The consumption of soy products, including edamame, has become a controversial subject in recent years.
While some claim that soy can block thyroid function and fuel cancer growth, more and more emerging research shows that this delicious legume can actually be a healthy addition to a well-rounded diet.
Edamame is a type of immature soybean commonly found in many types of Asian cuisine.
The round, bright green beans are often still encased in their pods and are popped out prior to consumption.
Although soybeans have been cultivated in China for over 7,000 years, they were only introduced to the U.S. within the last few centuries.
In fact, the use of the term “edamame” was first recorded in 1951, and it didn’t appear in the dictionary until 2003.
Additionally, while it’s a common source of confusion, the official edamame pronunciation is “eh-duh-maa-mei,” and the term is actually derived from the Chinese words for “steam” and “pea.”
Today, edamame is a popular product found in the frozen section of nearly every grocery store.
It’s also featured in a variety of recipes and is favored for its unique taste, texture and nutrition profile.
In addition to the nutrients listed above, the edamame nutrition facts also boast a small amount of calcium, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6 and niacin.
According to a review published in New England Journal of Medicine, swapping animal protein for soy protein was effective at improving lipid levels in the blood to help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Studies show that soy products, such as edamame, may help protect against certain types of cancer.
One of the top edamame benefits is its impressive plant-based protein content. In fact, a single serving contains a whopping 17 grams of protein, putting it right on par with other protein foods like poultry, fish and eggs.
Interestingly enough, one study out of Sweden found that taking 60 milligrams of isoflavones daily for 12 weeks reduced symptoms of menopause like hot flashes and night sweats by 57 percent and 43 percent, respectively.
Fiber moves through the gastrointestinal tract slowly, promoting satiety to curb cravings and appetite.
It’s also rich in fiber, which slows the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream to support better glycemic control.
Edamame is available in fresh and frozen varieties, both of which are nutritious and easy to prepare.
It can also be purchased still in the pods or shelled, based on your personal taste and preferences.
A variety of products like edamame pasta, edamame spaghetti and edamame noodles have started to pop up on supermarket shelves lately as well.
However, because these products are highly processed, it’s unclear whether these products contain the same health benefits, so it’s best to stick to fresh varieties whenever possible.
There are plenty of options for how to eat and enjoy this tasty legume, whether it’s as an appetizer, snack or side dish.
Here are a few simple yet delicious recipe ideas to help get you started:
There are several different options for how to cook edamame, which makes it easy to find something to satisfy nearly any palate.
You can steam, sear, boil, roast or microwave edamame and consume it either hot or cold, depending on your preferences.
It’s often cooked and served still in the pod, so be sure to remove the beans inside prior to consumption.
Simply pop the beans out with your fingers or bite into the pod to remove them.
Then, top it off with a bit of salt for a simple snack or enjoy in your favorite recipes, from salads to sushi bowls.
Despite the many benefits of edamame nutrition, there are several side effects that you may want to consider as well.
Keep in mind that soybeans also contain a good amount of antinutrients, which are compounds that block the absorption of certain minerals in the body.
However, preparation methods such as soaking, sprouting, fermenting and cooking can significantly reduce the amount of antinutrients present in the final product.
Finally, although it’s relatively low in carbs and high in fiber, those on a keto or low-carb diet should also be mindful of their intake to keep carb consumption in moderation.
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