Chemical Components

Soybeans are a high nutrient food containing up to 50% protein. Soy protein contains all of the essential amino acids in sufficient quantities to act as a sole protein source with methionine (a precursor of homocysteine) being the limiting amino acid (Young 1991).

Soy is a major food source of phytoestrogens (isoflavones and lignans), with each gram of soy protein containing approximately 1-3 mg of isoflavones, including glycosides of genistein, daidzein and glycitein (Erdman 2000). Soy also contains the lignans secoisoiariciresinoi, matairesinol, syringaresinol, lariciresinol, isolariciresinol, and pinoresinol (Penalvo et al 2004), as well as soy lecithin (a phospholipid containing © 2007 Elsevier Australia

I i no lei c and iinoienic acid), vitamin E (in its four isomeric forms as alpha, beta, gamma, and delta-tocopherol), oligosaccharides, the phytosterols beta-sitosterol, campesterol and stigmasterol, phytates and protease inhibitors, inositol hexaphosphate, saponins and oligosaccharides (Mazur et al 1998, Tripathi & Misra 2005).

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