Do you know the benefit of soybean? Is soybean good for you?
We have been using soybean as a daily diet in Japan and other Asian countries. After soybean is introduced to western countries, soybean got popular for the various health benefit and the nutritional value. Soybean is also considered as a great protein source for vegan people.On the other hands, in western countries, it seems there are people who are afraid of soybeans.
In this post, I will write about soybean history in Japan, fear about soybean in western countries, and soybean as a superfood. Additionally, my Taiwanese wife gave me a comment about soybeans.
Soybean history in Japan
I love traditional Japanese soy product such as miso, tofu, natto, and soy sauce. They are all tasty. As I grew up in an ordinary countryside family in Japan, eating soybean was my daily diet until I move to the US. Even in the US in 2003, I could buy miso and natto in a Japanese grocery shop and eat them whenever I could.
According to the latest archaeological finding, Japanese people were eating soybean 5000 years ago. You can see the word “soybean” in the oldest existing Japanese history book written about 1300 years ago. About 800 years ago, Japanese people started to make fermented soybean product such as miso and natto. They were important preserved food for farmers and soldiers. And, until now Japanese people are eating soy products such as tofu, soy milk, soybean sprout, and edamame (young green soybean), and we love them.
Now I live in Taiwan, and here soybean products are also very important. If you go out for breakfast, there are many shops selling soy milk at each corner of the street. Last night my Taiwanese wife cooked spicy tofu dish, called ‘mapo Tofu’. It was so yummy!! Soybean products are an important nutrition source in many Asian countries. China’s soybean history started 7000 years ago.
What is the fear about soybean?
According to the internet, people are talking fear about soybeans. Usually fear is easier to spread weather if it is true or not. They say soybean may cause some health problem such as breast cancer, thyroid problems, and dementia based on studies.
Are you afraid, too?
I understand that It is common for us to have fear of new things, especially food. Soybean products are still relatively new for western countries even it has been eaten from 5000 years ago in Japan.
Anyway, I will keep eating traditional soybean products because I know my body is happy with them. And, Japanese and Asian people will never stop eating them even if they hear negative information from scientists from western countries.
But, I will not eat GMO soybeans. I will never give it to my daughter. The kind of artificial plant should not be in the earth ecosystem. If it is not right for the ecosystem, how it can be healthy in our body? We should not forget our body is a part of the ecosystem.
If it is not good for your body, it is not good for the Earth environment. If it is not good for the environment, it is not good for your health. I believe so because we are one and all connected.
As you know, in the US, 94% of soybean planting is herbicide- GMO. And, those soybeans are used for animal feed (78%), food oil (13%) biodiesel (5%), and food product (2.4%). I think it is something not right.
On the other hand, all soybeans planted in Japan are indigenous breeds and non-GMO. The use for Japanese soybean is for tofu (53%), Natto (16%), cooked soybean product(10%), and miso & soy source (10%). But, the cultivation land is not enough for the demand. So, sadly, Japan has to import from other countries such as the US.
Anyway, there is a fear of soybeans. I am discussing more details about the topic in another post.
Why is soybean a superfood?
- 36–56% in soybean is protein, containing all 20 amino acids.
- Soybean protein contains all essential amino acid which the human body can not produce.
- The amino acid score of soy protein is 1, highest, as same as egg or milk. Soybean’s amino acid score is 0.91, and beef is 0.92. The higher the number is, the higher the absorption to the human body and the more sufficient to fulfill human’s amino acid requirement.
- Soybean contains lots of soluble and insoluble fibers, which benefit good digestion and weight management.
- Soybean contains well-balanced and rich amount of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, riboflavin, vitamin B6, thiamine, vitamin C, iron, manganese, phosphorus, copper, potassium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, and calcium.
- Soybean contains natural antioxidants such as soy isoflavones and soy saponins, which can fight with aging and cancers.
- Soy isoflavones can reduce LDL cholesterol in human blood.
- Soy isoflavones can reduce bone loss.
- Soy food can reduce chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is known as the cause of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer disease, diabetes, and arthritis.
- Soybean contains oligosaccharide which is food for beneficial bacteria in gut flora.
A comment from my wife about soybean
My wife is Taiwanese. I am Japanese. Both grew up in countries where soybean product is in daily diet. I asked her to give me some comment about soybeans.
Soybean is an amazing bean, it is so tasty when you just boil them, and it has a natural salty taste when fermented. Don’t forget to boil, the raw bean has a similar compound as soap, but you can remove the harmful substances with the boiling process. You can also bake them to make them crispy for a snack. The soy sauce brings flavor to dishes, I even add them to tomato paste for pasta. For making tofu, simply add brine to 80-degree soy milk, and separate the solid.
I remember one day when we were living in our mountain home, I want to make tofu for dinner. If I bring it from the store, it is difficult to preserve during the hot day. I just ask my husband to soak some soybean, we always buy Taiwan number 9 beans, it is local and non-GMO. We soak the beans, and later blend with water, filter with muslin clothes to get soy milk. Cook away the soapy substance, add brine and separate solid to press into tofu. With some ground ginger and soy sauce, it was so good. We really hope one day we can use the bean that is organically grown by ourselves, but we need to work harder for that.
Stop eating GMO soybeans. Research about whether a soy product contains GMO soy. Eat a variety of food, always know where your food comes from. My yoga teacher told me to always eat the food you prepare for yourself or is prepared by someone who loves you. When we are making food for our loved ones, we always make sure the ingredients are fresh, and the process is clean before we serve them.
Soybean is an important crop in Japan and other Asian countries for thousands of years. Because of the nutritional value and health benefits soybean is considered as a superfood. Soybean is also getting popular in western countries.
Both I and my wife love soybean product such as tofu, soy milk, miso, soy source, soy yogurt, and so on as most Asian love them.
I am lucky to be born in a country where I can enjoy lots of soy products, getting a health benefit.
I also wrote another post which discusses the fear of soybean in the western world, where soybean products are still new. I hope the post can help you to enjoy soy product without fear caused by negative information.
If you have any questions or comment, please leave a message below!