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Soybean: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Rajeev Singh

By Dr Rajeev Singh +2 more


Soybean is a legume which is a nutritionally, and economically important crop considered one of the major sources of oil. The scientific name of soybean is Glycine max and around 5000 years ago China cultivated it for the first time. Soya beans are a rich source of proteins, vitamins, minerals, low saturated fats and fibres. The presence of these many biologically active compounds made use of the soybean in the pharmaceutical industry to make medicine and other dietary products.1 Soybean is cultivated as the major oil seed crop and let us discuss the importance and health benefits of soybeans.  

soy bean benefits

Nutritional Value of Soybean: 

Soybean contains a variety of nutrients that are given as follows: 

Nutritional Components Amount 
Water 8.54 g 
Protein 36.5 g 
Total Lipid (fat) 19.9 g 
Carbohydrate 30.2 g 
Fibre 9.3 g 
Sugar 7.33 g 
Calcium 277 mg 
Iron 15.7 mg 
Magnesium 280 mg 
Phosphorus 704 mg 
Potassium 1800 mg 
Sodium  2 mg 
Vitamin C 6 mg 

Table1: Nutritional Value of soybean2 

Also Read: Moong Dal: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

Properties of Soybean: 

The constituents present in soybean may have the following properties: 

  • It may have anti-diabetic properties 
  • It may have an antioxidant effect 
  • It may possess anti-cancer properties 
  • It may have anti-inflammatory properties 
  • It may have cardio-protective properties 
  • It may possess anti-microbial properties 
  • It may have anti-obesity properties1 
  • It may have cholesterol-lowering properties 
  • It may possess properties that may protect the liver 
  • It may have anti-HIV properties3 

Also Read: Rajma (Kidney Beans): Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Rajeev Singh

Soybeans are comprised of chemicals, saponins, which are believed to have an anticancerous potential. Besides other health benefits, soybeans may offer protection against cancer.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

Potential Uses of Soybean: 

Soybeans have plenty of nutrients which make your bones stronger such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin D, proteins.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Some of the potential uses of soybean have been described as follows: 

1. Potential use of soybean for diabetes: 

Soybean may act as an antidiabetic agent and may help in reducing renal disorders. Soybeans may help in reducing the increased protein content by replacing animal proteins with soybean plant proteins. Soybean plant protein may help in renal hyperfiltration and may reduce renal disease in diabetes type 2. Soybeans contain isoflavonoids and stigmasterol which may act as antidiabetic agents by targeting glucose transporters.1,2However, consult your doctor for a proper diagnosis in case of high blood sugar. 

2. Potential use of soybean for cancer: 

Regular intake of soybeans as a part of a regular diet may reduce the risk of cancer. The constituent of soybean that may be responsible for its anti-cancer effect is an isoflavone. Soybean may be used for breast, prostate, and colon cancer due to its anti-proliferative property (property of inhibiting the growth of cancerous cells). However, further studies are required to check the effect of soybeans on cancer in humans.3 Cancer is a serious disease; therefore, it is essential to get it diagnosed and go for proper treatment instead of self-medication. 

3. Potential use of soybean for cardiovascular diseases: 

The diseases that affect the heart and the blood vessels are cardiovascular diseases. Coronary heart disease, coronary artery disease and hypertension are a few examples of cardiovascular disease. Isoflavone and phytosterols, present in soybean may play a major role in cardiovascular diseases by lowering cholesterol levels.3 Heart diseases can be dangerous; therefore, if you should get diagnosed, get proper medical help and special precautions shall be taken if you have a history of heart disease. 

4. Potential use of soybean for osteoporosis: 

Osteoporosis refers to weaker, brittle bones and joints, which generally happens in older women. Isoflavones in soybean may be used for osteoporosis as they may maintain bone mineral density.3 However, further studies are required to check the effect of soybean on osteoporosis in humans. You must consult your doctor if you are experiencing joint pain and take proper treatment instead of self-medicating. 

5. Potential use of soybean for weight management:  

Soybean is a good source of protein and regular intake of soybean in your diet may help in taking less food in humans which, may help in lowering obesity. Studies in animals and humans have shown that soy proteins may reduce body weight and body fat mass.3 However, you must consult a nutritionist before making any changes in your diet. 

6. Potential use of soybean for lowering blood pressure: 

The high protein content of soybean may help maintain proper blood pressure. Soy protein is generally hypotensive; that is, it may help to reduce blood pressure.4 However, further studies are required to check the effect of soybean on lowering blood pressure in humans. You must check your blood pressure and consult a doctor if your blood pressure is not within the normal range. 

