SOYBEAN IS one of the most important sources of protein and oil in the world. Soybean seeds contain 20% high quality oil and 36% protein on dry weight basis. Dry mature raw soybean typically contains 30% lipids and 9.3% dietary fibre. According to USDA, proteins and lipids combined make up is more than 60% of soybean on dry weight basis. Usually animals proteins have those essential amino acids which are required by human body but the interesting fact is that soybean protein has eight essential amino acids due to which can be a good choice for those who love to be vegetarians. It is directly used in food, canning, paints, cosmetics, chemical industry and pharmaceutical industry. Soybean also provides significant amount of iron, vitamin C, thiamine, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc and manganese. It contains several vitamins, biological active substance which has medicinal and pharmaceutical properties.
The studies have shown that people which have soybean in their diets have lesser risk of different cancers. It is reported that many components of soybean have potential of anti-cancer activity. These components are protease inhibitors, isoflavones, phytosterols, phenolic acids, phytates and saponins. Among these components, isoflavones is considered as best for anti-cancer effect of soybean. Genistein is one of the two primary isoflavones which increases concentrations of TGF-beta that may inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
It is reported that association of prostate cancer is linked with the increasing levels of dihydrotestosterone, and soybean isoflavones are known to inhibit 5alpha-reductase, which is involved in the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. It is also reported that estrogens cause programmed cell death of prostate cancer cells and inhibit enzymes associated with different processes in the development of cancer.
Consumption of soybean foods during childhood and adolescence in women reduces the risk of breast cancer in later part of life. The growth of both estrogen-dependent and estrogen-independent breast cancer cells has been inhibited by genistein. It is reported that women who ate more than 15 grams of soybean protein per day had a 30% lower risk of recurrence compared to women who ate less than 5 grams of soybean protein per day.
Endometrial (Uterine) cancer is the most common type of cancer in the world which affects the female reproductive organs. It was estimated that about 7, 000 women die each year due to endometrial cancer. As we know that phytoestrogen component is present in soybean, if we consume tofu (a soybean product) alone or in combination with other soybean products there is a 50% reduction in endometrial cancer risk.
Along cancer treatment soybean has potential to treat many other diseases like cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimers disease and can prevent elder from deadness.
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