Annual herbaceous plant belonging to the family of Fabaceae, soybeans are native to East Asia and come in a variety of varieties.
Plant with creeping or climbing stems, this oilseeds is cultivated for its seeds rich in oil and in protein.
In France, the soybean flower is often planted in May - in cool soil and a mixture of clay and sand - and is harvested from September to October. Very ecological, soybeans clean the earth, improve the soil and protect the water table.
Much appreciated and praised by phytotherapists, soy abounds in many therapeutic virtues and culinary unsuspected.
A little history about soybeans
Etymologically, the word soya comes from the Chinese "jiàngyóu", itself derived from the Japanese "shoyu" which means "soya sauce ».
The origin of soybean cultivation remains uncertain, but recent research shows that in the wild form, it may have started in 9000 BC in Asia.
According to some writings, the first reference to soy was Japanese in 712, when it appeared in the "kojiki" (Chronicles of Ancient Things).
Then in 1665, Father Domingo Navarrette described “tofu” (a product derived from soybeans) as a common and inexpensive dish in China. Later in 1739, Chinese missionaries planted soybeans in the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. In 1765, the cultivation of the first soybean plants was born in Korea, in the United States; in 1882 in Argentina and then in Brazil before expanding to India. It was not until the end of the 19th century to see its introduction in Africa.
From the scientific name "glycine max", soy is also called "oil bean", "Chinese pea" or "soy". Existing in several varieties, it is differentiated by the color of the seeds, the habit or the flowering period.
Fully coated with fine hair strands or Grey, this vegetable plant exists in various varieties (yellow soybean, green seed soybean, black seed soybean) and has:
- rods from a height of 30 to 130 cm,
- trifoliolate leaves measuring between 2 to 7 cm wide and 6 to 15 cm long,
- small flowers in clusters of purple or white color,
- fruits or pods containing edible seeds from 5 to 11 mm in diameter.
Properties and health benefits of soy
Thanks to vegetable proteins it contains, soy is known for its virtues against the excess of cholesterol. A true ally of women's health, soya beans:
- reduce the risk of Cancer cervix, especially in overweight women.
- decrease the risk of cardiovascular illnesses.
According to American scientific research, soybeans promote resistance to pain and would act against the stress. Consumed naturally, it is a real slimming ally because it contains less cholesterol.
In cooking, soy is available in various by-products (tempeh, miso, soy sauce, tofu) which have been the basis of Asian gastronomy for centuries.
Indeed, the soybean contains an assortment of all amino acids essential, making it an essential ingredient in vegan or vegetarian diets.
Herbalists recommend soy extracts (rich in phytoestrogen) to relieve symptoms of menopause (hot flashes, night sweats). However, these compounds that are chemically identical to the hormone estrogen may increase the risk of breast cancer in some women.
Smart tip about soy
Soy is beneficial when it is part of a healthy and varied diet.
Like legumes, it contains various naturally allergenic proteins. Before being consumed, its seed must be transformed by fermentation or by cooking.
Healthy recipe: how to use soy?
Soy foods are very healthy. However, prefer soy nuts, "edamane beans", "tempeh" and "miso" to processed soy products.
As for extracts, it is recommended to take between 50 and 90 mg of soy isoflavones per day.
- To discover: our recipes with soya