“Edamame” might sound unfamiliar and exotic with a lot of people but it is actually made from a very common vegetable – soybean! This tasty and healthy dish is often used as snacks in East Asian (Japan, China, Korea, etc.) cuisines.
Its name originated from Japan and it simply means “the beans with stem”, which describes exactly its appearance. Shelled edamame beans are also available in some places.
To prepare the dish, the pods are picked while the beans inside are still green and soft. Then they are boiled or steamed with salted water. It is optional to sprinkle some extra salt to taste before serving. These harvesting and cooking methods are believed to help create edamame special taste and nutritional components.
So let’s take a look at edamame most significant health benefits to understand why this kind of food is becoming more and more famous worldwide.
1. Good Source of Protein
Proteins are defined as the organic substances made up of amino acids and they are found in all kinds of living organism. There are 9 essential amino acids which our body cannot produce and thus we must consume in our diet.
Each cup (155g) of edamame contains 17g of protein which is already a third of the daily requirement for protein. Additionally, you can find all 9 essential amino acids in edamame, just like other complete sources of protein (egg, pork, beef, chicken, etc.).
This makes edamame an excellent dish for vegetarians and people who need to reduce their animal protein intake. And since protein has different functions throughout our whole body, adequate consumption of protein is crucial.
2. Vitamins, Minerals and Fiber
Edamame provides a wide range of vitamins and minerals: B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B9), vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Among all of these beneficial substances, folate, vitamin K, phosphorus and manganese are the most abundant.
These compounds hold the important role in keeping our body healthy and active. But keep in mind that if you want to make use of these vitamins and minerals, make sure to pay attention to the preparing process and do not overcook the soybeans.
Other than that, edamame contains a significant amount of dietary fiber, which acts as an “assistant” for your digestive system. A number of studies have also suggested fiber’s potential role in preventing weight gain and helping people to cope with high cholesterol level and diabetes.
3. Rich in Isoflavones
Soybean and soy products are among the richest sources of isoflavones. Isoflavones is a type of phytoestrogens, which is a plant-based compound that possesses a structure similarly to the female sex hormone – estrogen.
A number of researches on isoflavones’ effects on human health have been conducted in the recent years. Although certain conclusions have not been given, isoflavones’ health benefits are still worth considering. They include:
• Preventing breast cancer and prostate cancer
Along with lectin and lunasin, isoflavones has shown promising ability in reducing the risk for these two types of dangerous cancer. Otherwise, it can reduce risk of neuropathy condition.
• Relief uncomfortable symptoms related to menopause
Menopause is referred as a special time when menstruation started to come to a full stop and the women cannot get pregnant after that. Menopause may cause many troublesome symptoms such as vaginal dryness, mood swings, night sweat, hair loss, skin dryness. They are the result of natural changes in the hormone level, especially estrogen.
Soybeans and soy product, such as edamame can reduce menopausal symptoms in most women. As a consequence, sufficient consumption of those products or isoflavones supplements is highly recommended for middle-aged women.
• Reduce risk of osteoporosis
Women tend to have a higher risk when it comes to osteoporosis due to the decline in estrogen level during menopause. In order to protect your bones, daily intake of more than 75mg of soy isoflavones should be made.
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