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Soybean: Health Benefits, Uses, Dosage and Side Effects

By NS Desk | Herbs | Posted on :   22-Dec-2020

Soybean is a leguminous crop that contains high amounts of proteins and fibers, which are considered extremely beneficial for health. It is commonly known as Soy due to its commercialized nature. Soybean is high in oil content and contains other minerals like calcium, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, etc. It can be eaten in different preparations and ways and is a staple food in many cultures worldwide in some way or another.
 
How did 'soybean' originate?
Soybeans originated in Southeast Asia and have been around for more than 8000-9000 years. Chinese farmers first domesticated it around 1100 BC. It is economically the most important bean in the world due to its nutrient content and commercial applications. The word 'soy' or 'soya' is believed to have been derived from the Japanese word- 'Shoyu.' 
 
Soybean seeds first came into North America in 1765 as a gift from a Japanese sailor to the state of Georgia. Then it became the commercial hit it is today. Soybean is easy to cultivate and harvest. The industrial processing of soybeans into its different products is far cheaper than any other bean. There are over 10,000 varieties of soybeans now.
 
Historical uses of Soybean

Soybeans have been given the "miracle crop" accolade for being the world's foremost provider of vegetable protein and oil. It has been used as a protein supplement for ages as it was easy to cook and cultivate. Soybeans were used when meat was scarce as a major source of protein in ancient diets. Most of the commercial avenues were explored by United States America when they domesticated the plant first in 1804.
 
Since then, massive industries were made to process soybeans commercially as they were found to be rich in protein and a much cheaper option than meat. In 1904, Soybeans were produced so much that they had to be used as animal fodder, which resulted in healthier cattle and more milk production, leading to better businesses.
 
Most traditional dishes prepared in Southeast Asia involve soybean's use in one way or another. It became a secondary staple to such regions along with rice. Its paste has been used to treat skin infections and burns ever since it came under Ayurveda's purview under Shushrut Samhita.
 
Benefits of using Soybean in medical treatment
Soybean improves the metabolism, which can be helpful in weight management and quick recovery of muscles. It helps in managing blood sugar levels by facilitating insulin secretion because of its antioxidant property. Soy milk prepared from Soybean can be drunk by people who cannot drink normal milk due to lactose intolerance; soy milk is completely lactose-free. Thus, it is often used as an able replacement of milk in many products as well.
 
Soybean is rich in isoflavones, which prevent fat build-up in the body and reduce the chances of obesity or manage it to a certain extent. Studies have suggested that isoflavones can also lead to a lesser risk of hormone-associated cancers, including prostate cancer and breast cancers. 
 
Soybean is considered a valuable food as it has anti-aging properties that help in the regeneration of skin cells and prevent wrinkles and fine lines in the skin for a prolonged period. Soybean oil's application on the skin has a rejuvenating effect on the damaged areas due to scars or wounds. As it is rich in high-quality protein, a Soybean oil application on hair might prevent hair damage and improve hair growth.
 
Treating diseases/disorder using Soybean
 
1. Breast cancer:

There is an absence of conclusive evidence to suggest soybean's effects on breast cancer patients. Some studies suggest that the consumption of Soybean might be beneficial in curbing cancer symptoms due to the presence of isoflavones in it.
 
2. Diabetes Mellitus (Type 1 and 2)
Soybean is rich in antioxidants, which can help in managing diabetes. It reduces the extensive breakdown of carbohydrates, prevents free radicals from damaging pancreatic cells, and enhances insulin secretion by the same. More insulin results in lower blood sugar levels and thus, helping in managing diabetes.
 
In type 2 diabetes, the cells cannot absorb the glucose in the bloodstream resulting in the residual sugar harming the other tissues. Soy isoflavones improve insulin sensitivity, helping curb the problems associated with type 2 diabetes to a great extent.
 
Tips: Take roasted soybeans (seasoned or unseasoned) and grind them to make a powder. This powder can be added to various meals of your diet to maintain normal blood sugar levels daily.
 
3. High cholesterol:
Soybean or Soybean oil's regular consumption helps in managing cholesterol levels due to its hypolipidemic property. It contains antioxidants that lower the total cholesterol, LDL (bad cholesterol), and triglyceride levels in the blood.
 
