Edamame is another name for green soybeans. They are traditionally Asian vegetables, with their roots dating back to 200 BC. They have a sweet, nutty flavor and are a complete protein source with all the essential amino acids.
Edamame can be a highly nutritious and inexpensive addition to local diets (1).It is an excellent source of protein, iron, and calcium and isgluten-free. These soybeans (and soy in general) have been embroiled incontroversies. There is some concern that soy may interfere with thyroid function (2).
In this post, we will discuss the health benefits of edamame and its possible adverse effects.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Edamame?
1. May Aid Weight Loss
Edamame is high in protein and may lead to weight loss. Studies show that intake of soy protein can have beneficial effects on obesity (3). It can promote satiety and help reduce excess body fat.
Another study shows how a high protein diet, in general, induces sustained reductions in appetite, caloric intake, and body weight (4).
2. May Reduce The Risk Of Heart Disease
Eating edamame has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease (5). Soybeans were found to have the ability to lower bad cholesterol levels, thereby preventing heart disease (6). They also contain soluble fiber that can help in this regard.
3. Can Help Relieve Symptoms Of Menopause
Soy and its products are known to reduce symptoms of menopause due to the presence of isoflavones. The isoflavones in soy foods have phytoestrogenic effects and could be considered safe alternatives to conventional hormone therapy (7).
In another study, isoflavones were found to improve menopausal symptoms only in women with an ability to produce equol (an estrogen in soy)(8).
4. May Help Lower Cholesterol Levels
Studies show that soy protein has a better effect on lowering cholesterol levels than animal protein. Soy protein may help lower levels of total and bad cholesterol. It also lowers triglycerides and possibly increases the concentrations of good cholesterol.
Intake of 47 grams of soy protein every day can have a considerable effect on cholesterol reduction (9).
5. May Prevent Hormone-Related Cancers
Consumption of edamame (soy) has shown to reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancers. The presence of isoflavones helps lower the risk. One study shows that early intake of soy may have protective effects against breast cancer (10). Genistein, a type of isoflavone, may help inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
Consumption of soy was also found to reduce the risk of prostate cancer (11).
6. May Help Relieve Constipation
Edamame is rich in fiber (12). This nutrient can help improve stool frequency and treat constipation. The conclusion was arrived at after searching through 1322 potentially relevant articles (13).
Edamame also serves as a tasty fiber source for kids (14).
7. May Promote Fertility
Soy, in general, was found to exert beneficial effects on women undergoing treatment for infertility (15).
Other studies also suggest that taking soy products can promote live birth in women (16).
8. May Aid Diabetes Treatment
Soy (edamame)has a low glycemic index. It also is low in carbohydratesand doesn’t lead to blood sugar spikes. Studies suggest that most soy foods have a low glycemic index and can be an appropriate way to improve blood glucose and insulin levels (17).
These are the different ways edamame can benefit you. In the following section, we will look at the different nutrients present in these beans.
What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Edamame?
Edamame is very rich in protein and other micronutrients, including vitamin K, folate, manganese, and phosphorus (12).
The following table contains nutrients in every cup of edamame (155 grams).
|Nutrient||Unit||Values per cup [55 grams]|
|Carbohydrate||g||13.81 [including 3.38g of sugar]|
The nutritional profile shows how powerful edamame can be. We are sure you have decided to start consuming edamame on a regular basis. But how do you eat it?
How To Eat Edamame?
Edamame can be prepared in ways similar to other beans. But unlike most beans, edamame is more often used in salads or as a snack (instead of making a curry out of it).
You can consume it as a snack by boiling it for approximately 3-5 minutes and sprinkling salt over it. You can use it in dips, soups, and even wraps. You can cook edamame in different ways, including boiling, steaming, microwaving, and pan-frying.
Simple, isn’t it? You can start having edamame today. But before you do that, you may want to know the possible adverse effects it may cause.
What Are The Potential Side Effects Of Edamame?
There is one major concern with edamame –it contains phytoestrogens (like isoflavones). These compounds, in high concentrations, may act like estrogen in the body and cause certain adverse effects. However, most of these studies have been performed on animals. More research is warranted on humans before concluding this fact (18).
Edamame is low in calories and makes for a good snack or meal option. But its possible adverse effects are yet to be studied. A part of the research included in this article focuses on soy in general and not edamame in particular (as research pertaining to edamame is still scarce).
However, edamame can offer potential benefits. Make sure to check with your doctor on the side effects.
Do you have edamame regularly? How do you like it? Do let us know by leaving a comment in the box below.
Expert’s Answers for Readers Questions
How is edamame different from soybean?
The basic difference between edamame and soybean is the maturity level at the time of harvesting. During the time of harvesting, while edamame pods are softer and greener, soybeans aremature and light cream.
Is edamame keto?
Edamame is rich in protein and fiber and low in carbohydrates. It can be a part of a keto diet.
What are the substitutes for edamame?
You can substitute edamame with green peas, fresh lima beans, or fresh fava beans. These are the other vegetarian protein sources that could be as good as edamame (19)
What happens if you eat the edamame pod?
Edamame pod itself is not edible. They are non-toxic, but the shells are hard to chew and digest.
- EDAMAME: THE VEGETABLE SOYBEAN, Semantic Scholar.
- Effects of soy protein and soybean isoflavones on thyroid function in healthy adults and hypothyroid patients: a review of the relevant literature, Thyroid, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Role of Dietary Soy Protein in Obesity, International Journal of Medical Sciences, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
- Protein sources that are best for your heart, Harvard Medical School.
- Beyond the Cholesterol-Lowering Effect of Soy Protein: A Review of the Effects of Dietary Soy and Its Constituents on Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease, Nutrients, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Soy foods, isoflavones, and the health of postmenopausal women,The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Effect of intestinal production of equol on menopausal symptoms in women treated with soy isoflavones, International Journal of Gynaecology & Obstetrics, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Meta-analysis of the effects of soy protein intake on serum lipids, The New England Journal of Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Early intake appears to be the key to the proposed protective effects of soy intake against breast cancer, Nutrition and Cancer, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Soy consumption and prostate cancer risk in men: a revisit of a meta-analysis, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Edamame, frozen, prepared, United States Department of Agriculture, National Nutrient Database.
- Effect of dietary fiber on constipation: A meta analysis, World Journal of Gastroenterology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Constipation in Children, Rush University.
- Diet and fertility: a review, American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Soy food intake and treatment outcomes of women undergoing assisted reproductive technology, Fertility and Sterility, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Soy foods have low glycemic and insulin response indices in normal weight subjects, Nutrition Journal, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Soy and Health Update: Evaluation of the Clinical and Epidemiologic Literature, Nutrients, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Soy, Soy Foods and Their Role in Vegetarian Diets, Nutrients, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
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