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Soy, also called "bean of Japan" or "big bean", is a legume with a high nutritional value and it is the only one to have an almost complete amino acid picture. We find it used both in the food and industrial sectors, with its grain for example, oils for margarines, salads and desserts are produced but also soaps, inks, insecticides, adhesives and disinfectants. And again here's the soy like "Ingredient" of emulsifiers and defoamers and at the same time snacks and extraction flours for zootechnical foods. So “multitasking” is a legume to know.
The soy plant is called Glycine max and belongs to the Leguminosae family, it is annual, small and bushy, shows a branched and hairy stem from which they emerge dark green leaves also hairy. In the world there are numerous varieties, to distinguish them is above all the duration of ripening period: the “slower” takes over 150 days, the fastest less than 90. A big difference.
As a way of cultivation it is very similar to the bean for taste: it requires a warm climate, abundant rains and well-ventilated soil. Among the countries that produce the largest amount of s.in the world we find the United States, Brazil, Argentina and China. Europe, that is to say, contributes a single-digit percentage to world production, in fact it is a strong importer of both grain, flour and S. oil
Rich not only in protein but also in fats, carbohydrates, mineral salts (potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium above all) and vitamins (A, C and B vitamins), the soy it undoubtedly has a negligible nutritional and energetic value. But it is certainly not his only property nor the most sought after. This legume also has a re-mineralizing, antiastenic and rebalancing function of the body, being free of starch and purine, it is also particularly suitable for diabetics and arthritics.
There lecithin contained in the s. it contributes to reducing cholesterol as much as the concentration of lipoproteins. Isoflavones, on the other hand, have a cholesterol-lowering action and phytoestrogens counteract the symptoms of pre-menopause, in addition to decreasing the probability of breast cancer.
As it happens for all legumes, also for this reason, proteins are an important component. This is true both when it comes to quantity, protein, and quality. On the one hand, in fact, proteins represent on average 40% of the dry weight of the seed, in some varieties it even reaches 49%, a percentage that is well above the average attributed to other legumes, equal to 20-25% .
As for the quality of the proteins contained, as mentioned by introducing this food, I remember that this time there are all eight essential amino acids that our body is able to synthesize. Poor in methionine this legume is on the other hand rich in lysine and leucine and, compared to cereals, it has high percentages of tryptophan.
For the complete profile of the amino acids present in soy, the page is available: soy, properties.
Soy: nutritional values
Each 100 g provide 407 kcal, always in 100 grams we have 20% of fats, sometimes it is 25% off the mark, and they are unsaturated for about 90%. An important component is also lecithin, a mixture of phosphoric acid, choline, fatty acids, glycerol, glycolipids, triglycerides and phospholipids, then there are also fibers, for 22%, a regulate intestinal functions.
Soy and thyroid
There is much debate as to whether this legume can interfere with thyroid function. If one diet is balanced and varies, with a regular and careful alternation of various foods, the presence of this legume for a person who does not have thyroid problems does not create any problems.
In case we have problems regarding thyroid function, we can still eat it but with the precaution of not following an iodine-deficient diet. The risk is that it increases the risk of develop hypothyroidism. To be cautious, to carry on, "not to know", we follow the teaching of the Japanese who often and willingly combine their numerous dishes based on soy, algae, known to contain a lot of iodine.
If you are taking drugs for hypothyroidism the s. it can interfere with them, compromising and decreasing their absorption and thus making them less effective.
There soy it is available in two varieties, mainly in nature, of which the yellow one is the most common. The other is black and rare. Our s. yellow it is morphologically similar to round beans, it is obviously yellow in color and from it we get the "meat" but also the milk. Or the s. yellow it can be soaked just like you do with beans, for about 12 hours, and then cook for half an hour in a pressure cooker.
Although rare, it must also be told black soy, moreover much more valuable. We specify that only the outer shell is black, inside it is yellow just like the other, but it differs in the lower fat content. For the rest, both, yellow and black, have many proteins, unsaturated lipids and lecithin, precious for its emollient and antioxidant properties, and deployed against "bad" cholesterol. Let's not forget the abundance of soy of every color, mineral salts (calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorus) and vitamins of group B.
We said yellow or black, but there are also seeds that do not fall within these colors, even if often referred to as "soy". Green, moreover. If we hear about s. green, we have to think about the mung bean. Its appearance, I must admit, is easily confused with that of soy or lentils, and is emerald green. Moreover, it is from this legume that the "Bean sprouts”Which we find on the market in many shops and supermarkets. For more information on mung beans, recipes, nutritional values and more, please refer to the dedicated page:green soy.
One of the many appearances it takes on our tables is that of yogurt. To find out more I suggest you read our article "Homemade soy yogurt”With suggestions and indications also for do-it-yourself in the kitchen.
There is also the famous tofu (soy cheese) and many fermented products such as soy sauce, then there are sprouts, widely used in China, and soya beans which, toasted, can also become a coffee substitute. Also there flourit is encountered in various food products such as baby food, biscuits, bread, sweets, ice cream, sometimes mixed with normal wheat flour.
Even if only by hearsay there is also the soya milk which is a valid substitute for milk. All its features and benefits are explained in the article "Soy milk: properties”.
If the term tofu means "boneless meat" what is meant by flesh of s. it's tempeh, originally from Southeast Asia and very widespread especially in Indonesia. It is obtained by fermenting yellow soybeans. It is called st. due to the high protein content. Everything is explained in the article "Homemade soy meat”.
Out of curiosity, returning to tofu: this boneless meat is also called soy cheese and a Chinese monk is said to have been created over two thousand years ago by curdling the soy beans.
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