Tips: The use of soybean oil in cooking daily meals can help maintain cholesterol levels that usually arise due to food consumption.
 
4. Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Soybean is rich in saponins that help manage blood pressure levels by regulating the hormonal interaction of renin-angiotensin, which controls the blood pressure. Thus, regular consumption of soybean could curb the problems caused by hypertension.
 
5. Osteoporosis:
Soybeans and the products based on it can help in treating osteoporosis due to its anti-resorptive properties. This helps in slowing down or blocking the resorption of the bone, maintaining its density and quality. In women, osteoporosis is caused due to a deficiency in estrogen hormone. The presence of phytoestrogens regulates hormone secretion and balance in the blood leading to a reduced risk of osteoporosis. This results in stronger bones, and the symptoms of osteoporosis do not show up.
 
Tips: Take sprouted soybean seeds and take the sprouts with cooked vegetables and add to a soup. This will fulfill the daily nutrition requirement and keeps your bones healthy and strong, providing respite from osteoporosis.
 
6. Inflammatory bowel disease:
Soybeans and soy supplements help in inflammatory bowel disease by curbing the inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS) due to proteins and isoflavones in it. These constituents have an anti-inflammatory effect inhibiting the release of inflammatory mediators and reducing inflammation naturally. They prevent intestinal cell damage due to their antioxidant properties as well.
 
7. Menopause:
Even though menopause will happen at a certain age, its onset can be prolonged by regular consumption of Soybean and its products. This is because soybeans are rich in phytoestrogens that are quite similar to the naturally occurring hormone estrogen and help maintain hormonal balance and action. Phytoestrogens act as natural facilitators for the secretion of estrogen by the endocrine glands, preventing menopause symptoms from occurring.
 
8. Metabolic syndrome:
Metabolic syndrome is a chain of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease. It includes factors like obesity, insulin resistance, increased triglyceride levels in blood, hypertension, etc. Soybean helps manage these problems due to its high fiber content and phytoestrogens that help manage body weight, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels. Therefore, it is usually used as a preventive diet for maintaining cardiovascular (heart) health.
 
9. Vaginitis:
In vaginitis, the walls of the vagina become thin, dry, and inflamed due to low levels of estrogen in the body. It might help in managing vaginal atrophy due to the presence of isoflavones. Application of Soybean gel on the vaginal area provides relief from drying, inflammation, and thinning of walls of the vagina.
 
10. Wrinkles:
Soybean is rich in anti-aging properties, which help prevent the occurrence of wrinkles, fine lines, and scars caused because of age. The antioxidants present in Soy destroy the free radicals that hamper the body's tissues and skin. These antioxidants further protect the skin from harmful UV rays that destroy the outer skin layers.
 
Tips: A few drops of Soybean oil are mixed with a few drops of coconut oil. This mixture is applied to the affected area once or twice every week to get rid of aging symptoms on the skin.
 
Forms of soybean with the recommended dosage

1. Soybean- as per need.
2. Soybean seeds
3. Soybean oil- 1-2 teaspoons for individual preparation or as per need.
4. Soybean milk
5. Soy tofu
6. Soy isoflavone capsule- 1 capsule, twice a day or as directed by the physician.
7. Soy sprouts

 
Types of treatments using soybean:

1. Soy isoflavones Capsule:
Take 1 Soy isoflavones capsule with normal water after breakfast and after dinner. This will cure vitamin D deficiency, depression, stress and provide relief to diabetic patients.
 
2. Soybean oil:
This can be used in multiple ways but mostly during cooking (as per requirement) daily meals to manage cholesterol levels in the blood. It can also be applied to the skin with coconut oil to get rid of aging symptoms in wrinkles and fine lines.
 
