Posted by at 2:53 pm  Nutrition & Health  Add comments
May 142013

edamameEdamame /ˌ/  [ed-uh-mah-mey]

I just love doing research on healthy and nutritious foods, and I am excited about the nutrition benefits of Edamame.  Until recently it hasn’t received much attention, but this little green soybean has been part of the Asian diet for thousands of years, used as a major source of protein.  In fact edamame is one of the few plant based foods that is considered a complete protein.

The word Edamame means “Beans on Branches,” and it grows in clusters on bushy branches. To retain the freshness and its natural flavor, it is parboiled and quick-frozen. Edamame is consumed as a snack, used in vegetable dishes, soups, or processed into sweets.  They have a mild, sweet, and only slightly “beany” flavor.

What is the Nutrition in Edamame?

A one cup serving of Edamame has 189 claories, 8 grams of fat, 16 grams carbohydrate, 17 grams of protein, and a whopping 8 grams of fiber.  It is one of the best sources of Vitamin K—good for your bones—and a good source of Vitamin C and folate.  And if that’s not enough it has good values of many minerals including calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus.

But wait!  Edamame is also a good source of Omega-3, and the hard to get Omega-6 fatty acids.  These essential fatty acids are known to reduce heart disease and help treat numerous conditions.  See our article on Omega’s made easy at http://tinyurl.com/crkptex

The balance of fatty acids in 100 grams of edamame is 361 mg of omega-3 fatty acids to 1794 mg of omega-6 fatty acids.

What are the Health Benefits of Edamame?

There’s been recent debate over the health benefits of soy, but any way you look at it the edamame is a star legume. *

Studies have shown that the edamame soybean contains isoflavones, a type of phytoestrogen, which work with your body’s proteins to protect individuals from heart disease and osteoporosis.

Research indicates that it may have an anti-inflammatory effect, promote healthy cholesterol levels, and help reduce insulin resistance.

According to WebMD:  “It remains prudent to recommend soy in a heart-healthy diet because of [its] nutritional value and as a healthy substitute for protein sources that are higher in saturated fat and cholesterol.”

Interesting ways to incorporate healthy Edamame in your diet:

  • Roast them–start with a bag of shelled frozen edamame, toss the beans with some olive oil and spices, and throw them in a hot oven on a sheet pan. Over the next half hour, the insides go from creamy to wonderfully chewy while the outside puffs and crisps.
  • Substitute mashed soybeans for mashed potatoes: Puree with low sodium vegetable stock (ratio 3:1) and a little salt and pepper.
  • Use in place of garbanzo beans in hummus recipes.
  • Include them in tossed green or pasta salads as a protein; they’ll brighten up the dish and make it pop.

In the United States edamame is often sold in bags in the frozen food section of grocery stores, and I’ve seen it priced as low as $1.00 a bag.  The beans are also available canned, and if you’re lucky to live near a health food store, you’ll often find them in small trays in the produce section ready to snack on.  If you’re really lucky and live close to a Trader Joe’s, they have dark chocolate covered Edamame.  Doesn’t that sound different?

*Prioritize buying organic soybeans whenever you can.  Soybeans are one of the crops most likely to be genetically modified.

Recipe for Edamame Hummus Dip

Enjoy this week’s recipe for Edamame Hummus:  Its creamy flavor has all the delicious flavors you enjoy in hummus—cumin, garlic and olive oil, with a citrus punch.

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