Soybeans are high protein plant foods that people can prepare and eat in a variety of ways. They belong to the pea family. They also come in different colours, including:
- Green Soybeans [Edamame]
- Shelled Edamame
- Yellow Soybeans
- Black Soybeans
Green Soybeans [Edamame]
This type of soybeans can be steamed and eaten out of the pod as an appetizer. The green soybeans or Edamame is an immature soybeans, traditionally eaten in Asia, it is fast gaining popularity in the western world, where it is typically eaten as a snack.
Shelled edamame are also used in salad, stir-fries, and soup.
Yellow soybeans are typically used by producers to make soy milk, tofu, tempeh, and tamari. This type of soya also plays a role in the production of soy flour for baking.
The black soybeans are prominent in several Asian food cultures. It is often used in their traditional dishes in its simmered or fermented form.
Health Benefits of Soybeans
Soy foods are controversial, some people do avoid eating soybeans always, partly because they may interfere with thyroid function. Nevertheless, despite these concerns, soybeans also have several health benefits. Some of these health benefits includes the fact that;
- It is Very Rich In Protein
Soybeans, especially edamame, contain around 12% protein, which is a decent amount for a plant food. It is also a quality protein source, providing all the essential amino acids.
- Cholesterol Levels
Soybeans may lower cholesterol levels because they are rich in protein, antioxidants and fibre that may lower circulating cholesterol levels. it is however unclear whether eating edamame has any effects on the risk of heart disease.
- Blood Sugar Health
Edamame does not raise blood sugar, is low in carbs, it is suitable for people with type 2 diabetes, as well as those who follow a low-carb diet.
- High Vitamins and Minerals
It is also very rich in vitamins and minerals. It contains high amounts of several vitamins [especially vitamin K and folate] and minerals, as well as fiber.
Other health benefits include:
- Reduces Risk of Breast Cancer
Observational studies also show that soybeans based foods like edamame may reduce the risk of breast cancer, although not all studies agree with this position.
- Menopausal Health
Lot of studies suggest that eating soya beans based food may reduce menopausal symptoms, but the evidence has not been consistent.
- Evidence has also suggested that eating soy beans based products may also protect against prostate cancer. More studies are needed to establish this as a proof though.
- The presence of Isoflavones in soybeans might reduce bone loss in middle-aged and older women.
Soybeans are helpful and rich in protein, giving them numerous nutritional uses. People can eat them, drink them in milk alternatives, and take them in the form of supplements. manufacturers may also extract oil from soybeans and use the oil to make ecological friendly fuel as well as candles, crayons and engine lubricants.
Origin of Soybeans
Soybeans or soya beans (Glycine max) are a type of legume native to eastern Asia. They are an important component of Asian diets and have been consumed for thousands of years.
Today, they are mainly grown in Asia and South and North America. In Asia, soybeans are often eaten whole, but heavily processed soy products are much more common in Western countries. Various soy products are available, including soy flour, soy protein, tofu, soy milk, soy sauce, and soybeans oil.
Soybeans contain antioxidants and phytonutrients that are linked to various health benefits. However, concerns have been raised about potential adverse effects.
What Is the Composition of Soybeans?
Soybeans are mainly composed of protein but also contain good amounts of carbs and fat. The nutrition facts for 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of boiled soybeans are 173 Calories, 63% Water, 16.6 grams of protein, 9.9 grams of carbs, 3 grams of sugar, 6 grams of fiber, 9 grams of fat, 1.3 grams of saturated, 1.98 grams of monounsaturated,5.06 gram of polyunsaturated, 4.47 gram of Omega-6 and 0.6 gram of Omega-3.
Soybeans are among the best sources of plant-based protein. The protein content of soybeans is 36–56% of the dry weight. One cup (172 grams) of boiled soybeans boasts around 29 grams of protein. The nutritional value of soy protein is good, although the quality is not quite as high as animal protein.
The main types of protein in soybeans are glycinin and conglycinin, which make up approximately 80% of the total protein content. These proteins may trigger allergic reactions in some people. Consumption of soy protein has been linked with a modest decrease in cholesterol levels.
Soybeans are also 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. The predominant type of fat in soybeans is linoleic acid, accounting for approximately 50% of the total fat content.
