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Soybeans, despite the name, are members of the pea family and were first discovered more than 5,000 years ago in Asia. Their introduction revolutionized the region’s diet, and soybeans cane to be regarded as a sacred crop. During the past five millennia of experimentation and invention, Asian chefs have perfected the art of working with soybeans. they were steadily expanding the range of foods made with this excellent culinary product. Although soybeans have only been cultivated in the United States since 1765, their health benefits and culinary potential are finally beginning to catch on with the public at large.

Today, we can get soy milk, tofu, and of course, soy sauce. But there’s far more as well. More than 2,000 new soy products can be found on the shelves of supermarkets. If you’re in search of soy, you can find a good fit for almost any taste and any occasion.

In a study that included people from 59 different countries, researchers showed that the incidence of fatal prostate cancer was inversely related to the intake of soy products. In other words, the more soy that people ate, the lower the rate of fatal prostate cancer. Soy was four times more likely to prevent prostate cancer than any other ingredient in the diet.

In Asian countries where soy has long been a culinary staple, the incidence of breast and prostate cancer is far below that if western countries. Recent studies in the United States, Japan, and China confirm that even one serving of soy per day can halve the risk of colon, rectal, lung, and breast cancer.

The key weapon appears to be genistein, an important estrogen-like substance that seems to suppress the growth of certain cancer cells. In addition to prostate cancers, the genistein in soy may lower your risk of breast cancer, colon cancer and lung cancer.

Genistein may also be the secret weapon protecting calcium in the bone and thereby helping to prevent osteoporosis. Compare this to dairy products, in which the animal protein is now thought to promote osteoporosis by inducing calcium loss through the kidneys. Soy protein, on the other hand, has just the opposite effect: it helps protect the calcium in your bones.

This legume is also cost-effective. A single acre sown with soybeans can produce sufficient protein to sustain a person for 7years. In addition to its other virtues, soy packs a sensational nutritional wallop. As a protein source, it is comparable to meat and eggs. It also contains Iron, B vitamins, calcium, and zinc.

With soy, you’ll get a power-packed supply of good health. And nearly all soy foods that are considered “substitutes”- like soy burgers- have fewer calories than the foods or ingredients they’re replacing.