Notice: I made the mistake on the name of black bean in this write-up, the general name for black beans and soy beans are 大豆 in the ancient text, and then sub-categorized by the color of their skin. I'm very sorry for this mistake.
Many people think soy bean is an ancient Chinese superfood, but they couldn't be more wrong.
"Eh, I thought 《本草纲目》said that it's good?!"
In ancient China, the super bean they're referring to is black bean (黑豆) not soy beans (黄豆). The 大豆 mentioned in 《本草纲目》(Compendium of Materia Medica) is black bean, this tradition of addressing black bean as 大豆 is still retained in Japan and Korea.
While in China, not many know this anymore, as lots of ancient knowledge are destroyed in the Cultural Revolution. Even much of the Chinese overseas have little idea of this.
Hence, when the Western scientists took soy beans (黄豆) for experiments between 70s and 80s, they found it to be good and popularize soy bean consumption. Later in the late 90s to early 2000s, they found a spike in estrogen-related illnesses and tumors broke out in both men and women.
Then they realized they had a high consumption of soy beans, and then over-rule their initial findings that soy beans are good for health. Actually, in TCM, anything in excess and unsuitable for our body constitution brews trouble, if not alot of troubles.
In ancient China, soy beans (黄豆) are consumed by the poor, the rich eat black beans (黑豆/大豆). In modern times, we can easily find that black beans are at least 30% more expensive than soy beans in any health food stores or supermarkets. This is the reason why the rich have black beans back then.
In TCM, it's well known and recorded that over-consumption of soy beans will deplete our Qi in the body, this is also why good TCM doctors advice their patients to avoid eating them during medication. As soy beans will contradict alot of herbs' properties.
With black beans, they're a nutritional powerhouse AND a great toxic purger, meaning, they help to purge toxic in the body. It's known to purge 100 types of toxic in ancient TCM knowledge, including arsenic. Soy beans have toxic purging properties too, but at a lower and different function.
In at least 600 classic ancient TCM formulas, black bean is used in some of them as part of the herbal make-up. However, for soy beans, I've yet to see any, but that doesn't mean soy beans can never be eaten. It just means we can start to drop the supposed aura that soy beans has been put on by erred US scientist in the 70s.
So let's just place soy beans on the level ground with other food, and by this post, I don't mean eating black beans daily or often too. With this, I hope to spread the right information and news about these 2 beans.
Both have their uses and good, but none is superior if used on the wrong body constitution.
For people of the below, please reduce or stop having soy products to improve your digestion first.
High vegetable and fruit eater
Hardly goes out in the sun
High fish eater
Pale and/or white skin
Backache and/or kneecap pain
Fish, vegetables and fruits are very "cooling" food, if we eat alot of soy products with such diet, most health will probably regress.
Soy products are common in South East Asian diet i.e tau-kwa, tau-kee, tau-pok, tau-hway, tofu, breancurd, soy bean milk, tempeh, miso and etc.
Soy protein is one of the most difficult protein to break down in our stomach system, hence, people who have weak Qi and blood will find digesting soy products very difficult. Even animal protein are easier to digest than soy's.
Many vegetarian have kneecap pain and backache after years of high level of soy food, that's because soy protein compromise kidney functions after long-term of high consumption.
Black beans, on the other hand, is known to boost kidney Qi, which will also improve kneecap functions. However, only certain group of people who have a general "cold" body constitution are suitable to introduce more black beans in their diet.
In gist, knowing our body constitution is the most important start to health. Once we understand our body constitution well, we'll be able to adapt a right strategy towards a reasonably healthy life.
If you'd like to learn more on food strategy and your body constitution for the future you, along with the great Infinite Qigong, do sign up to join our happy Infinite Qigong family. You'll never regret this trip with us. :)