Edamame are young soybeans harvested before they ripen or harden. Available shelled, in the pod, fresh, or frozen, they are a popular, plant-based food that may have various health benefits.
Edamame beans are naturally gluten-free and low in calories. They contain no cholesterol and provide protein, iron, and calcium.
Read on to find out more about the health benefits of edamame and how to add it to a diet.
The table below shows the nutrients one cup of shelled edamame provides and how much of these nutrients an adult needs per day for comparison.
Some requirements vary according to a person’s age and sex.
|Nutrient||Amount in a ||Recommended |
|energy (calories)||224||2,000–3,000, depending on age, sex, and activity level|
|carbohydrate (g)||13.8 of which 3.38 is sugar||130|
|selenium (mcg)||1.28||no data|
|vitamin C (mg)||8.48||75–90|
|vitamin A, RAE (mcg)||40||400–900|
|beta carotene (mcg)||278||No data|
|vitamin K (mcg)||45.1||60–120|
|lutein + zeaxanthin (mcg)||2,510||No data|
Edamame also contains small amounts of vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B6.
One cup of hulled edamame beans provides an adult with the following:
- almost 10% of their daily calcium
- more than 10% of their daily vitamin C
- around 20% of their daily iron
- at least 34% of their daily vitamin K
- at least 120% of their daily folate
- at least 33% of their daily protein
- Complete protein: As with meat and dairy products, it provides all the essential amino acids that people need and that the body cannot produce itself.
- Polyunsaturated fats: It provides omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid.
- Isoflavones: This type of antioxidant may help lower the risk of
People who eat only plant-based foods may benefit from adding supplements to their diet. Find out more.
People can buy edamame fresh in the pod, shelled, or frozen. When buying frozen edamame, they should make sure there are no additives in the ingredients, only edamame.
Most edamame in the U.S. comes from Asia, but U.S. producers are now developing genetically modified versions suitable to local growing conditions, to meet the increasing demands of the U.S. market.
Edamame has a mild, buttery flavor that pairs well with many dishes.
Tips for preparing and serving edamame include:
- adding it to soups, stews, salads, rice dishes, or casseroles
- boiling for 5–10 minutes, allowing to cool, and eating from the pod, sprinkled with sea salt
- serving as a side in place of peas
Here are two recipes to try:
A cup of boiled edamame containing 160 g of beans will provide
People should check the label to see how much a specific edamame product contains.
Researchers have linked the consumption of soy foods with a lower risk of various conditions and improvements in overall health.
1. Age-related brain diseases
Studies have suggested that consuming soy isoflavones may lower the risk of cognitive decline.
Past investigations have found that treatment with soy isoflavones might help improve aspects of thinking and cognition, such as nonverbal memory and verbal fluency.
However, a 2015 review concluded that soy isoflavones might help improve cognitive function after menopause. The authors suggested following up with the participants in the trials to look at rates of Alzheimer’s later in life.
2. Cardiovascular disease
Some scientists have found evidence that soy protein has properties that can lower the low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol levels, in a person’s blood.
Authors of a
People may also find that consuming soy products as an alternative to full-fat dairy products helps improve their cholesterol levels.
Most plant-based fats are unsaturated, whereas animal fats tend to be saturated. Consuming saturated fats can contribute to heart disease and other cardiovascular problems.
3. Breast and prostate cancer
There has been controversy about the effect soy may have on the risk of breast cancer.
Some of the isoflavones in soy, known as phytoestrogens, appear to act similarly to estrogen. High estrogen levels may increase the risk of specific breast cancers.
According to the
Edamame contains folate, which
High levels of homocysteine can prevent blood and other nutrients from reaching the brain, and they can interfere with the production of the “feel-good” hormone serotonin. This hormone helps mood, sleep, and appetite.
People with type 2 diabetes may benefit from consuming unsweetened soy products, such as edamame, according to an older 2012
These scientists looked at data for 43,176 people over 5.7 years. They found lower rates of type 2 diabetes among those who consumed unsweetened soy products, while those eating the sweetened versions had a higher risk of developing the disease.
