Edamame is an immature soybean that is still in its pod and you can consume as is. Due to its nutritional composition, it comes with several health benefits. In addition, it is easy to prepare and you can use it as a healthy snack. Want to know more about its properties?
As detailed in an article reported in Frontiers in Plant Science, this food is common in East Asia. However, its consumption is now a trend in the United States and Europe due to the qualities people attribute to it. In the following space we detail how people use it.
Nutritional Properties of Edamame
Although edamame has been around for more than 2000 years in Asia, its popularity is recent. In countries in North America, Europe and Africa, it’s known as a vegetable source of protein, isoflavones, vitamins and minerals.
According to information compiled by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), each 155-gram serving of edamame provides the following:
- Calories: 188.
- Fat: 8 grams.
- Sodium: 9.4 milligrams.
- Carbohydrates: 13.8 grams.
- Fiber: 8 grams.
- Sugars: 3.4 grams.
- Protein: 18.4 grams.
Farmers harvest edamame when the soybean pods are full, but the beans are still green and at a high moisture level. This is its main difference from soybeans, which people harvest when the pods and beans are already completely dry.
Note that edamame is a significant source of protein. One cup can provide about 18.4 grams. The most interesting thing? It is high quality. According to a publication in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, it has a well-balanced amino acid profile.
Because of the above, it is one of the best sources of vegetable protein. It is ideal for improving the quality of vegan and vegetarian diets. Estimates indicate that one third of its total calories come from this nutrient.
Edamame has carbohydrates inside, but almost all of them are of the complex type. It is possible to find 10 grams of these elements per 100 grams of product.
However, it provides at the same time a high amount of fiber; therefore, there is a slower absorption of the few sugars that it concentrates and generates a lower impact at pancreatic level.
From the point of view of lipids, it should be noted that most of the fatty acids in edamame are of polyunsaturated type. The truth is that it only contains 5 grams of fat per 100 of product, so it does not generate an excessive contribution. In addition, it does not have a high concentration of calories.
In the micronutrients section, the food’s iron, calcium, magnesium and vitamin C content should be highlighted. However, it should be noted that the large amount of fiber it provides may reduce the bioavailability of some of these elements.
Health Benefits of Edamame
Due to its particular nutritional composition – especially its abundant protein content- edamame is associated with several health benefits. In the following space we detail them.
1. Efficient intestinal transit
The contribution of edamame fiber is important to ensure optimal intestinal transit. This substance manages to increase the volume of the fecal bolus and helps to have more intense peristaltic contractions. Therefore, it is a good option to reduce the risk of constipation.
For now, there are no studies that concretely prove that edamame helps to relieve constipation. Still, as an abundant source of dietary fiber, it is a recommended food for patients with this problem.
2. Cardiovascular health
Edamame is one of the soy derivatives whose intake is linked to better cardiovascular health. In a meta-analysis shared by the Journal of the American Heart Association, it was determined that the intake of soy and its derivatives collaborates in the reduction of bad cholesterol (LDL) and total cholesterol.
Meanwhile, through Complementary Therapies in Medicine, it was reported that soy intake has a favorable effect in lowering blood pressure. Therefore, the intake of foods such as edamame is ideal for reducing the risks of cardiovascular diseases.
3. Increased bone density
Including soy protein in the diet may contribute to the prevention of bone diseases. In a study shared by the Journal of Medicinal Food, researchers determined that soy isoflavones help prevent the loss of bone density that can lead to osteoporosis, especially in stages such as menopause.
What effect edamame has on bone health has not yet been specifically analyzed. Despite this, its inclusion in the diet is beneficial for maintaining healthy and strong bones. However, consider other measures, such as optimal calcium intake and physical exercise.
Other possible health benefits of edamame
Although research on edamame is still scarce, some clinical evidence suggests that it may have other health benefits, such as the following:
- Decreased menopausal symptoms, especially hot flashes. Due to its isoflavone content.
- Antitumor potential. Medical studies show that the rate of breast and prostate cancer is lower in countries with a higher consumption of soy and its derivatives. The hypothesis is that isoflavones have chemo-preventive effects. However, we need more extensive and conclusive studies.
How to Prepare Edamame?
You can find edamame as a snack–like many other nuts. However, it is also possible to find it frozen, so it will require a previous cooking process. Therefore, we are going to show you two simple recipes to prepare it.
To make this dish it is best to buy natural or frozen edamame. It will be necessary to submit it to a cooking process with water and salt for 5 minutes, starting a boil.
Once they are ready, arrange them in a bowl and prepare a dressing with soy sauce, the juice of half a lemon and some sesame seeds. Pour on top and serve.
In this case the edamame gets sweet paprika, to vary its color and the final result. Start by boiling the product in water for 4 or 5 minutes, until it softens slightly. All this in salted water.
Once they are ready, you cool them in a container with water, where you’ll mix it with sweet paprika and salt. In this way, you can eat it as a snack or starter, as it is still crunchy.
Like other varieties of legumes, edamame can cause flatulence and abdominal bloating after consumption. To avoid this, cook it longer. It is also advisable to reduce the portion eaten.
Introduce edamame into your regular diet
Edamame is a healthy food you can include in a balanced diet. It has essential nutrients for the proper functioning of the body, such as protein, dietary fiber and fatty acids.
In addition, it is increasingly common to find it in supermarkets ready to eat. Even so, its homemade preparation is very simple. It only requires a short cooking process and a seasoning that improves the final result in terms of flavor. Do you dare to try it?