Soybean Economically The Most Important Bean In World

The origins of the soybean plant are obscure, but many botanists believe it was first domesticated in central China as early as 7000 BCE.

Soybean Economically The Most Important Bean In World

Soybean, (Glycine max), also called soja bean or soya bean, annual legume of the pea family (Fabaceae) and its edible seed. The soybean is economically the most important bean in the world, providing vegetable protein for millions of people and ingredients for hundreds of chemical products.

Domestication and history:

The origins of the soybean plant are obscure, but many botanists believe it was first domesticated in central China as early as 7000 BCE. An ancient crop, the most important bean in the world, has been used in China, Japan, and Korea for thousands of years as a food and a component of medicines.

Soybeans were introduced into the United States in 1804 and became particularly important in the South and Midwest in the mid-20th century. Brazil and Argentina are also major producers.

Physical Description:

Soybean, Glycine max, is an herbaceous annual plant in the grown for its edible seeds. The soybean plant is usually an erect bush with woody stems and alternately arranged leaves.

The leaves possess three individual leaflets which are oval or lance-like in shape, growing to a length of 3–10 cm (1.2–4.0 in). The soybean plant produces small white or purple flowers and curved seed pods which are 3–15 cm (1.2–6 in) in length and can contain between 1 and 5 seeds.

The seeds of the most important bean in world can be a variety of colors including yellow, green, brown, black or a mottled combination. Soybean is an annual plant, surviving only one growing season and can reach heights of 0.2–1.5 m (0.7–1.4 ft). Soybean may also be referred to as soya bean or soya and originates from Northeast China.

Soy products

Soybeans can be consumed in many ways.

Foods made from soybeans can be divided into unfermented and fermented foods. Unfermented foods include – tofu, soymilk, edamame, soy nuts and sprouts, while fermented soy products include – miso, tempeh, natto and soy sauce.

Soy Milk

Grinding, soaking and straining soybeans creates a mild-tasting liquid known as soy milk. Soy milk is usually a suitable replacement for dairy milk. Vanilla and chocolate soy milk are often sold alongside unflavored soy milk, which are all typically packaged in aseptic containers. A 1-cup serving of soy milk has 104 calories, 6 grams of protein and 3.5 grams of fat, on average. Fortified soy milk is a good source of calcium, iron, vitamin B-12 and vitamin D.


Soybean curd — or tofu — is created by curdling soy with a coagulant. Tofu, which has minimal flavor, can absorb seasonings and flavorings easily. Firm tofu is dense and useful in stir fries or soups. Soft tofu is mushier and works in place of yogurt in smoothies. A 1/2-cup serving of firm tofu has 88 calories, over 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of fat. Creamy desserts using tofu are common in grocery stores, as are plain blocks of tofu with varying firmness. Most Asian markets carry fresh tofu, which has a smoother texture and flavor.

Soy Sauces

Soy sauce is one of the most common soy products available. This dark brown liquid with a salty taste is made by fermenting soybeans. Shoyu and tamari are common varieties of soy sauce and are typically available in different levels of darkness. A 1-teaspoon serving of tamari has 4 calories and 335 milligrams of sodium. Vegetable, meat and tofu dishes often call for soy sauce, but it is even used in some cookie recipes.

Soybean Oil

According to The United Soybean Board, most margarines, shortenings and salad dressings contain soybean oil. In addition, most of the “vegetable oil” you see in the grocery store is pure soybean oil. The American Heart Association lists soybean oil as a safe fat for maintaining health and longevity. A 1-teaspoon serving of soybean oil has 40 calories, 4.5 grams of fat and less than 1 gram of saturated fat. Soybean oil is mostly flavorless, making it a non-intrusive ingredient in most dishes.

Other Soy Products

Soybeans are an incredibly versatile ingredient used to make numerous products found around the world. A few examples include whipped soy topping, soy cheese, soy yogurt, soy nut butter, soy grits, soy ice cream, soy meat alternatives and soy nuts. Yuba, which is a thin sheet made from soybeans, is useful for making wraps and soups; tempeh is a pressed, fermented block of soybeans; miso is a fermented soybean concoction used in soup; natto is a sticky, fermented soybean dish.

Nutrition facts

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 (1Trusted Source):

Calories: 172

Water: 63%

Protein: 18.2 grams

Carbs: 8.4 grams

Sugar: 3 grams

Fiber: 6 grams

Fat: 9 grams

Saturated: 1.3 grams

Monounsaturated: 1.98 grams

Polyunsaturated: 5.06 grams

Health benefits of soy foods

Research suggests that soybeans and soy foods have a range of health benefits.

Coronary heart disease and soybean

Having a diet rich in soy foods is linked with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, including stroke and coronary heart disease. Oestrogen may protect women against heart disease during their reproductive years, but rates of heart disease increase after menopause. Most important bean in world has been shown to lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels, both known risk factors of heart disease.

Soybeans and menopause

Due to their phytoestrogen content, it is thought soy can reduce menopausal symptoms (such as hot flushes). This is based on observations of women in some parts of Asia, who tend to have soy-rich diets and typically fewer hot flushes during menopause than women on meat-rich diets.

The phytoestrogens in soy appear to act like a mild form of menopausal hormone therapy (MHT). However, compared with traditional MHT, it would take almost a year of regular soy consumption to have similar health benefits.

Other health benefits of soybean

Other possible health benefits of soy foods include: lowered blood pressure, improvements to blood vessels, (such as greater elasticity of artery walls), improved bone health, protection against some cancers (including breast cancer) and improved cognitive function and visual memory.