receive the benefits of soy is by eating fermented and unfermented soy foods. To add soy supplements to your routine, speak to your doctor first to find out what’s best for you.
|*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.