These days we can say that soy has gained its “citizenship” on Occidental tables, even though it didn’t arrive recently. New studies have found two beneficial properties in addition to its protein value: it lowers total cholesterol as it increases “good” cholesterol.
At the 16th Argentinian Nutrition Congress that was recently held in Buenos Aires, a Colombian expert, Espinosa Pulecio, explained: “It is the only legume that has as many proteins as milk and eggs and more than meat.”
Supporting this explanation, the British Journal of Nutritionpublished a new study by the University of Milan, Italy, that proved the benefits of soy for the heart’s health after analyzing 38 studies held since 1995.
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that the labels of all soy products specify that it is good to eat at least 25 grams of this legume each day. This federal institution has declared that “As part of a diet that is low in saturated fats and cholesterol, it can help reduce coronary risk.”
Soy has been part of the food chain for centuries and it is a usual food on Asian tables. But thanks to the constant migrations of the last three centuries, it has come to stay on the American continent.Each soy bean has the following nutritional properties:
- 30% carbohydrates (15% fiber)
- 18% oil (85% unsaturated)
- 14% water
- 38% proteins
Besides, it is a great source of phosphorous, potassium, vitamins B and E, antioxidants, iron, and zinc. It also has different antioxidant isoflavones and essential amino acids.
At the same scientific conference, the importance of soy for women at menopause was also emphasised due to the fact that it has been shown to reduce cardiovascular risks as it improves the health of bones, and decreases the typical feeling of suffocation that is characteristic of this life stage.
The cultivation of soy began in eastern Asia. In the year 2835 B.C., the Chinese Emperor Shennong considered it a sacred plant.
By the 18th Century, it was also found in Europe and the United States: in 1770; a letter written by Benjamin Franklin mentioned a shipment of soy that had arrived in the country. For many decades, it was not widely consumed until it became industrialized as a food product of the modern era towards the year 1920. Currently, 45% of the world’s production of soy is found in the United States; other great producers are China, India, Brazil, and Argentina.
The United Nations Development Program considers it a basic food to confront hunger in the world due to its great nutrition value and its low cost compared to other products.