3. Non-fermented soy food:
 

i) Soy milk
This is to be prepared by heating water extract f ground soybeans and filtering it. This can be served hot or cold as a beverage in breakfast or after workout sessions to fulfill daily nutritional needs. This preparation helps in maintaining good digestion and, it is also beneficial in diabetes.
 
ii) Tofu:
This is a white protein curd prepared from soy milk with salt or acid. This can be eaten in place of meat as a protein source and can also be added in vegetable seasonings and served as a main dish.
 
iii) Soy sprouts:
The germination of soybean seeds forms them. It can be characterized as dark yellow cotyledons in the form of outgrowths. This can be used in cooking as a vegetable or as an additive in soups. It helps in fulfilling the nutritional content that is to be met daily during bodybuilding or recovery days.
 
iv) Roasted soybeans:
Roasted soybeans (seasoned and unseasoned) can be used as a snack. It can be used by grinding it to make a powder and sprinkled on top of seasonings to add to its overall nutritional value during meals.
 
4. Non-fermented Soy food:
Soya sauce can be used in food preparation or seasonings to add color and taste to the food.
 
5. Hair oil solutions:
Soybean oil can be added to coconut oil and olive oil and heated to a warm temperature. This mixture of oils is to be applied on the scalp and massaged for 5 minutes gently. This is to be left overnight or 45 -50 minutes before washing the head. This exercise will reduce hair fall and prevent premature greying of hair.
 
Precautionary guide while using Soybean
 
1. Allergy:

Soybean might cause allergic reactions in people with allergic rhinitis. So, it is recommended that such people's soybean intake is monitored under the supervision of a physician or to avoid using it completely.'
 
2. Breastfeeding:
Soybean and soymilk are safe to take during breastfeeding when taken in normal amounts. 

3. Diabetic people:
Excessive consumption of soybean might decrease blood glucose levels. It is advisable for patients taking anti-hypersensitive drugs to constantly monitor blood sugar levels and consult a physician before consuming soybeans.
 
4. Kidney disease:
The consumption of soybeans and its various forms can increase the risk of kidney stones as it contains a high amount of oxalates (that cause kidney stones). So, it is advisable for people susceptible to the kidney process to avoid its use as much as possible.
 
5. Pregnancy:
The consumption of soybeans and its products is considered safe when taken in food amounts during pregnancy. It is advisable to avoid excessive consumption of soymilk in place of normal milk. It might lead to a deformity in the bones due to an absence of nutrition caused by a deficiency in Vitamin D and calcium.
 
 
Side effects of Soybean

When consumed, soybean and its byproducts can decrease the effectiveness of warfarin, which is used to prevent blood clotting or slow it down. So, it generally leads to blood clotting areas of impact, leading to a fatal heart attack when the clot reaches the heart. Moreover, over-consumption of soybean can lead to constipation, bloating, and nausea or dizziness. It can also cause allergic reactions in rashes, itching, irritation of the skin, and anaphylaxis in people with several such allergies. 
 
Soybean is rich in phytoestrogens, a build-up of which can cause infertility in both males and females. It also causes tiredness due to its depressive effect on the CNS (central nervous system), which could, in turn, affect thyroid function. The isoflavones present in soybean can trigger premature puberty and disrupt fetuses and children's development when taken in excessive amounts.
 
FAQs about Soybean
 
1. Is Soybean good for anemia?

Yes, soybeans are rich in minerals like iron, which is good for treating anemia. Soy's consumption balances an iron-deficient diet and improves hemoglobin levels in the blood plasma. This helps in managing anemia.

2. Is Soybean good for bodybuilding?
Yes, soybeans are naturally rich in protein content per 100g. It is low on carbohydrates and fats that are the two factors to cut during bodybuilding. The protein in soybeans help in muscle formation, recovery, and increases muscle building. 
 
3. Is soybean good for babies?
Modern scientific research suggests that soybean could be good for babies when taken in food or as an ingredient in infant formulas. Some studies also suggest that soybean milk might not be ideal for babies as its regular consumption of milk can result in a nutrient deficiency of vitamin D and calcium. These nutrients are considered building blocks of bones and the factors that affect growth. So, it is recommended that the use of soymilk be monitored under a physician's direction or to avoid its use completely for consumption in babies.
 
4. Is Soybean good for constipation?
There is an absence of conclusive scientific evidence to suggest soybean's effect in managing constipation. However, soybeans consumption in significant amounts can saturate its laxative properties in the body, and thus, it could help in clearing bowels; thus, helping in constipation.
 
