Edamame beans are young, immature soybeans (also known as ‘Glycine max’) that are harvested prior to the bean’s natural hardening process. These beans have a green colour differing from the soybean’s light brown. The bean is believed to have been domesticated from its wild relative, ‘Glycine soja’, over a period of approximately 1,000 to 2,000 years. It is unclear whether wild soybeans originated in China, Russia, the Korean peninsula, Japan or an area of Eastern Asia. However, soybeans were first domesticated in China around 1100 BC. Interestingly, these beans have had their uses not just nutritionally, but also practically, with soybean plastic used by Henry Ford for various car parts in the production of automobiles. After thousands of years of delivering numerous benefits to humans, let’s discover how they can be of good use to you today in our Top 5 Health Benefits of Edamame Beans!
1. High quality protein
Vegans and vegetarians following a plant-based diet will benefit from the high amounts of good quality protein found within edamame beans. Edamame consist of whole protein delivering all essential amino acids with 155g (one cup) containing 18.5g of protein.
2. Nutritionally dense
Edamame is host to vitamins A, C, E, K1, B complex vitamins such as thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin, pantothenic acid, folate, iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium and copper, making it powerfully antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immune boosting. The remainder of its nutrient profile includes protein, fibre and beneficial polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
3. Bone health
Phytoestrogens called isoflavones found in edamame are anti-inflammatory. These compounds are able to combat osteoporosis by improving bone formation, increasing bone mineral density and hindering bone friction. Isoflavones found in edamame have anti-cancer properties thanks to their ability to mimic human estrogen. These work to inhibit the growth of prostate and breast cancer cells, in addition, it has been suggested that they also have the ability to alleviate many menopausal symptoms.
4. Lowers cholesterol
The consumption of soy protein has been seen to reduce levels of harmful LDL cholesterol. This therefore means a decreased risk of atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease and hypertension.
5. Neuroprotective properties
Folate found in edamame may help to alleviate mental issues such as depression through inhibiting the build up of excess homocysteine in the body, which can interfere with the delivery of vital nutrients for the brain. Excess homocysteine affects the production of the positive mood neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, melatonin and norepinephrine, which are necessary for the proper regulation of many vital processes, such as sleep, mood, appetite, motivation and energy levels. Furthermore, populations that consume high amounts of this bean are noted to have a lower incidence of age-related cognitive decline.
These benign beans can be added to salads or snacked on their own once cooked. They can be boiled, steamed or pan-fried. The pods are inedible and the beans should therefore be popped out before being eaten. Edamame beans can be found fresh or frozen in supermarkets, either shelled or with their pods. Shelled edamame can also be used in stews, soups, casseroles and rice or noodle dishes. Love beans? Tell us about it below or @ KeepFitKingdom !