Soya Beans: Food of the Future

Soybeans were first grown in China back in the 11th century.  It was a big part of the Chinese as it was processed in many forms.  The beans were dried, boiled, ground, fermented and even extracted oil from.  Records show that the Japanese were already importing soy bean oil from China as early as 1890s.  The humble legume made its way to Europe through Chinese missionaries who brought the seeds to France in 1740.  It reached the Americas in the 1800s but it was mainly used as a forage crop rather than harvested for its beans.  The Americans were slow in grasping the nutritional value of the beans until around the late 1940s.  Soya beans dominated the US farms for decades, and it made its way to a spaceship during the height of NASA’s lunar exploration. The once underestimated soybean is now viewed as a super food that will nourish the astronauts as America pursues its cosmic goals.

The use of soybeans in Asian cuisine is credited for the Chinese.  Tofu, soya milk, soya bean oil are all part of an Asian diet.  Soya bean is also used in industrial paint, varnish, caulking compound, and many other industrial uses.  It’s also a source for biodiesel, a new age feat in man’s effort to reduce reliance on petroleum fuel and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Soybean for biodiesel purposes now produces millions of gallons per year since the 1990s, mainly produced in the U.S.  Biodiesel from soya has now competed against human food products and industrial purposes.  It could also very well be the answer to NASA’s expensive space travel costs, as soybean biofuel is cheap, sustainable and renewable.

Man’s reliance on livestock and poultry for protein has led to environmental issues that have plagued the planet’s climatic conditions.  Soybean is a high-protein food source which can be processed into different forms and still retain its nutritional content.  It can also be a milk substitute as soya is fortified with calcium, lecithin, complete protein, fibers, and it has zero cholesterol.  Soymilk has 85% less fat than regular milk; it is gluten free and a good source of calcium and B vitamins.  Tofu is a versatile soybean dish that is almost tasteless.  These cakes or curd is widely used in vegetarian dishes because it has the same chewy consistency as meat.  Tofu can absorb any flavors so it can mimic meat as food and a protein source.  The silken tofu variety can also be turned into sweet desserts.

Article publié pour la première fois le 13/05/2013

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