5. Osteoarthritis:
Yes, Soy or soybean oil helps manage the symptoms of osteoarthritis due to its anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. These factors inhibit the production of inflammatory mediators responsible for the inflammation caused during this type of arthritis. It also reduces joint pain and swelling associated with the same.
 
6. Is Soybean good for GERD?
Yes, soybean helps manage gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) due to its antisecretory and antioxidant properties. These factors present in Soybean suppress gastric acid secretion and provides relief from acid reflux. It protects the intestinal walls from cell damage and damage caused by acid.
 
7. Is Soybean good for herpes?
Yes, soybean might help in managing herpes due to its anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. It inhibits the growth and multiplication of the herpes virus. This prevents the virus from infecting and affecting external genitalia, mucosal surfaces, and the skin around the lips.
 
8. Is soybean good for the liver?
Yes, soybean is rich in antioxidants and hepatoprotective properties. These factors present in soy milk destroy free radicals and prevents the liver from extensive cell damage.

9. Is soybean good for the heart?
Yes, soybean consumption is considered good for the heart as it is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. The antioxidants present in soybean help destroy free radicals, which cause cell damage in the heart and lead to the thinning of its walls. Moreover, soybean also lowers LDL levels (bad cholesterol) in the blood, thereby preventing plaque build-up in the blood vessels leading to the heart. All of these factors promote healthy heart functioning.
 
10. Is Soybean good for PCOS?
Yes, soybean is considered good for PCOS as it contains phytoestrogens, which are similar to estrogen (female sex hormone). It improves the levels of reproductive hormones and keeps them balanced. It also maintains the lipid profile; thus, curbing the problems caused by OCOS.
 
11. Is soybean good for a sore throat?
There is an absence of conclusive scientific evidence to suggest soybean's effect in managing a sore throat. However, soybean with ginger has been used traditionally to manage sore throat and provide relief.
 
12. Does Soybean cause bloating?
Yes, soybean can cause bloating. The phytic acid present in it combines with other minerals like magnesium, calcium, and iron in the digestive tract and prevents its absorption into the bloodstream. This makes it difficult to digest and might lead to gastrointestinal issues and other side effects.
 
13. Does soybean cause infertility?
There is an absence of conclusive scientific evidence to suggest soybean's effect in causing infertility. However, the phytoestrogens content in soybeans can result in elevated levels of estrogen hormone in the male bodies causing multiple situations that, if not treated, could result in infertility. In females, overconsumption of soybeans could lead to hormonal imbalance and lead to fertility issues.
 
14. Does soybean cause weight gain?
No, the soybean does not cause weight gain; in fact, it might result in weight loss due to certain constituents like isoflavones that improve the metabolism of the body. It lowers LDL levels and triglycerides, which are the factors that cause weight gain typically in people.
 
15. Does Soybean cause thyroid problems?
Soybeans are naturally rich in iodine mineral when taken in significant amounts. Iodine levels in the blood help in the formation of the Thyroxine hormone produced by the thyroid gland. Thus, soybean constituents interfere with the normal production and utilization of thyroxine.
 
16. Can we eat raw soybean seeds?
No, raw soybean should not be consumed as it does not help in utilizing the nutrients present in the same. Raw soybean seeds can cause harmful effects in the digestive tract. Thus, soybeans should be cooked properly before consumption to digest and unlock their nutrients more effectively easily. This can easily fulfill the daily requirement of nutrients and protein essential for your body's growth.
 
17. Is soybean good for the skin?
Soybean has anti-aging properties that cause quicker cell regeneration and healing of scars and wounds. It also prevents the onset of wrinkles and fine lines on the skin and protects them from harmful UV rays under the sunlight. The antioxidants present in soybean improve collagen synthesis and help shape skin cells improving skin tone and preventing cell damage.
 
18. Is Soybean good for the hair?
Yes, soybean is rich in high-quality proteins that are otherwise absent in many oils. These proteins help in scalp cell repair and facilitate the formation of new cells and tissues in the body, including the hair follicles. Thus, applying soybean oil prevents hair loss and provides nourishment to the scalp improving hair growth to a great extent.

NS Desk

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