Soybeans, which come from the East where they have faithfully and sincerely fed without fail for several thousand years, served numerous people and industries today. It was then called “the honorable little plant”, “poor man’s meat, “and the “cow of China”.
The first European to take a look at this plant was an English botanist, named Dale, in 1705 and then, a German, Engelbert Kampfer, made the first scientific study in 1712, and it was also a German who implanted it in Austria in 1873.
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During the Second World War, the London Times wrote in 1940: “The soybean has become the vital force for the Germans and in the total war that they are currently leading”. The observers were quick to notice that this “German pemmican”, provided to the soldiers in pill form for a three-day diet did not consist non-concentrated and dried meat, but compressed soy flour, which was responsible for the rapidity of the German advance in the early days of the campaign.
America became interested in soybeans in 1890, and quickly, saw the many possibilities and named it “the golden land”, “magic plant”, and “miracle bean”. America has learned the importance of this seed in human and animal food and has started producing lots of industrial by-products, derived particularly from its oil.
Today, in 2008, 85% of world production of soybeans is used to feed pigs, chickens and cattle. Switzerland, a small European country, alone, is known to consume 460,000 tons of soybeans (transgenic). It is grown on over 1,700 square kilometers of mainly arable land in Brazil to make it available for the production of its meat, milk and eggs. And so this humble plant is now vilified and accused of destroying the Amazon forest.
While all scientific reports since the 90’s are begging us to reduce our consumption of animal products*, it has been increasing dramatically, especially in developing countries. In addition, it would take 210 million tons of soybeans per year to carve the satisfaction of the taste for wild food, which is absolutely unnecessary and detrimental to health.
The Soybean Crop
A Non-GMO soybean is a rustic culture, which does not require nitrogen fertilizer, has moderate water requirements, and requires little treatment against diseases and insects. When used in rotation crop, it reduces the cost of grain production, as it saves on herbicides, nitrogen and irrigation. Soybean is a green plant and the nodules in the roots have the ability to capture nitrogen from the air and it does not need artificial fertilizers. In addition, it also provides nitrogen to the succeeding crop.
Using the economic culture inputs (energy, fertilizer, and equipment), soybean crops can easily be organic, and not weigh heavily on the environment (it does not pollute the air, water or soil with methane). The basic cost of soybean production is fair, with regards the time, number of men and arable land as it needs only a fraction of that involved in the production of animal protein.
An acre of land provides three pounds of beef protein or seventeen pounds of egg protein, but one hundred and fifty to three kilos of soy protein. Hundreds of hours of agricultural labor supplies only twenty kilos of beef protein, forty pounds of milk proteins, but more than a ton of soy protein.
The Nutritional Value of Soybeans
Soybean proteins are complete. They contain all the essential amino acids in proportion to the maximum. Soy contains a half times more protein than the cheese, twice the meat and three times more than eggs, and eleven times more than milk. In other words, a kilogram of defatted soy flour has as much protein as two pounds of boneless meat, six dozen eggs, sixteen liters of milk or two pounds of cheese.
Soybeans have complex carbohydrates, but they are half as much as other legumes. Soy is rich in iron, zinc and vitamin B, very rich in potassium; it leaves an alkaline residue in the body. It contains 18% to 22% of rich fat. They give excellent heat value. Its lipids are largely unsaturated and contain lecithin, an important component of brain and nerve cells. They are used successfully to fight against diseases caused by a meat diet, characterized by an excessive intake of cholesterol and saturated fat.
There is, therefore, no doubt that this as a food item should be quickly integrated into your diet.
World Cancer Research Fund / American Institute of Cancer Research, Food, Nutrition and Cancer Prevention: A Global Perspective, Washington, DC, 1997