Soyabean - Natural Benefits and Curative Properties
Botanical Name :: Glycine max merr
Indian Name :: Soyabean, Bhat
The Soyabean is one of the most nutritious foods. It belongs to the family of legumes or pulses and is perhaps one of the earliest crops cultivated by man. It is one of the most important sources of oil and protein.
The Soyabean is an annual plant, up to 150 ems. in height. It has hairy, twining or climbing stems, alternate leaves and hairy, grey, brown or black, pods, borne in clusters on short stalks. Seeds are more or less round, with yellow, green, brown or black color.
Origin and Distribution
The name Soya has its origin in the Chinese word shu and sou. The Aryans of Central Asia considered Soya along with honey as sacred food to be offered to the departed. The ancient yogis of the Indus Valley Civilization supplemented their meatless diet with this bean to ward off deficiency of good quality protein.
The Soyabean is a native of the Far East. It has been an important food crop in China. Manchuria and Korea long before the dawn of human history. It was first referred to in a Chinese book written by Emperor Shennung of China as early as 2838 BC. It was given very great importance in China so much so that the Emperor of the country to sow it every year with great pomp. It is now very popular crop of the world over and is widely cultivated in the United States, Europe, South Africa, Egypt, Russia, Australia and other countries. In recent years several countries like Brazil, Mexico, Rumania, Paraguay and Argentina have substantially increased their Soyabean production. India too has joined the Soyabean race in its expansion programmer and there is growing awareness among the consumers in the country of the potential uses of Soyabean.
Food Value of Soyabean
The Soyabean is esteemed for its high food value. It is a valuable source of protein, vitamins, minerals and other food ingredients. It also contains vitamin B complex, biotin, folic acid, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine and vitamin E.
The Soyabean is particularly valued for its high protein content of great biological value. Its protein is complete as it contains all the essential amino acids or building blocks of protein in the proportions that make them most available and most valuable for human needs. It is the best of all vegetable proteins and ranks in this respect with protein of milk, eggs and meat. But Soyabean contains by far more protein than these articles.
Natural Benefits and Curative Properties of Soyabean
The Soyabean contains many medicinal virtues. While most of the proteins are acid in their ash, Soyabean is rich in alkalinebearing salts and hence regarded as a corrective diet. The Chinese, who consume Soyabeans liberally, believe that it makes the body plump, improves the complexion, stimulates the growth and removes constipation and many other physical ailments. Modem researches carried out in the laboratories in Europe and America have corroborated much of these claims.
Soyabean, especially in the form of milk, is highly beneficial in the treatment of several ailments This milk is prepared by soaking the beans in water for about 12 hours The skin of the beans is then removed and after a through wash, they are turned into fine paste in a grinding machine. The paste is mixed with water, three times its quantity. The milk should then be boiled on a slow fire, stirring it frequently. After it becomes a little cooler, it should be strained through a piece of thin cloth and sugar be added to it.
Soyabean milk is at par in importance with cow's milk in feeding children. Investigations have shown that 90 per cent of the Soyabean protein is absorbed in the body and 95 to 100 percent of the milk is digested. Soyabean milk is very helpful in maintaining intestinal health. The Soyabean curd is a health food par excellence It is better than Soyabean milk in taste and aroma and it very much resembles the dairy curd The curd is prepared by allowing the milk to cool, then seeded with a small quantity of cow's milk curd or Soyabean milk curd and allowed to remain for 12 hours to set. Its regular use will help maintain the intestinal health, prevent diseases arising from defective digestion and retard the ageing process.
One of the chief uses of Soyabeans is as a source of lecithin, which is a great natural emulsifier. Lecithin, as is well known helps disperse deposits of fatty materials and cholesterol in certain vital organs. It is rich in substances which are important for the proper functioning of all living cells in the body. It is also an important component around brain and nerve cells. Lecithin is so abundant in Soyabeans that most of the lecithin used commercially comes from them.
Uses of Soyabeans
Soyabeans are used in other forms such as flour, green beans, sprouts and oil. The Soya flour is one of the most widely used products of Soyabean. In the West, the Soyabean flour industry has grown to immense proportions. The Soya flour is prepared by first roasting the Soyabeans and removing their coatings. They are then turned into powder. It is by 1ar more nutritious than the wheat flour. It contains 15 times as much calcium, seven times as much phosphorus, 10 times as much iron, 10 times as much thiamine and nine times as much riboflavin as wheat flour.
Soyabean contains a bitter substance which can be removed by soaking Soyabean in six cupfuls of warm water containing half a teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate for 10 minutes. The process also removes the coloring matter from Soyabean. Soyabeans contains a factor which inhibits the action of the digestive enzyme trypsin. This factor can be destroyed by heating.
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