Soy and edamame beans
Soy and soy products have been a familiar sight on supermarket shelves for decades and the less processed forms of soy have been part of traditional diets for centuries.
This is particularly true for societies in which vegan or vegetarian
diets are favoured.
Overtime, observational research
studies seem to suggest that there may be health
benefits associated with soy consumption.
Various studies in animals and humans have provided some evidence to support this association.
However, against these positive findings are reports that the consumption of soy and soy products rather than bringing health benefits,
is associated with adverse health effects such as:
A look at soy’s historical background, nutrient component and nutritional health research may shed light on knowledge discrepancies that abound and help you make informed decisions about your consumption of soy and soy products.
Soy, or more precisely the soy (soya) bean (Glycine max)
is a native legume/p
ulse of East Asia, although it may also be classified as an oil seed.
Soy beans are the seeds of the soy plant and develop in pods.
Immature pods with about 4 seeds (beans) in each pod are known as edamame and used as a vegetable in Asian cuisine.
Soy beans are now cultivated throughout the world and soy products have become popular in Western cultures as alternatives to meat
As with other legumes, the protein
content of soy beans is high relative to other plant foods.
This is in part due to symbiotic nitrogen fixing bacteria (Rhizobia) which exist within the nodules of root systems of many legumes.
The root nodules are a source of nitrogen which is necessary for amino acid
synthesis. Readily available nitrogen allows for adequate amino acid synthesis and the synthesis of various proteins.
In addition to the relatively high protein content, soy protein compares well to animal protein with respect to its essential amino acid content.
Most plant proteins
are limited with respect to one or two essential amino acids.
Soy as a legume is somewhat limited in methionine and tryptophan, but not to the extent that the quality of soy protein is affected and soy is considered to be a useful... link to the full article to learn more about soy and soy products.
Whitney, E. & Rady Rolfes, S. (2005). Understanding Nutrition. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth
Centre for Science in the Public Interest (September 2014, October 2011, November 2011, March 2010)