Friday, August 5, 2011

Edamame 411

Edamame is a Japanese soybean, commonly steamed and served as an appetizer. Recently, edamame has been popularized as a popcorn substitute and is offered in bulk, frozen, at Costco, Whole Foods, and other stores. Although edamame offers an array of health benefits, it should be eaten in moderation. If consumed in bulk, certain toxins and antinutrients can accumulate in our bodies and cause health problems.

First, always cook edamame. Raw and undercooked edamame has a higher concentration of toxins and phytoestrogens than does cooked edamame. Boiling or steaming edamame helps to destroy some of the toxins that are natural found inside the soybean. Secondly, try and avoid eating edamame in bulk. If you eat edamame in moderation you can get all of its health benefits without allowing its toxins to accumulate in your body.

On the plus side, edamame is loaded with antioxidants and isoflavones, which strengthen your immune system and protect your body from damaging free radicals. It has a high nutritional value and is an excellent source of protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. Edamame is loaded with B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K, and vitamin E. Each bean contains an array of minerals, including iron, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, calcium, and manganese. Additionally, edamame is a great source of folate, which is especially important for pregnant women to ingest because it offers certain properties that help to prevent birth defects.

Edamame is the most protein rich soybean. We use protein to make enzymes and hormones, which are necessary to complete various bodily processes. Every edamame bean is about 35 percent protein and contains all nine essential amino acids, making edamame a complete protein. It’s a great snack for vegans and vegetarians who typically have a hard time getting sufficient protein in their diet.

Edamame is packed with fiber, which helps to maintain a healthy metabolism and digestive system. One serving of edamame provides you with more than 4 grams of fiber, so eating edamame in moderation is a great way to get your daily dose of fiber. Additionally, eating snacks that contain fiber helps to keep you satisfied longer, so that you can power through your day without experiencing cravings and fatigue.

Try roasting edamame with sea salt. Simply place unshelled edamame, sea salt, and olive oil in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees. This is a great snack that’s loaded with protein and fiber, which help to sustain energy and keeps you satisfied. Best of all, roasting the edamame helps to destroy unwanted toxins that are naturally found in soybeans, so you get all the benefits without the antinutrients.