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Does Soy Grow on Trees?

Does Soy Grow on Trees?

Due to its high nutritional value, soy foods continue to gain popularity in the market place. Much of this interest has focused on soybean products for people looking to cut down or eliminate animal products from their diet–soy comes in the form of tofu, soy milk, soy-protein fortified flour, miso and soy protein meat substitutes. The soy plant originates from central and eastern Asia. Soy has been cultivated in China for many centuries and is now cultivated in many countries, mainly in China, USA, Argentina, and Brazil.

But beyond tofu and soy milk, soybeans are also a delicious vegetable on their own and can be eaten directly from the pods similar to other beans or peas. When eaten as a vegetable, soybeans are usually called edamame.

Edamame is planted the same way as bush beans are, and a mature soybean plant reaches about 2-feet tall. The soy plant belongs to the family of the papilionaceous. The soy plant has large trifoliate leaves with small white to purple flowers, born close to the stem. The soy beans ripen in a pod, which normally contain 3 to 4 beans. The color of the soy beans differ from light yellow, to green and black. Only the soybeans (seeds of the soy plant) are used.

Edamame offers a number of superfood phytochemicals such as isoflavones, genistein, saponins, beta-sitosterol and daidzein. Soybean consumption has been associated with reduction of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. The soybean protein as well soy isoflavones are responsible for this action. The soy bean contains about 38% protein of high nutritional quality, because the eight essential amino acids are present.

Edamame is great on its own, but is also adds character as an ingredient in other recipes. Incorporate them as you would other beans, or try these recipes for Egyptian Edamame Stew or Green Tea Rice with Edamame and Shitakes.

Read more: Health, Whole Soy Benefits, ,

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

55 comments

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2:50AM PDT on Apr 19, 2013

Thank you :)

10:40AM PDT on Sep 29, 2012

ty

2:27AM PDT on Sep 29, 2012

One of my favorite beans.

4:01PM PDT on May 12, 2012

Others have mentioned genetic modification, phytoestrogens, and allergens, so I'll just say this: soy is a mineral-depleting food. Most Americans are mineral deficient already (from eating insufficient vegetables). Health and peace.

7:35AM PST on Feb 11, 2012

I love edamame!!

12:31AM PST on Feb 11, 2012

Thanks for the article.

5:17PM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

Excellent article. Thanks for sharing.

2:30PM PDT on Sep 17, 2010

almond milk is really yummy

5:00PM PST on Dec 13, 2009

siemens servisi

12:26AM PDT on Jun 23, 2009

One thing to keep in mind, too, is that when a person goes to see a naturopath, this kind of doctor will always start a person on an elimination diet, which helps a person self-test for food sensitivities. This reason for this is because food sensitivities are behind a lot of health issues, such as IBS or sinus allergies. The best advice for starting an elimination diet is to see a naturopath. With such a diet a person avoids the most common food allergens. There are about 16 major food items to avoid during this process. Soy is one of the big ticket items. Many people with digestive issues benefit from this process.

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