Was doing a search on what the healthiest beans are so that I could include them in a bean salad recipe I was trying to make and I came across this article so I thought I would share.

Soya: The healthiest bean?
Soya: The healthiest bean? 1/3/2005 2:04:00 AMSource : The Manila Times
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No other food can be as healthy, flavorful and versatile than the veggie called soya. In terms of nutritional value, it is the “Queen of all Vegetables and Healthy Foods” for its protein-rich and cholesterol-lowering properties. Health experts have thus labeled it “the perfect food.” Those who are skeptic over the growing “soya fad” across the globe may find this information enlightening. Soya’s botanical name is Glycine max Merr. It is a native of Asia, recorded in Chinese history as early as 2838 B.C. but is now cultivated worldwide. It is an annual plant, which grows up to 150 cm in length. It is a creeping plant with hairy stems and leaves. Its pods are gray, brown or black, borne in clusters. The seeds are round with yellow, green, black or brown color. It is propagated by its seeds.Soya comes in a variety of edible forms—from the boiled green pods or roasted beans, which is eaten as a snack like boiled peanuts; to tofu (soybean curd), tokwa, tempeh, texturized soy protein and soya milk, soya flour, soya oil and to the popular tasty Filipino dessert and snack, taho, served with brown sugar syrup. The Tagalogs call soya utaw or balatong. It is also known as tonyu and bhat.Soya is a rich source of high quality protein with high biological value. It contains all of the essential amino acids needed by the human body for growth and development. Every 100 grams of soya bean contain an average of 40-percent protein, which equals in rank with milk, eggs and meat.It also has an excellent fatty acid content. It is cholesterol free but rich in essential polyunsaturated fatty acids composed of linoleic and linolenic acids. It is low in saturated fatty acids and moderate in mono unsaturated fatty acids. It also has phospholipids that come in the form of lecithin, which are important in brain and nerve functions.Soya is an excellent source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. It is superior in calcium, phosphorus and iron. It also contains Vitamin B complex as thiamine, riboflavin, biotin, folic acid, panthothenic acid and pyridoxine and Vitamin E. It has almost no sodium.Its health benefits have been attributed to its phytochemicals that are mainly in the form of phytoestrogens and isoflavones. These are called genistein and daidzein, which play a major role in preventing cancer, particularly those in the breast and prostate. The body converts them into hormone-like substances that act like a weak form of estrogen. They block the body’s estrogen receptors, lowering the amount of estrogen, thus lowering the risk of breast cancer. For men, phytoestrogens reduce the harmful effects of testosterone, which is thought to fuel the growth of cancerous cells in the prostate gland.Among menopausal women, these phytoestrogens provide the “estrogen lift” that eases hot flushes, night sweats and vaginal dryness by replacing lost estrogen during this phase of their reproductive health. An Australian research showed recently that one and a half ounces of soy flour daily for three months reduced hot flashes by 40 percent, in contrast to wheat flour which reduced them only by 25 percent.Consumption of at least 25 grams a day of soya can reduce total cholesterol by an average of 10 percent. This translates to a 30-percent reduction in heart disease risk. The low incidence of cardiovascular disease among Asians was attributed to diets high in soya beans. Asians eat an average of 50 mg of isoflavones compared to an American or European diet of only 1 to 2 mg a day. The phytosterols in soya enters into competition with bad cholesterol, thus preventing its absorption. They also lower triglycerides, acting on platelet aggregation, thus decreasing the risk of generating thrombosis.Ipriflavones, another phytochemical unique to soya, can actually increase bone density without the harsh effects of bone-building drugs. With its high calcium content, soya also stops bone loss while increasing bone density thus soya fights osteoporosis.So if you have not given soya a try, it is now the time to do so. Soya is the magic bean and the healthiest bean of all. Eat it, drink it and savor it daily and be healthy, happy and wealthy.

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