Is Edamame Good For You


You can buy edamame fresh or frozen. When choosing frozen versions, follow all package instructions for cooking, and make note of the product’s expiration date. Select frozen edamame that is free of any added sauces and salt. It’s also good to consider how you would like to use the edamame. If serving as a side or appetizer, buy them in the pods. But if you’d like to throw them into a soup or stir-fry, the shelled (removed from the pod) version will make that much easier.

Is Edamame Good or Bad for You?

is edamame good or bad for you

Edamame is a tender soybean that is harvested when it is still green and not mature. But is it good for you or not? Soy foods tend to be controversial, with potential benefits and drawbacks.

What are the benefits of edamame?

These tiny green beans are packed with nutrients, proteins, and antioxidants, making them an excellent source of energy and fiber. They are naturally gluten-free, low in calories, and high in essential fatty acids. If you do not have a condition that may worsen with edamame consumption, about 0.5-1 cup daily is good for your health.

The following are some of the most common edamame benefits:

  • Complete source of dietary protein: Edamame contains all 9 essential amino acids and is the only plant-based source of complete protein. Studies have suggested that replacing meat-based protein with edamame may reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Packed with vitamins: Edamame has a high concentration of thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin E, magnesium, copper, zinc, potassium and manganese. A cup of edamame fulfills the following nutritional needs:
    • 16% of vitamin C
    • 10% of calcium
    • 121% of folate
    • 52% of vitamin K (for healthy bones)
    • Alleviate premenstrual syndrome symptoms
    • Prevent migraines (helped by the magnesium and calcium content)
    • Lower the risk of osteoporosis
    • Lower the risk of certain cancers by regulating estrogen levels and lowering cholesterol

    Is Edamame Good For You

    What are the potential risks of edamame?

    • Digestive issues: When ingested in excess or when eaten raw or undercooked, edamame can cause bloating, gas, and cramping. People with irritable bowel syndrome are particularly prone to gastric upset and pain after consumption of edamame.
    • Allergic reaction: Those with soy allergy should stay away from edamame because consumption may result in rashes, hives, facial swelling, or even anaphylaxis in some cases.
    • May hinder absorption of vitamins and minerals: Edamame contains antinutrients or compounds that prevent the body from absorbing certain minerals. Edamame contains compounds that can impair thyroid function by preventing iodine absorption.

    Is Edamame Good For You


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    Medically Reviewed on 10/5/2021

    Magee E. The Secret of Edamame. WebMD.

    Nagdeve M. 8 Surprising Benefits of Edamame. Organic Information Services.

    SeedGuides. Edamame Beans Nutrition, Benefits, Side Effects and Information.

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    How Bad Is Soy for You?

    Soy products like tofu, tempeh, soy milk, miso, and edamame come from soybeans. Soy is not bad for you and may in fact help guard against breast cancer and inflammation and boost kidney function, heart health and bone health.

    Is Soy Milk Bad for You?

    Soy milk is not bad for you provided it is consumed in less than three servings per day and you do not have a soy allergy. Over the years, soy milk and other soy products have been conceived as bad for health. This is largely attributed to the animal studies that have reported soy in bad light.

    Edamame 101: Nutrition, Health Benefits, Side Effects, and More

    Kristeen Cherney, PhD

    While edamame is a staple in stir-fries as well as vegetarian meals, this plant can offer a variety of nutritional benefits for anyone. (1) In the United States, edamame seems to be most popular as a snack food. But people are starting to catch on to this soybean as a source of protein to add to a variety of other dishes, too.

    Read on to learn more about this soybean and how you can fit it into your own diet.

    Defining Edamame: A Legume That Is Just One Type of Soybean

    Edamame is one of the many types of soybean-based foods. Some of the other types include tempeh, miso, and tamari. (2)

    Types of soy, on the other hand, include tofu, soy flour, and soy milk. The name edamame literally means “beans on a branch.” While you eat the beans of this plant, edamame is technically considered a legume.

    While gaining popularity in western cultures, edamame is anything but new. In fact, it’s thought that edamame has been around for over 2,000 years, first being harvested in China. They were then introduced to Japan, and have since been staples in many Asian diets. Yet some food historians estimate that edamame could have existed well before then, according to ancient Chinese texts. (3)

    Historians estimate that edamame finally made its way to the United States at the turn of the 20th century. Still, the legume didn’t really gain ground until around the 1970s, when American consumers became more interested in natural and organic food items. (3) Since then, edamame has been primarily used as a snack food and appetizer, but it also makes a great addition to various types of main dishes.

