This book was written to introduce “the world of the soybean” with respect to its myriad health benefits. A number of excellent review articles and books are available that cover the nutritional and physiological functions of soybean and its products. The editor is, however, not aware of a book in English devoted to the study of soybean, written fully or mostly by Japanese. As many varieties of soybean products have been consumed for many years in East Asia, much knowledge has accumulated there documenting the health benefits of these products. Japan may be the most experienced country in the use of soybean for fermented foods. Advances in analytical methodologies have disclosed the full details of the chemical composition of soybean, and most soybean ingredients exert diverse physiological functions.
Numerous Japanese researchers have been working for many years in every aspect of soybeans, and the Fuji Foundation for Protein Research has been established to support these studies. As a consequence
of this research, various soybean books and reviews written in Japanese are available in Japan, and at present soybean is considered to be among the most healthy food items.
Five components of soybean are now incorporated in officially approved functional foods called Foods for Specified Health Uses (FOSHU) and they are contributing much to our health. Thus, Japan must be considered a leader in the state-of-the-art of the health aspects of soybean functions.
It seems appropriate to publish a volume in English dealing with soybean as a source of functional and healthy foods. In editing this book, Soy in Health and Disease Prevention , it was an easy job to compose its content, as there are many examples available.
This book includes several topics that are characteristically studied in our country. Those include FOSHU issues and physiological functions of soybean peptides. The most difficult issue encountered in the preparation of the book was to select contributors, as there are so many top researchers in this field. In other
words, I was able to freely select the best contributors. Consequently, I am convinced that the contributors represent the cream of the crop. In addition to the research by Japanese scholars, I asked the most distinguished researchers in their respective fields to contribute. Those are cholesterol-lowering effects of soybean protein and anticancer effects of the trypsin inhibitor. Fortunately, two well-known researchers
in these fields, Cesare Sirtori and Ann Kennedy, respectively, accepted my proposal and contributed these chapters. Also important is the chapter by David Kritchevsky that deals with the perspectives of soybean study.
This book encompasses all aspects of soybean from a viewpoint of health benefits. As all the contributors are experts in their respective fields, the latest information is available to understand the diverse health effects of soybean. It also is a good opportunity to learn how Japanese studies are proceeding in this field and how
consumers are satisfied with diverse healthy soybean products. The multifunctional properties of soybean will surely bring health to all mankind. Enjoy the world of soybean dispatched from Japan.
This book is recommended for researchers of functional foods and for those who are in functional food industries who have always shown a great deal of interest in new materials for this purpose. The book also is recommended to graduate students to cover fundamental knowledge on functional food study in Japan.