phytochemicals Phytochemicals

More plants with phytochemicals



Glycine max

What is soy?

The soy plant belongs to the family of the papilionaceous. The soy plant is an erect hairy annual herb which can reach a height of 1,5 m. The soy plant has large trifoliate leaves with small white to purple flowers, born close to the stem. The soy beans ripen in a pod, which normally contain 3 to 4 beans. The colour of the soy beans differ from light yellow, to green and black.

Parts used

Only the soybeans (seeds of the soy plant) are used, either as food or raw material to extract phytochemicals.


These are typical phytochemicals found in soy: isoflavones, genistein, saponins, beta-sitosterol, daidzein.

Benefits of soy

Soybean consumption has been associated with reduction of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. The soybean protein as well soy isoflavones are responsible for this action.
Soy isoflavones also help to ease menopausal symptoms and reduce the risk for certain cancer, including prostate cancer and breast cancer. Genistein inhibits the enzyme tyrosine kinase, which plays a role in cell division and tumor growth.

Saponins have an anti-thrombotic and liver protecting action. On study indicates that soy isoflavones may help to reduce body weight.

Other facts

The soy bean contains about 38% protein of high nutritional quality, because the eight essential amino acids are present. Soybeans are becoming more popular because of their health promoting properties. Genetically modified soy is also cultivated and this has caused much controversy. Soy is used to make many traditional foods including tofu, soymilk, miso and tempeh. The soy plant originates from central and eastern Asia. Soy has been cultivated in soy for many centuries and is now cultivated in many countries, mainly in China, USA, Argentina, Chilli and Brazil.

Other names

Soya, soja, soybean


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