Read more here about which foods are good for people with diabetes.
Some people have suggested that consuming more iron and protein from plant sources such as edamame, spinach, beans, pumpkin, tomatoes, and beets may promote fertility or lower the risk of ovulatory disorders.
Edamame is a good source of iron, folate, and plant-based protein.
Learn more about fertility supplements here.
7. Energy levels
Lack of iron in the diet can affect how the body uses energy and lead to iron deficiency anemia.
Edamame is an excellent nonheme source of iron, along with lentils, spinach, and dried fruit.
Find out more about iron deficiency anemia.
In 2017, a rodent
Edamame contains choline, a nutrient similar to the B vitamins. It
These findings do not confirm that eating choline from edamame will have these benefits, but it might offer some protection. Conversely, a deficiency of choline may
A cup of hulled edamame beans would provide around
9. Menopause-related problems
The estrogen-like action of isoflavones in soy may help relieve the impact of two aspects of menopause. A 2016
In a 2017
Most studies have looked at the impact of isoflavones in isolation rather than in food containing soy. It is not clear whether a regular dietary intake has a similar impact.
Learn more about the health risks and benefits of soy.
Some past studies have linked a high soy intake with a greater risk of breast cancer. However, a
Soy is a common allergen in infants and children and can trigger symptoms in those with
Anyone who experiences symptoms of an allergic reaction should stop eating edamame. If swelling, hives, and breathing difficulties occur, the individual will need urgent medical attention. These symptoms may be a sign of anaphylaxis, a potentially life threatening condition.
Here, find out how to recognize anaphylaxis and what to do if it happens.
Is edamame the same as soybeans?
Edamame are young soybeans, harvested before they ripen or harden. People often eat them steamed or boiled in their green shell.
Is edamame keto-friendly?
Edamame is a relatively low-carb food. A 160-g cup of edamame provides
A person on a keto diet may wish to consider how much carbohydrate their serving of edamame contains and how it fits in with their diet. If a dietitian has recommended the diet, a person may want to ask their advice.
Adding spices or coatings can also affect the nutritional content of edamame.
What can you eat on a keto diet? See a sample meal plan here.
Edamame vs. mukimame
Mukimame is another name for edamame. They are the same thing.
Is edamame a legume?
Edamame is a bean and therefore a legume. However, legumes vary in their nutritional profile. Compared with pulses, such as lentils, edamame provides a
Lima beans vs. edamame
Lima beans, sometimes called butter beans in the U.S., are native to South America. Edamame comes from Asia and features in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean cuisine. Lima beans are often light or spotted in color, while edamame are bright green.
They contain similar nutrients but in different amounts. For example:
|protein||6.05 g||11.5 g|
|fat||0.34 g||7.57 g|
|carbohydrates||19.3 g||8.63 g|
|fiber||5.3 g||5 g|
|energy||103 kcal||140 kcal|
Learn about the health benefits of various types of beans.
Is edamame gluten-free?
Edamame is naturally gluten-free, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation, but people should check the other ingredients used during preparation or processing.
Is edamame low FODMAP?
People with inflammatory bowel disease may benefit from a low FODMAP diet, which limits the intake of fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols.
Some soy products, such as tofu, are suitable for people following this type of diet, but edamame may not be appropriate, according to a 2017
Can you eat edamame while pregnant?
In the past, concerns have arisen about whether foods containing soy isoflavones pose a risk during pregnancy. However, these concerns mainly arose from research in animals, and human studies have not confirmed that consuming soy products can affect fetal health and development.
In fact, consuming edamame during pregnancy can
Anyone who has concerns about consuming edamame during their pregnancy should check with a doctor, especially if they are considering increasing their intake while using supplements.
As with other foods, it is essential to follow safety guidelines and cook edamame sufficiently before eating.
Edamame, similar to other soy products, contains many essential nutrients. It can be a healthy addition to a person’s diet and an alternative to sweetened and processed snacks.