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Soy beans are the darlings of the vegetarian world and are used as a main ingredient in many delicious foods. Originally from Asia, these versatile beans are rich in protein and other important nutrients. They can be used to make oil, tempeh, flour and many other products. Learn why soy beans are good for your health and how you can work them into your everyday diet.
Types of Nutrients in Soy Beans
Perhaps the most famous nutrient in soy beans is protein. They are considered to be one of the top sources of protein that is not animal-based. Soy beans are mineral powerhouse with high levels of calcium, magnesium, potassium and selenium. They contain high quantities of folic acid, good fats, healthy carbohydrates, fiber and traces of each vitamin.
Soy Beans and Digestion
Soy beans do a lot of good for your digestive system. The fiber they contain can help pass waste easily, which is great for those with constipation and diarrhea. This dietary fiber is the insoluble kind, which is used by the body to make loose stools firmer. If you are frequently constipated, soy beans can help to get rid of waste in your colon.
Soy Beans and Weight Loss
As you lose weight, controlling the appetite and holding on to muscle become increasingly challenging. Not only do you need to consume fewer calories, vigorous exercise can impact muscles negatively. Luckily, soy beans have quite a lot of protein. This protein can keep you full to suppress your appetite, and can be used to repair, grow and feed muscle.
Another big bonus for dieters is the calorie count of soy beans. A ½ cup of soy beans adds up to around 100 calories. This amount, of course, depends on whether you serve them alone or as part of other dishes. To keep calories low, it is advisable to add soy beans or soy products to low-energy meals like soups and salads.
Soy Beans and the Heart
Bad fats and cholesterol damage cardiovascular health. Soy beans, particularly soy bean oil, can help you substitute bad fatty acids for good, unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats do not clog arteries like the saturated kind. In addition, oil made from soy beans can also lower cholesterol thus preventing heart diseases and cardiac arrests.
Soy Beans and Bone Health
Soy beans can greatly benefit your bones because they contain calcium. Calcium has a lot of uses in the body, but one of the main functions is to increase bone density and strength. When coupled with isoflavones, soy beans can prevent osteoporosis. This combination of nutrients can also reduce the symptoms commonly associated with menopause.
Cooking with Soy Beans
Soy beans can be bought and eaten alone. However, some prefer soy products because they can be easily added to many dishes. Popular soy products include tofu, soy milk, soy meat and tempeh. If you’re looking for healthier oils to cook with, soy bean oil is a good option. You can also use soy flour to prepare a variety of baked treats.