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    What’s the Difference Between Edamame and Sugar Snap Peas?

    Like edamame, sugar snap peas are technically a part of the legume family. But these two legumes have some major differences in taste, appearance, and nutrition. Unlike edamame, snap peas are eaten whole, pods and all. (4) Edamame pods are broken open so you can eat the beans on the inside. Snap peas have a slightly sweet taste, while edamame are a bit more bitter.

    Part of the reason why edamame and snap peas are sometimes confused is due to their appearance. Both consist of green, oblong-shaped pods with beans inside of them. Edamame are much thicker, though, and there may be only a couple of beans inside each pod. Snap peas are chunky and have several peas inside each pod, which are often eaten altogether at once. (4)

    In considering the nutritional aspects of both edamame and snap peas, edamame has a big edge when it comes to protein, but it’s also more caloric than snap peas. (5,6)

    Carbs, Calories, and Protein in Edamame: A Look at the Legume’s Nutrition Facts

    Part of edamame’s popularity stems from the fact that it’s a complete protein. This means that it has all the essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein) needed for muscle maintenance, hormone balance, healthy blood, and more. (6) Eating edamame is a great way to vary your protein sources, which gives your body access to a broader range of nutrients, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) MyPlate guidelines.

    Aside from protein content, edamame is a valuable source of a variety of other nutrients, as outlined by the USDA, which estimates the following nutrients per a ½-cup, or 78-gram (g), serving of shelled edamame: (6)

    • Calories: 94
    • Protein: 9.2 g
    • Fat: 4 g
    • Carbohydrates: 6.9 g
    • 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: 4.6 mg
    • Vitamin C: 4.8 mg (5 percent DV)

    More Nutritious Foods Like Edamame

    What Are the Health Benefits of Edamame?

    Edamame is a good source of plant-based protein. In fact, it’s purportedly as good in quality as animal protein, and it doesn’t contain unhealthy saturated fat. It’s also much higher in vitamins, minerals, and fiber compared with animal protein. Eating 25 g per day of soy protein, such as tofu, may reduce your overall risk of heart disease. (7)

    Edamame, like other soybeans, contains natural levels of phytoestrogens, or plant-based estrogens called isoflavones. (7) These natural estrogens may potentially help alleviate symptoms of perimenopause, including hot flashes and night sweats. The naturally high protein content can also add to your body’s daily protein needs, as well as possibly reduce blood cholesterol from eating saturated fats found in meat-based sources of protein. (7) Furthermore, a moderate intake of isoflavones throughout adulthood may reduce the risk of hormone-related cancers in some women. (7)

    Soybeans like edamame are also good plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids called alpha-linoleic acids (ALAs). Getting enough omega-3s on a regular basis is also important in helping reduce your risk for heart disease. (8)

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    Is Edamame a Good Food for Weight Loss?

    Indeed, edamame’s protein and fiber may help you drop unwanted pounds. (7) A review published in the journal Nutrients noted the potential cardiovascular health benefits of soybeans. This includes lowering inflammation, which is a common issue in obesity. (9)

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    Another benefit is that plant-based proteins don’t have saturated fats like animal-based proteins do. (7) This can help decrease your risk of high cholesterol over time. (7,9)

    By adding more plant-based protein to your diet, though, you’ll also gain heart-healthy benefits compared with increasing saturated fat intake from eating more animal protein. Another study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, concluded that eating more plant-based protein reduces LDL (low-density lipoproteins), or “bad,” cholesterol. (10) Being overweight is one of many risk factors for high cholesterol — by losing weight, you may also decrease your overall cholesterol numbers. (11)

    The Best Way to Select and Store Edamame

    You can buy edamame fresh or frozen. When choosing frozen versions, follow all package instructions for cooking, and make note of the product’s expiration date. Select frozen edamame that is free of any added sauces and salt. It’s also good to consider how you would like to use the edamame. If serving as a side or appetizer, buy them in the pods. But if you’d like to throw them into a soup or stir-fry, the shelled (removed from the pod) version will make that much easier.

