Soybeans are mainly composed of protein but also contain good amounts of carbs and fat.
Soybeans are among the best sources of plant-based protein.
The protein content of soybeans is 36–56% of the dry weight.
The nutritional value of soy protein is good, although the quality is not quite as high as animal protein.
Soybeans are classified as oilseeds and used to make soybean oil.
The fat content is approximately 18% of the dry weight — mainly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, with small amounts of saturated fat.
Being low in carbs, whole soybeans are very low on the glycemic index (GI), which is a measure of how foods affect the rise in blood sugar after a meal. This low GI makes soybeans suitable for people with diabetes.
Soybeans contain a fair amount of both soluble and insoluble fiber.
The insoluble fibers are mainly alpha-galactosides, which may cause flatulence and diarrhea in sensitive individuals.
Vitamins and minerals
Soybeans are a good source of various vitamins and minerals, including:
- Molybdenum. Soybeans are rich in molybdenum, an essential trace element primarily found in seeds, grains, and legumes.
- Vitamin K1. The form of vitamin K found in legumes is known as phylloquinone. It plays an important role in blood clotting.
- Folate. Also known as vitamin B9, folate has various functions in your body and is considered particularly important during pregnancy.
- Copper. Dietary intake of copper is often low in Western populations. Deficiency may have adverse effects on heart health.
- Manganese. A trace element found in most foods and drinking water. Manganese is poorly absorbed from soybeans due to their high phytic acid content.
- Phosphorus. Soybeans are a good source of phosphorus, an essential mineral abundant in the Western diet.
- Thiamine. Also known as vitamin B1, thiamine plays an important role in many bodily functions.
Soybeans contain higher amounts of isoflavones than other common foods.
Isoflavones are unique phytonutrients that resemble the female sex hormone estrogen. In fact, they belong to a family of substances called phytoestrogens (plant estrogens).
Some people possess a special type of gut bacteria that can convert daidzein to equol, a substance considered responsible for many of the beneficial health effects of soybeans.
Health benefits of soybeans
May reduce cancer risk
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in modern society.
A number of soybean compounds — including isoflavones and lunasin — may be responsible for the potential cancer-preventive effects.
Alleviation of menopause symptoms
Menopause is the period in a woman’s life when menstruation stops.
It is often associated with unpleasant symptoms — such as sweating, hot flashes, and mood swings — which are brought about by a reduction in estrogen levels.
Studies indicate that isoflavones, a family of phytoestrogens found in soybeans, may alleviate these symptoms.
Osteoporosis is characterized by reduced bone density and an increased risk of fractures, especially in older women.
Consumption of soy products may reduce the risk of osteoporosis in women who have undergone menopause.
These beneficial effects seem to be caused by isoflavones.
Source – Healthline.com