Soya and Sevenoaks: The vegetable you didn’t know you loved
By Sarah Redman
The soya bean has been growing in popularity for a while now. Originating in Southeast Asia, it was domesticated by Chinese farmers and has since been used in recipes throughout China, Korea and Japan for thousands of years. A popular use is the classic soy sauce, which is known worldwide for its links to Asian cuisine.
The soya bean is not just harvested for human consumption, but it is also popular as forage for livestock due to its high protein levels. Other than being a great antioxidant, soya beans have proved useful in society, alongside their nutritious benefits.
The bean produces an oil that can either be used for cooking, or can be processed by transesterification into biodiesel. Soya oil can also be found in wood adhesives, industrial lubricants, solvents, cleaners and paints. The bean’s oil is also able to replace the petroleum in crayons and candles, making them non-toxic. With crayons especially, this is a lot safer for children. Soya-based foams are even being invented for fridges, car interiors, and even footwear.
In fact, soya’s ability to be a great substitute for petroleum is helping a Sevenoaks business flourish. The Sevenoaks Candle Company specialises in handmade, 100% soya candles. Open for business since January 2013, this young company has gone from strength to strength with its range of wax melters and container candles.
Soya bean wax is great for candles; as being 100% vegetable matter, and made from pure soya bean oil, it burns up to 50% longer. It is also cleaner than paraffin wax as it has no soot build up. This natural wax is biodegradable, free from pesticides, herbicides and toxins. It is even kosher. On top of this, the wax does not stain, it is not tested on animals, and it is both renewable and sustainable.
The Kent-based company has gradually expanded in the past year. It now has over 20 fragrances, ranging from the heavenly Lemon Cupcake through to Very Berry (don’t you love the names!). The company also has a useful and environmentally friendly recycling and refill scheme for their glass bottles.
Aside from being the perfect base for handmade candles in Kent, Soya is thought to have many health benefits. It is approximately 18% oil and 38% protein; the bean is also high in omega three fats and is a great source of iron. The soya bean – or the American soybean – is also known as the ‘meat of the fields’ or ‘meat with no bone’, due to the high protein levels of this vegetable.
Luckily, a fair few of the reasons soya wax is so great transfers to use of soya beans in our food. Now a popular substitute, soya milk can be found in many a cup of coffee. It is also the bean in the pods commonly known as edamame and, alongside water, soya beans create the veggie favourite, tofu.
Whilst the exact health benefits are debated, soya is thought to have a chemical structure similar to oestrogen, which can help protect against breast cancer and a number of other diseases, such as colon cancer. There is evidence that whilst the soya bean is a great healthy food, people’s bodies from western societies are less able to digest and use its key benefits than our Asian counterparts, who had been consuming this vegetable for a long while before it was introduced to Europe, the British colonies, and finally America.
Soya protein may also contribute to a reduced risk of coronary heart disease when consuming approximately 30 grams per day, according to a study sponsored by the Food and Drug Administration. Due to high levels of vitamin K, the soya bean is great for bone health, as it is a much-needed nutrient; this is thought to have a positive effect on osteoporosis and menopause.
The benefits of soya beans may be under debate, but like most other food, consuming in moderation is best for your body. If soya doesn’t already feature in your diet, it is most popular as a supplement for dairy, so if you want to give it a go, then why not try it in your morning coffee?Did you know? A car was once made from ‘Soya Bean Plastic’. The famous Henry Ford built a car with plastic bodywork made from soya beans. By 1935, Ford was using one bushel of soya beans for every car he manufactured.
Sevenoaks Candle Company
This Sevenoaks-based company’s award-winning candles are handmade in the owner’s Kent home, using eco-friendly soya wax. To see the full range of gorgeous fragrances and colours available, visit www.sevenoakscandleco.co.uk.