Soya milk and cheese are also options for those looking to replace dairy in the diet. The beans are also oil which could be used for cooking or as an ingredient. The remaining material left after removing oil from soybeans can also be used to make feed for farm animals and pets. Furthermore, some manufacturers make protein powder and isoflavones supplements from soya. The most nutritious and healthful soybeans are the less processed ones such as, Cooked soybeans, edamame, soya milk, tofu, tempeh and soya nuts.
The beans contain all nine essential amino acids and it is an important source of protein for many people especially those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet. Soya beans contain antioxidants and phytonutrients, which are beneficial for health. Moderate amounts of whole soy foods included as part of a varied and healthful diet may offer health benefits. More research is necessary on both organic and genetically modified soy to assess their overall benefits and risks.
Is Soybeans Keto-friendly?
The Keto diet follows a very low carb, moderate protein, high fat eating pattern aimed at achieving weight loss or other health benefits. Typically, strict versions of the Keto diet forbid legumes, given their generally high carb contents. while soybeans are legumes, their unique nutritional profile may make you wonder if they are keto-friendly.
Despite having a good amount of protein, Soybeans are high in Carbs and on a Keto Diet, we can consume a maximum of 50grams of carbs only in a day.
Soya are very high in phytoestrogen, which could affect hormone level and many soya are highly processed, and this is something you should highly avoid on a keto diet. Soya products are also high in phytate, which can bind to minerals and prevent their absorption into the body. Soya foods like tofu and tempeh are high in protein and fat, but low in carbs. This makes them acceptable on a low-carb vegetarian/vegan diet.
So, not all preparations are keto-friendly, various factors may influence soybeans designation as keto-friendly or not. For instance, the preparation is something to consider. Soybeans, especially edamame can be steamed, boiled, or fried – in or out of its pod. While its fuzzy outer pod is not fit for eating, its bright-green beans are often shelled and eaten on their own. They can also be introduced, added or incorporated into a range of foods, such as salads and grain bowls, which may or may not be keto-friendly.
Soy milk for instance is not keto. While unsweetened varieties are low in carbs, that does not mean that it is good for your health. There are healthy and unhealthy foods you can include in a keto diet. One cup of unsweetened soy milk has about 2 grams of net carbs – net carbs are in general, the carbohydrates in a food that your body actually absorbs and uses.
Although soy milk does not really affect your ketone level because it is low in carbs, it is unlikely to affect your ketone level if you are just adding a small amount of shakes, smoothies, coffee or tea. Soy milk is highly processed, the processing of soybeans involves exposure to a solvent known as hexane which is a neurotoxin that is most dangerous when inhaled, and it is definitely not too good for the body when ingested either. There are also problematic substances in soya milk called phytates and lectin which can cause gut irritation.
They are also found in many grains and legumes as part of the “defence system” that plants use to stop themselves from being eaten. The lectins in soyabean can cause inflammation and leaky gut syndrome. So soya milk is not Keto. A small amount is not going to kick you out of ketosis for sure.
Tofu is actually made from soya milk, although it only contains 0-1g of net carbs per 100g serving, it is a very concentrated form of soya, so the same problems that affect taking soya milk affect it too. Soy protein powder is made from dried defatted and dehydrated soybeans, but it is highly processed, and since there are many other healthier ways to increase your protein intake, soy protein powder is best avoided on Keto.
On the other hand, While processed soy can be problematic for your health in the long run, whole or fermented products can actually be very beneficial for your health. Edamame [young soybeans in the pod] are keto-friendly in small amounts. There are 5g net carbs per 100g of edamame beans, thus it is not advisable to eat too many.
Most Soya sauce is not keto-friendly, but gluten-free tamari and coconut aminos are great keto-friendly alternatives. Traditionally, soya sauce is made simply by fermenting soybeans. The fermentation gets rid of most of the problems with soybeans, but nowadays, wheat is usually added to the soybeans, but you can still find wheat-free and gluten-free varieties.
Brands labeled “gluten-free” are keto-friendly.
Keep in mind that what you are eating alongside or with your soy food will contribute to the number of carbs you are getting in that meal. Keeping this in mind and taking it into account will aid your efforts to maintain ketosis.
The general rule is to avoid soya products where possible with the exception of whole or fermented soya. Do not make soya milk or tofu a regular part of your keto diet, but feel free to add in gluten-free tamari sauce and edamame beans for more variation and flavour. Do not only look at the carb count in a food, study and pay attention to how that food affects your total well-being.