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SoybeansWhat is a soybean?The soya bean is one of the world’s most essential oil and protein sources. This substance is usually used for a meat or meat product substitute. It first grew in China around 4000 years ago and is now widespread across Asia and around the world. Soybeans are a bushy, free-branching plant. The plant are about 12 – 36 inches tall. Each pod of soybeans contain 2-4 seeds. There are many different colours of soybeans, there are grey, brown, green, yellow, white and even striped. The bean can be used to produce biofuel, oil, and food. Soybeans can also be called Glycine max (Latin name).  Soy food products can be made from soy milk or can be made in a fermentation process. Soybeans contain a lot of vitamins, protein fibre which are essential for health. How is soy milk made?Soy milk is produced when the dried bean is dehulled then is soaked in water. It is then grinded up and water is then added to create a mixture and is left to boil. After boiling the mixture, it is then filtered and cooled. Natural cane sugar is then added into the mixture to enhance the flavours. This process is very simple but effective and once you are done with the process you are left with soy milk.  Soy milk can also be made into tofu as well as tofu skin. What’s good about soy milk/soy beans?Soy milk is a great substitution to cow milk because of its high fat and protein. The fat ‘Omega-3’ is essential to the human body and can only be found in different foods including soy milk. ‘Omega-3’ fats help the brain function as well as helping normal growth and development. It is also essential because it also reduces the risk of getting chronic health diseases like heart disease, cancer and arthritis. The fat also reduces inflammation.Since cow milk contains dietary cholesterol, saturated fat and trans fat, soy milk is a great substitution because it gives the same amount of nutrients without all the nasty side effects. There is a genistein isoflavone in soy, soy isoflavones have been directly linked to numerous health effects and have been beneficial to the human body. Soy milk is a good alternative to cow milk because less water and less land is needed therefore you can save water. A cow needs around 6 to 8 litres of water every single day while a soybean plant only requires 5% of what cows need. Cows also need a lot of space whereas soybean plants don’t. Cows release 70 to 120 kg of methane gas into the air in a year since there are more than 1.5 billion cows on the Earth, cows are producing a huge amounts of methane gas into the air therefore contributing to global warming. There are also a range of different vitamins and minerals like vitamin k1 (helps prevent blood clotting), Thiamin (helps with normal body functions), copper, manganese, phosphorus (an essential mineral) , folate (helps various different body functions and is especially important during pregnancy) and Molybdenum.Cons about soy beansLectins in soy will affect and mess with the leptin sensitivity which controls and hunger and energy expenditure signals. This makes your brain believe that you are still hungry while you have sufficient calories. Leptin could also lead to insulin resistance and that could lead to several problems known as metabolic syndrome.  Soybeans isoflavones can be good but if ingested a large volume it also raises your estrogen levels therefore resulting in lower testosterone levels. If estrogen levels are fluctuating then it will have devastating effects for both men and women. In men improper balance of testosterone to estrogen will lead to lower livido, fat accumulation around the waist and loss for energy. A abnormal high levels of estrogen in women will disrupts periods and could cause heart cancer.Environmental aspectsAs the bean is growing in popularity, its is planted in south america where all the fragile rainforests and savannahs are. This affects the growth of other plants as well as the jaguar and the giant anteater. The expansion of soybean plants are also contributing to climate change. Conversion of the forests to the soy plants in the Amazon threatens the climate. The farmers are also using ‘highly eroded’ soil to plant their soybean crops. Farmers are now developing genetically modified seeds now that guard against soil erosion. This makes the soybeans not natural and artificial. Soy crops are also becoming one of the most destructive monocrops because they take the soil’s nutrients without returning anything in return. The crops now are mostly genetically modified to protect them from some of the ‘highly eroded’ soil.In around 5 minutes a Brazilian Amazon rainforest larger than 200 football pitches would have been destroyed for soybean cultivation, which most of it would be fed to livestock. Brazil has lost more than 50,000 square miles mostly due to soybean farming.Environmentally we could improve by using more natural things to help growth instead of genetically modifying it. Using simple things like fertilizer or mosses could help stop the manufacturing of artificial beans and should also help with the eroded soil. The pros would be that it would help eroded soil and would stop the artificial beans. The cons are that it would cost a lot of money and would be inconsistent.ConclusionSoybeans are a very important part of a healthy diet as well as a great substitute for meat and meat products. Soybeans contain a high percentage of proteins, fats, fibre, vitamins and minerals which makes this not only a substitute but also a superfood. This is one of the world’s most important crop. Though some of the side effects like the high levels of estrogen or isoflavones can affect you, soybeans are still a great plant and can be made as both food as well as biofuels. Works Cited Harvest to Table. 17 May 2017, Healthline. 31 Mar. 2017, Plants for a Future. Science in Context. Sept. 2003, Science in Context. 14 Sept. 2017, Small Foot Print Family. University of Maryland. 5 Aug. 2015, WWF. 2004, count: 988Honesty pledge: I did not give or receive any aid from any of my peers or from websites.