Soybean is a species of legume native to East Asia, widely grown for its edible bean which has numerous uses. The plant, classed as an oilseed rather than a pulse by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, produces significantly more protein per acre than most other uses of land. Soybeans are considered by many agencies to be a source of complete protein. A complete protein is one that contains significant amounts of all the essential amino acids that must be provided to the human body because of the body’s inability to synthesize them. For this reason, soy is a good source of protein, amongst many others, for vegetarians and vegans or for people who want to reduce the amount of meat they eat. The United States, Brazil and Argentina are the world’s largest soybean producers and represent more than 80% of global soybean production. However, Non-GMO Soybean is mainly cultivated and produced in India.
Among the legumes, the soybean is valued for its high protein content as well as its high oil content. Soybeans are the second-most valuable agricultural export in the United States, behind corn. One of the major uses of soybeans globally is as livestock feed, predominantly in the form of soybean meal. Spring grasses are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, whereas soy is predominantly omega-6. In addition to their use in livestock feed, soybean products are widely used for human consumption. Common soybean products include soy sauce, soy milk, tofu, soy meal, soy flour, textured vegetable protein (TVP), tempeh, soy lecithin and soybean oil. Soybeans may also be eaten with minimal processing. In China, Japan, and Korea, soybean and soybean products are a common part of the diet.