The soybean or Soya bean (scientifically Glycine max) is a nutritious and versatile legume that is used to make a variety of products. A native to East Asia, this annual plant has been used in China for 5,000 years as a food as well as a component of drugs. It contains significant amounts of all the essential amino acids for humans, and so is a good source of protein. A rich source of nutrients, it is an ideal dietary supplement. There are two major types of soybeans cultivated these days — the yellow and black varieties. Though soybeans are native to east Asia, only 45 percent of soybean production is located there. The other 55 percent of production is in the Americas.
Soyabean oil is the worlds largest source of vegetable oil. This vegetable oil is a very healthy food ingredient and does not contain much saturated fat. It is also the principal source of omega-3 fatty acids and the primary commercial source of vitamin E as well. Soybean oil contains natural antioxidants which remain in the oil even after extraction.
Often termed as a healthy and nutritious cooking medium, this oil has special advantage over other oils as it is low in calories due to higher level of poly unsaturates. The neutral flavor and well-balanced fatty acid profile of soybean oil make it a desirable ingredient for a variety of applications from baked goods to salad dressings.
A rich source of nutrients and vitamins, soybean oil possess innumerable health benefits. It prevents heart disease by reducing total cholestero. This healthy oil also helps in preventing plaque build up in the arteries, which could lead to stroke or heart attack. Certain findings and studies suggest that a regular intake of soy foods may help to prevent hormone related cancers such as breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer.
It is widely used in the food industry for preparing variety of products including:
- Snack Foods
- Salad Dressings
- Sandwich Spreads
- Non-dairy Coffee Creamers, etc.
Soybean oil is not only used in food products but is also used as renewable raw material to produce a variety of non-food products including bio diesel, inks, plasticizers, crayons, paints and soy candles.