7. Potential use of soybean for skin health: 

Isoflavones present in soybeans may help to improve overall skin health. Soybeans may increase collagen synthesis, a protein that may improve the skin elasticity, and water-holding capacity of the skin, reducing pigmentation, and wrinkles.4 However, you must consult a doctor if you see any abnormality in your skin instead of self-medicating. 

8. Potential use of soybean for depression: 

Soybean may be beneficial in managing depression and Isoflavones present in soybean may have anti-depressant properties. Studies have shown that the consumption of soybean may reduce depressive symptoms.4 However, further studies are required to check the anti-depressant property of soybean. You must consult a psychiatrist if you have depression or depressive symptoms. 

Though there are studies that show the benefits of soybean in various conditions, these are insufficient and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of soybean on human health. 

Also Read: Black Chana: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Rajeev Singh

How to use Soybean? 

The intake of soybeans may play a role in keeping blood sugar levels under control during pregnancy. The isoflavones in soy products are implicated in the regulation of glucose metabolism, keeping blood glucose levels within normal range.

Dr. Smita barode, BAMS

Soybeans can be eaten as a part of the diet and cooked before eating. Soybeans are used in the preparation of soups, salads, and stews.   

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking soybeans in large quantities. Likewise, do not discontinue or replace an ongoing modern medical treatment with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor. 

Side Effects of Soybean: 

The side effects of soybean may include: 

  • Allergy 
  • Constipation 
  • Diarrhoea 
  • May alter thyroid function in people with iodine deficiency5 

Soybeans are an important part of the diet of Japanese people. The ratio of heart diseases in Japanese people is low, which can be attributed to the isoflavones present in the soy diet consumed by them in large amounts.

Dr. Anuja Bodhare, MD

Also Read: Is Soybean Oil Bad For You? Unraveling The Truth Backed By Science

Precautions to take with soybean: 

The following precautions shall be taken before consuming soybean: 

  • People with a soy allergy should be cautious before consuming soybean5 
  • Soybeans may be unsafe during pregnancy due to the presence of an oestrogen-like substance. Therefore, pregnant and lactating women should consult a doctor before consuming soybeans.5 

Interactions with Other Drugs: 

Soybeans seem to be a perfect food for vegetarians, but you should be cautious of the harmful effects of soybeans in certain conditions like allergy to soy products, pregnancy, thyroid disease or breast cancer.

Dr. Ashok Pal, BAMS

Soybean may interact with levothyroxine (which is a medication used to treat hypothyroidism)4 

You must consult your doctor before consuming soybean if you are undergoing medical treatment. 

Also Read: Besan: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Rajeev Singh

Frequently Asked Questions: 

What are soybean health benefits? 

Soybean may be used to treat diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, weight management, lowering blood pressure, improving skin health and manage depression.1,3,4 

What are the side effects of soybeans? 

Side effects of soybeans may include allergy, constipation and diarrhoea.5 

What are soybean benefits for weight loss? 

Soybean may help to reduce body weight and body fat due to the presence of a high number of proteins.3 

Is soybean used to treat acne? 

No, there are no studies that show the use of soybean for acne.

What are the soybean advantages and disadvantages? 

The advantages of soybean include its uses in the treatment of diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, weight management, lowering blood pressure, improving skin health and managing depression.1,3,4 Its disadvantages include its side effects like allergy, constipation and diarrhoea.5 


1. Dukariya G, Shah S, Singh G, Kumar A. Soybean and its products: Nutritional and health benefits. J Nut Sci Heal Diet. 2020;1(2):22-9.  Available from: https://journalofnutrition.org 

2. FoodData Central. Soybeans, mature seeds, raw.[Internet]. U. S. Department of Agriculture.  [cited 2022 Aug 4].Available from:https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/174270/nutrients 

3. Dixit A, Antony JI, Sharma NK, Tiwari Rk.12. Soyabean constituents and their functional benefits. Research Signpost. 2011;37(661):2.Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/304524926_Soybean_constituents_and_their_functional_benefits 

4. Messina M. Soy and health update: evaluation of the clinical and epidemiologic literature. Nutrients. 2016 Nov 24; 8(12):754. Available from: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/8/12/754    

5. Soy | National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health [Internet]. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [cited 2022 Aug 4]. Available from: https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/soy 

Also Read: Exploring the Health Benefits of Cannellini Beans: A Comprehensive Review

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