Young soy beans that are harvested before they have ripened or hardened are known as edamame. You can buy them shelled or in the pod, fresh or frozen.
They are naturally gluten-free and low in calories, they contain no cholesterol, and they are an excellent source of protein, iron, and calcium. They can be an important source of protein for those who follow a plant-based diet.
Here are some key points about edamame. More detail is in the main article.
- Edamame is a young soy bean that is harvested early.
- It contains complete protein, calcium, vitamin C, and other key nutrients.
- It can be eaten alone, as a tasty snack, or in soups and other dishes.
- People who are allergic to soy products may not be able to eat edamame.
Edamame beans are a young soy bean.
A 155-gram (g) cup of frozen, prepared edamame beans contains:
- 188 calories
- 18.46 g of protein
- 8.06 g of fat
- 8.1 g of dietary fiber
- 13.81 g of carbohydrate, including 3.38 g of sugars
- 98 milligrams (mg) of calcium
- 3.52 mg of iron
- 99 mg of magnesium
- 262 mg of phosphorus
- 676 mg of potassium
- 9.5 mg of vitamin C
- 482 mg of folate
- 41.4 mcg DFE of vitamin K
One cup of edamame provides 10 percent of an adult's calcium needs, 16 percent of vitamin C, 20 percent of iron, 52 percent of vitamin K and 121 percent of the daily recommended amount of folate.
Protein: Edamame is a complete source of dietary protein. Like meat and dairy, it provides all of the essential amino acids needed in the diet that humans cannot make themselves.
Healthy fat: The beans are high in healthy polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid.
Other nutrients include vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B-6, pantothenic acid, choline, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese.
Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions.
There is evidence that consuming more plant foods like edamame decreases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and overall mortality. It can also promote a healthy complexion and hair, and it can boost energy.
The calcium and magnesium in soy may help to lessen symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), regulate blood sugar, and prevent migraine headaches.
Soy-food consumption has been associated with a lower risk of several specific age and lifestyle-related conditions, and with improvements in overall health.
1) Age-related brain diseases
Findings from geographic epidemiological studies show that among populations who consume greater amounts of soy, there is statistically less likelihood of experiencing age-related mental disorders.
2) Cardiovascular disease
3) Breast and prostate cancer
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 hormones serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. These hormones regulate mood, sleep, and appetite.
People with type 2 diabetes often experience kidney disease, which causes the body to excrete an excessive amount of protein in the urine.
In 2004, researchers reported that study participants who consumed isolated soy protein (ISP) as their only form of protein during an 8-week period excreted less protein than those who consumed only animal protein. However, 17 percent of participants reported that the ISP lead to digestive symptoms.
For women of child-bearing age, consuming more iron and protein from plant sources such as edamame, spinach, beans, pumpkin, tomatoes, and beets appear to promote fertility, according to Harvard Medical School's Harvard Health Publications.
The recommended intake of folate is 400 mcg DFE for men and women aged 19 years and above, 600 mcg DFE during pregnancy, and 500 mcg DFE while breastfeeding.
7) Energy levels
A lack of iron in the diet can affect how efficiently the body uses energy. Edamame is a good non-heme source of iron, along with lentils, spinach, and dried fruit.
Edamame contains choline, a nutrient that is similar to the B vitamins. It contributes to healthful sleep, muscle movement, learning, and memory.
Edamame is available in grocery stores, fresh in the pod, shelled, or frozen. When buying frozen edamame, make sure there are no additives in the ingredients, only edamame.
Some people may want to be aware that edamame either travels a long way, from Asia, or has a good chance of being genetically modified. In the United States, 85 percent of soy products grown are genetically modified organisms (GMO).
Edamame has a mild, buttery flavor that pairs well with many dishes.
You can eat it:
- added to soups, stews, salads, rice dishes, or casseroles
- straight from the pod, boiled for 5 to 10 minutes and sprinkled with sea salt
- as an alternative to peas
Recipes from a dietitian
The following delicious and healthy recipes were prepared by a registered dietitian:
Some past studies have linked excessive soy consumption with a higher risk of a particular kind of breast cancer, but human trials have not produced enough evidence to support this, and the results have been questioned.
More recent studies have shown that moderate amounts of soy foods appear to decrease the likelihood of breast cancer recurring.
Worldwide, a growing number of people are experiencing allergies and food intolerance. Soy is a common allergen in infants and children and often triggers symptoms in those with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), an allergic inflammatory disease of the esophagus.
It is the total diet or overall eating pattern that is most important for disease prevention and achieving good health. It is better to aim for a diet with a variety of healthful ingredients than to rely on individual foods as the key to good health.