Eat your Edamame!
By: Leanne Ely
“Eh-dah-MAH-may.” That’s how you pronounce it, by the way, in case y’all were wondering! What is it? Well, it’s what those of us who don’t speak Japanese call soybeans. But not just any soybeans. Edamame refers to vegetable soybeans that are harvested while they’re young and the plant is still green.
I am not a soy advocate, mostly because it’s almost impossible to find soy in this country that isn’t genetically modified (hint: buy organic, it should be non-GMO). But, edamame is so nutritious that I do make an exception when it comes to recommending these guys-as long as you don’t have thyroid issues (goitergenic) and can find non-GMO, organic edamame.
The Japanese started cooking sweet green vegetable soybeans in the 13th century. When the pods are about 80% mature, they’re harvested from the plant.
Vegetable soybeans and grain soybeans are related, but the veggie variety is sweeter, smoother and is easier to digest. They’re also amazingly healthy for us!
Let’s look at the nutritional highlights of edamame!
Protein. Edamame is 36% protein. It’s a great, low-fat way to get that protein into you. That makes edamame perfect for vegans.
Phytochemicals, antioxidents and isoflavones . . . oh my! One of the reasons edamame has become so popular in the US is because it’s such a rich source of isoflavones and antioxidants. Antioxidants help to shoo those unwanted free radicals out of our bodies, reducing our risk of cancer, neurodegenerative disease and hardening of the arteries. Isoflavones are phytohormones that lower blood pressure and reduce our risk of heart disease and breast cancer.
Fiber. A half-cup serving of delicious edamame contains four grams of fiber! Great snack option to keep you feeling full between meals.
Anti-inflammatory. If you have arthritis, asthma or any other inflammatory type of condition in your body, add some edamame to your diet.
Minerals and vitamins. Edamame contains phosphorous, magnesium, iron, manganese, copper and calcium. It’s also high in folate and Vitamin K. Folate, of course, is an essential vitamin especially for expectant mothers because of how important it is in fetal development, but it can also also help increase production of red blood cells. Edamame is also full of Vitamin C and B vitamins. It’s also one of those rare natural sources of Vitamin E.
Try adding edamame to your dinner plate as a side dish. You really just need to put them in some boiling water for a few minutes and they’re done. Toss some in your salads and soups. Add them to your veggie platters! Kids love opening up the pods and munching on the sweet green beans.
Do you eat edamame?