When we ask the first passer-by encountered “What in your opinion is the best source of protein”, he will answer that it is about meat. He will not make a mistake, but when we ask the second question, whether it is his ONLY source, the answer must be: no. A certain amount of protein is (of course) found in dairy products, but here, depending on what we reach for, it is 5 to 20 percent. A significantly higher protein concentration (even 40%) contains a plant called soya – according to specialists, eating 50 g of its grain is a replacement for drinking one and a half glasses of cow’s milk or eating 150 g of beef. It is soy, thanks to its properties, that is appreciated by vegans who do not consume animal foods – milk or chops. What can you say about it?
What is soy?
A flowering plant of the family fabaceae. Its origin is the countries of both Americas, Asia and Africa, but now it is practiced almost all over the world – including Poland, where it is also growing “in the wild”. You need to know that the foods produced on its basis belong to the group of genetically modified products, about which they must inform their labels.
What does soy contain?
Mainly proteins, but also a number of amino acids particularly important for physically active people, including L-arginine. It is true that their regenerative abilities are slightly lower than in the case of animal protein, but unlike it, soy protein does not contain harmful purines that block the absorption of calcium. In addition, in soy we find the lipids and antitumor active phytoestrogens necessary for the proper functioning of the body.
In 100 grams of this plant you can find:
- almost 37% of protein
- almost 20% of fats (including almost 16% unsaturated)
- over 30% of carbohydrates (including simple sugars)
- almost 10% fiber
And also elements in quantities:
calcium – 277 mg
iron – 15.7 mg
magnesium – 280 mg
phosphorus – 704 mg
potassium – 1.797 g
sodium – 2 mg
zinc – 4.89 mg
copper – 1.658 mg
manganese – 2.517 mg
selenium – 17.8 μg
Other soy properties
As a food characterized by a low IG – glycemic index (it is only 14), soy is a brilliant addition to meals (or even their basis) for people suffering from diabetes. In addition, high level of fiber, which soy protein possesses, favorably affects the peristalsis (work) of our intestines, thus counteracts constipation. It also helps to maintain the feeling of fullness and consequently suppress appetite, as well as normalize the lipidogram, which is sometimes valuable for people who are struggling with obesity.
As already mentioned, phytoestrogens (which also have a good effect on bone tissue), such as isoflavones – genistein, daidzein or glycitein take an active part in stopping the growth of blood vessels and, consequently, cancerous tumors. This contributes to a significant reduction in mortality caused by breast or prostate cancer. Consumption of isoflavones at a dose of 40 grams per day may be helpful for women during menopause, because it provides them with ingredients almost identical to natural estrogens, which at the time they lack. Thanks to this, soy can help them fight dizziness, fatigue or hot flashes. The repeatedly mentioned isoflavones also allow maintaining the correct ratio of good cholesterol to its bad counterpart and metabolize lipidoproteids and regulate the level of blood pressure. It is also important that soy protein is involved in the defatting of obese people by up to 20%.
Soy in the kitchen
Soy products that have a culinary application are, among others:
- soybean oil – cold-pressed, wax-nut oil with a nutty aroma. Great for salads and salads, often a foundation of mayonnaise
- tofu – a type of pressed curd obtained from soya milk. Fresh tofu with medium hardness is a universal ingredient of dinners, salads and desserts
- soybean germs – part of the embryo suitable for consumption cooked by steam
- tempeh – a meat substitute obtained from fermented soya beans
- soy sauce – dark liquid, addition to marinades, sushi or pizza
- soy flour – used for baking or as a soup thickener
- soy milk – a traditional substitute, they are obtained by soaking soybeans in water
- peel and died tofu strips – an addition to soups and goulash, a by-product of the production of soy milk
- miso paste – a fermented mixture of boiled and milled soybeans with overcooked cereals admired by Asians, addition to fish, vegetables and even dressings.