    When looking for fresh edamame, you may come across beans that are still in the pods or versions that are already pulled from the pods and ready to cook. Look for pods or beans that are bright green in color and firm to the touch. Fresh edamame can last in your refrigerator for four to five days or in your freezer for up to six months.

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    How to Eat Edamame

    Before cooking edamame, be sure to rinse the bean pods well to wash away any residues from the growing and harvesting process. To eat edamame, apply a small amount of pressure to the bean pod and gently squeeze out the beans. Add a bit of sea salt to bring out the flavors, if your diet allows.

    Edamame is also extremely versatile when it comes to cooking. You can boil, steam, or even microwave them in a small amount of water. The edamame cooks fast, so you don’t need to spend a lot of time cooking them — a 1-cup serving takes less than 1 minute to cook in the microwave with 1 teaspoon of water. Boiling or steaming takes an average of 4 to 7 minutes.

    You can also blanch and freeze fresh edamame to save for later. When stored this way, the edamame can last for up to six months. Prepackaged frozen edamame is also available at your grocery store for convenience.

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    Edamame and Skin Health

    While edamame offers a variety of health benefits to any diet, soybeans like these are considered essential foods in a vegetarian diet. Edamame is rich in iron and protein, which are two key nutrients that are found in meat. This doesn’t mean you need to eat meat to get these nutrients; on the contrary, you can still get enough protein and iron in your diet as long as you include items like edamame in some of your meals and snacks. (12)

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    Isoflavones, which are anti-inflammatory compounds, have also been studied for skin health but with mixed results. The idea is that isoflavones in edamame and other soy foods may boost collagen in the skin while also decreasing fine lines and wrinkles at the same time. Collagen is a protein that helps form our bones, skin, nails, hair, and connective tissue. (13)

    While some people try to take supplements to boost their collagen and smooth wrinkles, you should never take soy in supplemental form without talking to your doctor first. You’re better off eating foods like edamame to reap the benefits of soy from the inside out . (14)

    Are There Any Side Effects or Health Risks to Eating Edamame?

    Unless you have a soy allergy, edamame is likely safe to eat. Some people experience mild side effects, such as diarrhea, constipation, and stomach cramps. (7) This is most likely to occur if you’re not used to eating fiber-rich foods on a regular basis.

    While isoflavones in edamame are considered helpful toward reducing your overall cancer risk, some concerns had previously been raised over possible links of soy consumption to hormone-related cancers, such as certain types of breast cancer. One concern was that edamame tends to contain more isoflavones compared with other sources of soy, at about 18 mg per 100 g serving. (15)

    That said, the American Institute for Cancer Research announced in 2021 that it found no increased risk for breast cancer survivors who consume soy foods. It also said limited evidence showed the potential for greater overall survival and perhaps decreased recurrence among women a year or more after diagnosis who include moderate amounts of soy in their diets. (The Institute considered moderate amounts of soy to be “one to two standard servings daily of whole soy foods, such as tofu, soy milk, edamame, and soy nuts.”)

    Other possible health risks of too much soy need further research. One that has been discussed is thyroid gland disruption. While the effects on people without thyroid disease aren’t clear-cut, people with underactive thyroid, called hypothyroidism, may be most at risk from soy-induced disruptions. This is primarily attributed to disruptions in hormone replacement. (15) Still, you may be able to work around this issue — because thyroid hormones are taken in the morning, you can likely eat edamame several hours later in the afternoon as a snack, or as part of a meal for lunch or dinner.

    It’s now generally accepted that soy products and their related isoflavone content are safe and associated with better health, but it’s always best to talk to your doctor about soy consumption and how much might be safe based on your own health history. As a rule of thumb, soy is best enjoyed in moderation. Whole forms like edamame are also preferable to manufactured products, such as soy isolate (often found in packaged meat replacements). (7)

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Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for his studies of ageing, genetics and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics NAS of Ukraine. His scientific researches are printed by the most reputable international magazines. Some of his works are: Differences in the gut Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio across age groups in healthy Ukrainian population []; Mating status affects Drosophila lifespan, metabolism and antioxidant system [Science Direct]; Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Increases Lifespan, Stress Resistance, and Metabolism by Affecting Free Radical Processes in Drosophila [Frontiersin].
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