The Benefits Of Dried Soybeans
Dried soybeans are highly nutritious, a food rich in proteins, and a good source of fiber, several important minerals, and vitamins. Dried soybeans have not been around all that long as a food item in the United States even though soy has been cultivated for centuries. Soy, called soya in the UK, is native to China and east Asia, but the United States leads the world in soy production today, accounting for about a third of total soybean production. Brazil and Argentina are the two other major producers of the crop.
Somewhat New To The Western Diet - Soybeans were not always considered fit to eat, and while they are indeed edible, not everyone likes the taste of either green soybeans or dried soybeans (the pods themselves are not eaten). Initially planted to fix nitrogen in the soil and thus improve soil for other crops, it eventually became apparent that soy was a good forage crop for livestock, mainly due to its high concentration of protein, up to 10 times as much protein (though usually somewhat less) than other grain or vegetable crops used for grazing. A significant portion of the soy under cultivation is used for soybean meal, in which the fat content of the soybeans is reduced, yielding a livestock food that is very rich in protein.
There are some who claim dried soybeans should not be a part of our diet, as soy contains certain potentially toxic elements. These claims are not totally beyond dispute, but evidence seems to overwhelmingly dictate the nutritional value far outweighs any risks. It never hurts of course to delve deeper into any information that may picture soy as something other than a very nutritious food item, though given the size and political clout of the soy industry, any such solid information may be hard to come by. The general consensus seems to be that soy is a useful crop, for both man and beast.
Dried Soybean Nutrition - The minerals found in dried soybeans include copper, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, calcium, and manganese. A serving (one cup) of dried soybeans will yield the recommended daily requirement of magnesium, phosphorus, copper, iron, and manganese, and between a third and a half of the daily requirement of the other minerals mentioned above. As far as vitamins are concerned, a serving of dried soybeans provides a third of our recommended daily requirement of vitamin C, half of our daily requirement for thiamin, and over three-quarters of the requirement for riboflavin and vitamin K. In addition, soybeans are a good source of essential amino acids, those which our body cannot synthesize and can only be acquired from the foods we eat.
The caloric content of dried soybeans is high, averaging just under 800 calories a serving. However, if eaten as snacks when dried or roasted one is not too apt to eat a full serving in a single sitting. The nutritional value of nuts, seeds, and legumes such as soy, usually far outweigh a sometimes high caloric content.
A Useful Recipe - Although the taste of green or dried soybeans does not appeal to everyone, many of the soy products on the market today, including soy milk, are quite pleasant tasting. The dried beans can also be prepared to appeal to most tastes; one approach worth trying is to spice them up a bit. Just take one or more cups of dried soybeans, soak them overnight, drain and rinse them, place them on an oiled cookie sheet, lightly sprinkling them with a mixture of salt, chili powder and garlic. Bake at 300 degrees for about an hour, and the end result will be a cup or more of great tasting snacks.