Soybean is an erect leguminous plant, that rises up to a height of 1 m and contains seeds that are spherical to oval in shape and yellow in color. Soybean is native to Asia but was domesticated in North China around 3000 years ago, and is now produced in countries like the USA, Brazil, Argentina, China, and India. Soybeans are one of the well known plant-based sources of complete protein that are very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. This makes them an ideal substitute for animal-based protein sources. It is primarily an oilseed containing about 20% oil. It is used as a staple food in tropical Africa and Asia. Soybeans can be eaten in a variety of ways like soybean oil, soybean meal (the by-product of oil extraction), whole soybeans, soybean flour (powdered and screened soybean meal with a very low fibre content), soybean protein concentrates and isolates (that contain more or less pure protein), soybean solubles and molasses (resulting from the washing of soybean flour and soybean flakes), soybean mill feed (a by-product of the fabrication of soybean flour), and soybean mill run (by-product of the fabrication of soybean meal).
While selecting soybeans make sure to choose firm and solid bright colored seeds when picking up the loose ones. While buying packed soybeans check if there is any hole or breakage in the packaging as it may lead to the entry of microbes.
Since there are estrogen-mimicking compounds in soybeans, men can occasionally develop a hormonal imbalance if they consume high amounts of soybeans or soy milk which can lead to infertility, sexual dysfunction and lower sperm count. There are certain anti-thyroid compounds present in soybeans that can disrupt the activity of the thyroid gland and result in goitre. (3)
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