Soy was used during the Shang dynasty, more than 3000 years ago. It was one of the first foods domesticated by man. From the 1st to 15/16th century its cultivation and use spread to other parts of China, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Burma, Nepal, and North India. To the Chinese it is one of the five essential grains of life.
Soy contains isoflavones, particularly daidzein and gonistein. It also contains calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorous, magnesium, vitamin-B, omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, and boron.
Soy contains all the essential amino-acids that the human body cannot synthesise on it’s own and therefore it is considered to be a source of complete protein. In this respect it is comparable to meat and eggs but the iron content in it is not bio-available as in meat.
Consumption of soy helps in—
- Decreasing the risk of breast and prostrate cancer.
- Lowering cholesterol levels.
- Lowering triglyceride levels while preserving HDL cholesterol.
- Fighting high blood pressure.
- Being a substitute to hormone replacement therapy.
- Increasing fertility in females.
- Avoiding hot flushes and other symptoms of menopause.
- Protecting against osteoporosis.
- Increasing resistance to fatigue.
- Building lean body mass by reducing body fat.
Soy is used as sauces, milk, yoghurt, butter, nuts, crackers, tofu (used in smoothies, ice-cream, sandwiches, and stir –frys) cheese, edamame, tempeh, miso etc.
The above explains for the body structure and long life span of the Japanese and Chinese who extensively use it in their diet since ages. So if you do not want to avoid the gymnasium as well as the doctor double up on your so intake!