All soy starts as three beans in a pod. The beans vary in size and colors of the flowers and pods. It is a hardy crop that grows well in temperate climates, such as the area from North Dakota to Louisiana. In the early 1950’s the U.S. had surpassed Asia, as the leader in soybean production. But in 2005, Brazil surpassed the U.S.
For more than 5,ooo years the Chinese have regarded soy as a sacred plant, along with rice wheat barley, and millet. The soybean curd has been consumed by both peasants and royalty, as a household staple. Known for its high nutritional value, it contains eight of the essential amino acids, and is the only complete plant protein. Soy foods are a rich source of fiber, B vitamins, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
In 1999, The Food and Drug Administration officially recognized the cholesterol lowering effect of soy protein. The health claim states that 25 grams of soy protein per day may reduce the risk of heart disease. The health claim also states that most soyfoods are low in saturated and trans fat. The American Heart Association has also recognized soyfoods role in a heart – healthy diet.
Research also suggests that soy may also lower the risk of prostate,colon and breast cancer. It has also been proven to be beneficial in the treatment of osteoporosis and other bone health problems. It has also been affective in treating hot flashes in menopausal women.
While soy is a very versatile product, there is a small percentage of the population that may be allergic. Many products in the U.S. now contain warning labels if soy is present. Working toward a better