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soya (soy) A bean (Glycine max) important as a source of both oil and protein. The protein is of higher nutritional value than that of many other vegetables. When raw it contains a trypsin inhibitor, which is destroyed by heat. Native of China, where it has been cultivated for 5000 years; grows 60–100 cm high with 2–3 beans per pod. Contains indigestible sugars, stachyose, and raffinose, which can cause flatulence. A 100‐g portion of boiled beans is a good source of protein and iron; a source of niacin and calcium; provides 6 g of dietary fibre; supplies 140 kcal (590 kJ). Also a rich source of phytoestrogens.

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