Although edamame is a staple in stir-fries and vegetarian meals, this plant can provide a variety of nutritional benefits for everyone. Edamame seems to be more popular as a snack. But people are starting to discover that soy is a source of protein to add to a variety of other dishes. Read on to learn more about this soy and how you can incorporate it into your own diet.

Definition of Edamame: A legume that is just a type of soybean

Edamame is one of many types of soy foods. Other types include tempeh, miso, and tamari. Types of soy, meanwhile, include tofu, soy flour, and soy milk. The name edamame literally means “bean on a branch”. If you eat the beans from this plant, edamame is technically considered a legume.

Although growing in popularity in Western cultures, edamame is anything but new. In fact, edamame is believed to have been around for over 2,000 years and was first harvested in China. They were later introduced to Japan and have been staples of many Asian diets ever since. Yet some food historians believe that edamame could have existed long before, according to ancient Chinese texts.

What is the difference between edamame and peas?

Like edamame, is technically part of the legume family. But these two legumes have major differences in taste, appearance and nutrition. Unlike edamame, peas are eaten whole, pods and all. The edamame pods are split open so you can eat the beans inside. Peas have a slightly sweet taste, while edamame is a bit more bitter. The confusion between edamame and peas is partly due to their appearance. Both consist of oblong-shaped green pods containing beans. Edamame are much thicker, however, and there may only be a few beans in each pod. Peas are larger and contain several peas in each pod, which are often eaten all at once. When considering the nutritional aspects of edamame and peas, edamame has a definite advantage when it comes to protein, but it is also more caloric than peas.

The Carbs, Calories, and Protein of Edamame: A Look at the Nutritional Values ​​of the Legume

Part of the reason edamame is popular is that it is a complete protein. This means that it contains all the essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein) needed for muscle maintenance, hormonal balance, blood health, and more. Consuming edamame is a great way to vary your protein sources, giving your body access to a wider array of nutrients.

Besides its protein content, edamame is a valuable source of various other nutrients, which estimates the following nutrients to be present in a 78 gram (g) serving of shelled edamame:

Calories: 94
Protein: 9.2g
Lipids: 4g
Carbohydrates: 6.9g
Fiber: 4 g (14 percent DV)
Natural sugars: 1.7 g
Calcium: 49 milligrams (mg) (4 percent DV)
Iron: 1.7 mg (9 percent DV)
Sodium: 4.6mg
Vitamin C: 4.8 mg (5% DV)

What are the health benefits of edamame?

Edamame is a good source of plant-based protein. In fact, it’s supposed to be as good as animal protein, and it’s free of harmful saturated fats. It is also much richer in vitamins, minerals and fiber than animal protein. Consuming 25g per day of soy protein, such as tofu, may reduce your overall risk of heart disease.

Edamame, like other soybeans, contains natural levels of phytoestrogens, or plant-derived estrogens called isoflavones. These natural estrogens can potentially help ease symptoms of perimenopause, including hot flashes and night sweats. The naturally high protein content may also help meet your body’s daily protein needs and lower blood cholesterol levels due to the consumption of saturated fat found in meat-based protein sources. Additionally, moderate consumption of isoflavones throughout adulthood may reduce the risk of hormone-related cancers in some women.

Soybeans like edamame are also good plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids called alpha-linolenic acids (ALA). It is also important to regularly consume enough omega-3s to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Is edamame a good food for weight loss?

Indeed, the protein and fiber in edamame can help you shed unwanted pounds. A review published in the journal Nutrients noted the potential benefits of soy for cardiovascular health. This includes reducing inflammation, which is a common problem in obesity.

Another advantage is that plant-based proteins do not contain saturated fat like animal-based proteins. This can help reduce your risk of high cholesterol over time.

By adding more plant-based protein to your diet, you’ll also get heart-healthy benefits from the increased saturated fat intake that comes from eating more animal protein. Another study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, concluded that eating more plant-based protein lowers LDL (low-density lipoprotein), or “bad” cholesterol. Being overweight is one of many risk factors for high cholesterol, by losing weight you can also lower your overall cholesterol levels.

The best way to choose and store edamame

You can buy the edamame fresh or frozen. If you opt for the frozen version, follow all package instructions for cooking and note the expiration date of the product. Choose frozen edamame with no added sauces or salt. It’s also good to think about how you want to use the edamame. If you’re serving them as a side dish or appetizer, buy them in the pods. But if you want to incorporate them into a soup or stir-fry, the shelled version (without the pod) will make it easier for you.

When looking for fresh edamame, you may come across beans that are still in their pods or already shelled and ready-to-cook versions. Look for pods or beans that are bright green and firm to the touch. Fresh edamame will keep in the refrigerator for four to five days or in the freezer for up to six months.

How to eat edamame

Before cooking edamame, be sure to rinse the bean pods thoroughly to remove cultivation and harvest residues. To eat edamame, apply light pressure to the bean pod and gently squeeze the beans. Add a little sea salt to bring out the flavors, if your diet allows.

Edamame is also very versatile when it comes to cooking. You can boil them, steam them, or even microwave them in a small amount of water. Edamame cooks quickly, so you don’t need to spend a lot of time cooking them. A one-cup serving takes less than a minute to microwave with a teaspoon of water. Cooking with water or steam takes an average of 4 to 7 minutes.

You can also blanch and freeze fresh edamame to save later. Stored this way, edamame can last up to six months.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.