Soybean is a popular legume which is used in various forms, including direct beans, soy milk, soy sauce, and soybean oil. One of the most commonly used vegetable cooking oils, there is documented mention of the use of soybean oil in cooking from 2000 BC in China. Although soybean oil is used in oil paints and printing inks, and there are immense healthcare benefits of soybean oil which are primarily driving the market.
According to the soybean oil price forecast, the demand has been increasing at a steady pace, driven by higher demands from the food industry. The global soybean oil production is expected to grow at a rate of 4.6 percent, while the consumption is expected to grow at a rate of 4.1 percent. After the food industry, demands for soybean oil are for industrial use and biodiesel manufacturing.
Use of Soybean In Healthcare
Soybean oil is produced by cracking open the soybeans, removing the hulls and heating the content to coagulate the soy proteins. Next, the content is cut into flakes and emerged with a hexane solvent, after which the hexane is separated leaving behind soybean oil that undergoes purification as per end requirement. Soybean oil contains antioxidants, saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat and major unsaturated fatty acids such as alpha-linolenic acid, linoleic acid, and oleic acid, along with saturated fatty acids such as stearic acid and palmitic acid. It also contains important vitamins such as Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and riboflavin along with minerals such as iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, and manganese.
The healthcare department uses the soybean industry in various ways:
- Boosting Overall Immune System: Compared to other vegetable oils, soybean oil is considered to be a healthier option due to the variety of nutrients and essential fatty acids that are present. Use of soybean oil is considered to be helpful in boosting the overall immune system of the body because of the high vegetable protein content. By consuming soybean oil on a daily basis, the protein levels in the body will increase, thereby helping protect the body against illness and also facilitate cell regeneration.
- Heart Health: Soybean oil is greatly beneficial for improved heart health since it has unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids and other amino acids that help in reducing hypertension by slowing down the accumulation of LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein) or ‘bad’ cholesterol. Low levels of bad cholesterol decreases the chance of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, strokes, and other heart issues.
- Women’s Health: The hormone estrogen plays an important role in female bodies, maintaining bone metabolism, the lack of which, especially after menopause, leads to brittle bones and diseases such as osteoporosis and osteopenia. Soybean oil contains isoflavones that act similarly to estrogen and help promote bone density and also counteract side-effects of menopause.
- Skincare: Soybean oil provides benefits for health both by ingesting it as well as by topical application. Vitamin E present in soybean oil protects the skin and reduces blemishes and scars while also promoting the growth of new skin cells. For skin application, soybean oil can be applied directly or in the form of gels or lotions to reduce inflammation and transepidermal water loss and to protect the skin against UV rays.
- Treating Alzheimer’s Disease: One of the most common forms of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is a debilitating brain condition that progressively gets worse, affecting the memory and cognitive thinking of the sufferer, making carrying out even simple tasks difficult. While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease use of soybean oil has been known to alleviate certain symptoms of the condition, even reversing some effects due to the presence of Vitamin K in soybean oil. Vitamin K protects the body and neural cells against free radicals reducing the impact of Alzheimer’s disease.
Soybean oil can be used in a variety of ways to garner the health benefits it offers, including by using soybean oil as cooking oil for deep frying, salad dressings, as an emulsifying agent, to make icings, in baking, and in sauces like barbeque sauce and mayonnaise.
Soybean Market Regional Analysis
The massive health benefits of soybean have increased its demand worldwide. The main countries producing soybean oil are China accounting for 31 percent of the production, the U.S. for 19 percent, Argentina for 14 percent, Brazil for 15 percent and EU for 3 percent. The key exporting countries are Argentina for 44 percent of exports, Brazil for 14 percent, the U.S. for 10 percent, EU for 7 percent and Paraguay for 6 percent, while the key importing countries are India for 33 percent of imports, Bangladesh for 8 percent, Algeria for 7 percent, Morocco for 5 percent, and China for 4 percent.
Soybean products overall provide a variety of health benefits, due to the presence of fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. The popularity of soybean oil as an alternative to normal cooking oil is gaining in rapid popularity due to the health benefits it offers, especially in comparison to other oils. The use of soybean oil in the healthcare industry is expected to grow considerably in the future driven by growth in production capacity and demand.