- MOST RECENT
Soybean has been considered as nature’s nutritional gift packed with a lot of health benefits. Soy is used as a basic food ingredient in traditional Asian cuisine and has been a part of their culture for thousands of years. In Western countries, soybeans have made an appearance about a hundred years ago. Soybeans help people feel better and live longer with an enhanced quality of life.
Nutritional value of soybeans
Soy is one of the very few plant food sources that provide a significant amount of good quality protein with minimum saturated fat. Soybean has close to 40 % protein which is very high for a plant source. Soy protein is the only commonly consumed plant protein that is “complete,” meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids in sufficient quantities to meet human requirements. Soy and soy foods can be a good source of protein and other nutrients for vegetarians and vegans. The versatility of soy makes it possible to produce an array of products.
Vegetarianism and soybeans
There is an enormous increase in the number of people who are shifting from diets rich in animal foods to diets containing more plant foods. Adopting vegetarian lifestyles has become very popular in recent times. Vegetarians are always on the lookout for rich sources of protein among plant foods. Soybean fits the bill.
Because of the nutritional and health benefits offered by soybeans, there has been an increase in the variety of soy-based food products available in grocery stores.
Versatility of soybeans
Soybeans have the properties a functional food should have. They are suitable for technological transformations that are used for the production of several analogues of meat and dairy products that may serve as alternates for people who are turning to plant foods.
There are several products available in the market made from soybeans. Some of the common soy products that are available in the market are:
Soymilk is the result of water extraction of hulled and crushed soybeans. Boiling the extracted soymilk after filtration removes beany flavour. It can be a suitable alternative for dairy milk for lactose intolerant people and vegans. It can be added to coffee or tea and it is available in many flavours.
Tofu is obtained by soaking and heating procedures with the addition of protein coagulants such as calcium sulphate to soymilk. The curd which is formed is pressed and then cut into cubes. There are several recipes which can be made out of tofu. In Indian cuisine, many people are substituting paneer that is made from dairy milk with tofu in paneer recipes.
Soy flour is rich in protein and has an excellent profile of amino acids, particularly lysine which is lacking in wheat flour. It is available in defatted form also and several products can be made from soy flour. It can be used to fortify foods to increase protein content.
Textured soy protein
Extrusion technology is used to make textured soy products. These textured products are made using soy flour. Since they have meat like feel to them when eaten they are called meat analogues. Extrusion technology is applied and varying the moisture and other parameters several products are made.
New and innovative food processing technologies help in processing soybeans into a number of food products without compromising on the taste. Other products made from soybeans are soy nuts, soy nut butter, miso, tempeh etc. These food products have good nutritional value as well as offer health benefits such as heart health, help manage diabetes and many others.