Soyabeans can be milked, stewed, or eaten as tofu and are a source of healthy plant protein and Omega-3s. 

Called the “wonderbean” by many, the soyabean has a higher protein content (40 percent) than other dals/lentils, which contain an average of 20-25 percent protein.  So, both soya beans and foods made of soya are good protein sources for vegetarians, diabetics, and those aspiring for weight loss.

Health benefits

#1  Improves heart health

Soyabeans and natural foods made of soya play an important role in regulating heart health. They lower the cholesterol, by preventing the accumulation of plaque in the arteries.

#2 Provides a punch of Omega-3s

Other advantages of soya are that it has a lower carbohydrate content than other beans, and a high amount of healthy fat that includes Omega-3 fatty acids, a good amount of fibre and phytoestrogens with anti-oxidant value.

#3 Keeps your brain sharp

Still need to hear more? Soyabean is rich in lecithin which keeps your brain cells active and healthy. In terms of digestibility, the consensus is that this is the second more easily digested protein, after protein from animal sources.

Different forms of soya

Although nutritionists say that soya is best consumed in its natural form, many delicious soy foods are also available. Typically, Asian cuisines utilize many of these soy products like miso, natto, okara, soymilk, soynuts, soysauce, tempeh, tofu, yuba, and edamame.

Dried soyabeans are the most common source, available in grocery stores. These must be soaked overnight before cooking, to improve digestibility.

100 gm soya beans contain 17 g protein; 1 g saturated fat; 6 g fibre, and provide 173 kcal. 

Tofu is a fermented soya product, made by curdling soya milk and draining the excess liquid.

Soya milk is touted as a healthy alternative to milk, especially for those who suffer from lactose intolerance. But this may not be so, unless the milk has been supplemented with calcium.

Another disadvantage of soya milk is that it lacks vitamin B12. So don’t assume unfortified soya milk can provide the same nutritional benefits as whole milk.

Soya protein concentrates and powders are also sold as supplements.

Soya nuggets & granules are more popular in India than other forms, but these processed foods aren’t as nutritious as fresh foods.  Since nuggets are made from the material left over from soya oil extraction, their nutritional value is less.