Vegetarian Diet – Principal Source of Protein
Soybean – As an economical source of valuable and wholesome dietary elements, the soybean undoubtedly stands without a peer. In Oriental countries it has been used by all classes for centuries as the principal source of protein .
Complete Protein for Vegetarian Diet
The protein content of soybeans is from 36-40%, — about twice that of meat, Lima or navy beans, walnuts, or most other nuts; and four times that of eggs, or wheat or other cereals. This protein is of the complete type , similar to that of milk and eggs.
Quality Fat in Soybean
The soybean contains more fat than any other legume. From 18-20% of the dry bean is an oil of superior quality. Though it contains 11% carbohydrate, only 2% of this carbohydrate is in the form of starch and is utilized in the body. For this reason the soybean may be properly used in diabetic and low-starch diets.
Minerals in Soybean
From the mineral standpoint, the soybean contains practically all the essential minerals in adequate amounts. It has 4 times as much sodium and potassium as does wheat, and 5 times as much calcium and 3 times as much phosphorus. The mineral ash is highly alkaline, and this is beneficial in balancing a diet high in cereals or other acid forming foods. Bread, for example, made with entire wheat flour yields a preponderance of acid. Substituting soy flour for a part of the wheat flour will help to balance the acid and alkaline properties of the bread.
Soybean in one form or another will supply all the important known vitamins, with the possible exception of vitamin D. The dry bean is an excellence source of thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin, and the green bean provides vitamins A and C.
Soybean Versatility in Vegetarian Diet
From the standpoint of versatility the soybean is unique. It can be used on the menu in almost any type of dish from soup to dessert.
In calories, one pound of whole soy flour is equivalent to 3 quarts of milk, or 29 eggs, or 3 1/2 pounds of beefsteak.
In fat and protein, one pound of soybeans is equivalent to that found in 2 pounds of steak, or 2 1/2 dozen of eggs, or six quarts of milk.
It can readily be seen that when meat, milk, or eggs are compared to soybeans as a source of calories or protein, the latter is much less expensive.
Vegetarian Diet Milk Substitute
Soymilk is the water extract of the soybean and looks like cow’s milk. It can be made from the raw dry bean or from the soyflour; the former is usually preferable . It can be used as a substitute for cow’s milk in almost any recipe. Soymilk is obtainable in some markets and in health food stores.
Source: Esther L. Gardner, and others, Homemaker’s Cookbook and Guide to Nutrition, pp. 67-69