Soya beans are part of the legume family and have been eaten for several centuries. But the question is this, are there any health benefits of soya beans to babies? If there are, what are they and how can you tap these benefits for your baby.
We also need to know if there are adverse effects of soya beans to babies. In this post, we will discuss all of this and more. First, let’s look at the nutritional value of soya beans.
Nutritional Value of Soya Beans
Soya beans are also known as soybeans and it is native to East Asia. However, this legume has spread to the rest of the world. While they can be eaten whole, soya beans can also be processed into other forms. For babies, soya beans are mostly processed into soya bean powder, soy milk, and soy formula.
What is the nutritional value of soya beans? Let’s take a brief look at the values below.
In 100 grams of boiled soya beans, you get the following:
- Calories: 173
- Carbs: 9.9 grams
- Fiber: 6 grams
- Protein: 16.6 grams
- Sugar: 3 grams
- Water: 63%
- Fat: 9 grams
- Saturated: 1.3 grams
- Monounsaturated: 1.98 grams
- Polyunsaturated: 5.06 grams
- Omega-3: 0.6 grams
- Omega-6: 4.47 g
From this, it is clear that soya beans contain more protein. Babies need a lot of protein to develop properly which makes soya beans a good option for feeding infants.
Asides the nutrients above, soya beans also contain different minerals and vitamins. These include:
- Vitamin K1
These minerals and vitamins help to develop different parts of the infant’s body including bones and teeth. What else do soya beans contain?
Soya beans are also rich in different bioactive plant compounds. They include:
- Phytic acid
Now that we have a clear picture of the nutritional value of soya beans, let’s look at their benefits to babies.
Health benefits of soya beans to babies
Feeding babies is a very sensitive task. At this stage of their lives, they need to get access to as many essential nutrients as possible. Their access to nutrients will determine their physical, emotional, and mental state of health.
One of the common foods that are given to babies is soya beans. Like we said earlier, this food can be processed into different forms for babies. We have also shown you the nutritional value of soya beans. The question that begs for an answer at this point is, what are the benefits of soya beans to babies?
Let’s show you a few of them below:
A good substitute for lactose intolerant babies
Certain babies are allergic to lactose. As a result, they react to cow milk and other kinds of milk. Since the milk from soya beans is plant-based, it is perfect for such children. Later in this post, we will show you how to prepare soya beans powder for your babies.
Contains essential nutrients
Soya beans are rich in many of the essential nutrients that babies need to grow and develop properly. We have listed all the nutrients present in soya beans under the nutritional value of soya beans above. However, you must ensure that you prepare the formula properly for your baby to access these nutrients. It is also important to be sure that your baby isn’t allergic to soya beans to avoid complications.
Maintaining body weight
It isn’t great for your baby to be obese. Babies develop fat very easily because of several reasons. One of the major reasons is that the foods they eat contain a lot of fat. Soya beans have very low-fat content. This is why it is recommended for babies to help maintain their body weight.
How to prepare soya beans powder for your baby
Now that we know the different health benefits of soya beans to babies, let’s show you how to prepare it. In this post, we will be showing you how to prepare soya beans powder for babies.
What you need
- Soya beans (5 cups)
- Groundnut (3 cups)
- Unripe plantain (2)
- Crayfish (2 tablespoons, this is optional).
Step 1 – Carefully pick the soya beans to be sure that you get any dirt or stones out of it.
Step 2 – Wash the soya beans thoroughly and spread it in a neat place to dry.
Also, Step 3 – Peel your unripe plantain and cut it into slices (flat slices are better). After this, sundry the plantain or leave them in a pot over the fire to dry.
Step 4 – Put the soya beans inside a pot and fry it until the skin falls off. By now, the beans must be crisp and have a brown color. At this point, it is ready to be ground to powder.
Step 5 – Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and mill them until you get a uniform smooth powder.
Congratulations! Your soya beans powder is ready. You can preserve the powder by storing it inside an airtight container. It is also important to note that you can only preserve it for two weeks. This is why we advise that you stick to producing small quantities at a time.
To serve your baby you can:
- Add some powder to warm water and mix it properly. This becomes soya milk for your baby.
- Add some of the powder to other foods that you serve your babies such as custard and pap.
Are soya beans healthy for babies?
While soya beans contain so many nutrients, you should never feed your babies on soya beans alone. This is because soya beans do not contain all that your baby needs to grow and develop properly. Soya beans should not be given to babies in place of breast milk.
Feeding your baby only soya beans can result in any of the following:
- Speech disturbances.
- Reduced brain function.
- Thyroid disease.
- Altered behavior from excess manganese.
We have shown you several health benefits of soya beans for babies. Nevertheless, you should never substitute soya beans for breast milk. If you have to feed your babies soya beans, make sure that you provide other meals as well.