There is a lot of confusion as to what edamame really is and so if you’re unsure don’t worry, you’re in good company and we will give you all the insider details on this incredible edible below.
What Is Edamame?
Edamame are immature soybeans harvested in a state where they are still green and have not turned their normal characteristic tannish brown yet. They can be served fresh, cooked or blanched in 4% salt water as is the tradition in Japan. Unless blanched, they are typically served with some sort of condiment such as soy sauce or various hot sauces.
Many people will consume edamame as a snack or appetizer before the main course. They make a great pairing with children’s school lunches as they can be tossed into a sandwich bag and munched on while eating their sandwich or what have you.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is given for educational purposes only and is not intended to provide advice or a prescription in the mitigation or treatment of any illness or disease. Please seek the advice of a nutritionally educated healthcare practitioner prior to engaging in any new dietary or exercise changes.
Is Edamame A Vegetable?
Not in the most literal sense, no. Edamame are immature soybeans and soybeans are a legume. So, they still belong in the legume category despite some people referring to them as vegetable soybeans, furthering the confusion, just because they are immature and still green.
How Many Carbs Are In Edamame?
In a serving sized of one and one eight cup in the pods or one half cup shelled (without pods) you’ll be surprised to find that out of the 120 calories only 52 of them come from their 13 grams of carbohydrate.
The thing that makes them a great snack for keeping your blood sugar stable is that 8 of those 13 grams of carbohydrates actually come from fiber which makes them much slower to digest.
What Is The Correct Edamame Pronunciation?
The name edamame is pronounced ed – ah – mom – ay. Just say it like you see it in our pronunciation guideline and you’ll do just fine.
How Can Edamame Be Used?
Most traditionally it will be eaten as a side dish or as a snack after being boiled in water or water and approximately 4% salt solution. However, many people enjoy edamame fried, or served with other condiments such as barbeque sauce or ranch dressing.
What Is Edamame Good For?
There are several benefits to eating edamame, here are just a few.
1. The FDA allows the claim that soy protein may help lower the risk of heart disease. There are a number of agents at play here that appear to all be contributing to this benefit such as, soy fiber is quite bulking and the isoflavones along with the fiber seem to be the key risk lowering components.
2. Soy fiber helps regulate bowel movements. Most fibers help keep us regular to some degree, but soy fiber seems to do a better job than most, however, science still doesn’t fully understand why.
3. They don’t raise your blood sugar levels much at all. With glycemic index rating of only 18, soybeans (although not differentiated in the index from edamame) are incredibly low in insulin spiking properties.
That’s really great news for those battling diabetes or insulinemic challenges that swing in either direction. Stable blood sugars should be the goal of every person reading this, the benefits are innumerable.
4. Edamame has numerous studies that show a reduced risk of breast cancer when consuming regularly in your diet.
For women, this is great news. Snacking on this delicious treat tastes great, helps control blood sugars and may even help reduce your risk of breast cancers.
5. Edamame has well reviewed studies showing that it can help reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men. Some, depending on how the study was conducted and with what amount of soy foods found a risk reduction of as much as 30%.
Since approximately 1 in 7 men in the US will contract prostate cancer during their lifetimes, this is a massive concern for men, and we should look into edamame as part of a possible risk reduction plan.
Could Edamame Be Good For Weight Loss?
According to both science and lore, yes, edamame has been shown to help aid in weight loss and far more preferably in fat loss.
The reason you’d rather lose fat than just weight is that weight loss also means muscle loss. This is one of the worst things that can happen to you when dieting. You want to lose the fat but keep the muscle.
Soy (edamame) may do this in a three pronged approach.
It provides protein, fat and fiber in one package. The protein helps preserve or even build muscle, control blood sugar levels and provide a fuel source that’s not as efficient as fat or carbs and so loses some of its value being transformed into a carbohydrate thereby automatically reducing its caloric value.
The fat is satiating. This is to say that it helps make you feel full longer so that you’re not so hungry all the time.
It also has the building blocks for essential hormones your body needs to keep your metabolism running at optimal levels.
The fiber slows digestion thereby allowing for better nutrient absorption and helping you to feel fuller longer.
There are other benefits too such as, the fiber helping to possibly lower cholesterol, the phytosterols helping in hormonal regulation and more, however, this section was just focusing on the weight loss and fat loss aspects of the plant.
Is Edamame A Complete Protein?
Yes and no. All of the essential amino acids that the body cannot make itself are present. However, it is a little low in Methionine for some conditional needs.
To understand this better it is best to know the differences between what is essential and what is conditionally essential. The two are quite different.
When something like an amino acid is listed as one of the 9 essentials it means that you MUST get these from your diet because your body cannot make them on its own.
Your body lacks the ability to manufacture 9 amino acids. You must get these from outside sources, or you will become deficient or even die.
If you recall, in the movie Jurassic Park, the way they kept the dinosaurs in check was that they removed all of the essential amino acid lysine from their diet and only gave to them as a supplement.
This meant that if they escaped, they should become weak and unable to function in a very short period of time and then die off rather quickly. This was thought to be a safety mechanism.
In the movie as it was famously said, “life finds a way” and the dinosaurs bodies overcame the deficiency and they survived.
Nice stuff for a movie, but that’s not how the human body works. We might be able to adapt to a non-lysine diet over a few centuries, but the chances of us doing it within hours is not too likely.
So, the dinosaurs were missing an essential amino acid that should have killed them, but that would have been a pretty short and boring movie.
A conditionally essential element such as an amino acid means that there are certain conditions whereby the body’s needs change and another amino acid or element can become essential for a period of time based upon the dictates of the situation.
An example of this might be the amino acid tyrosine. It’s not an essential amino acid. However, during times of severe stress the body’s need for it rises dramatically to help cope with the mental needs of the situation.
Tyrosine has been shown to help combat depression, reduce mental stress and improve mood in study after study. It’s a position that is really well researched and verified.
So then, when you find yourself in conditions that are causing extreme mental stress, or if you’re let’s say not producing tyrosine precursor enabled neurohormones, then in these situations, tyrosine or other conditionally essential element(s) would for the duration of the need become essential to anything from proper function to survival.
Now back to edamame. It’s a little low in methionine which could mean that in times of certain need you might want to mix your soy protein with either a rice or pea protein to bring those levels back up and safeguard against any possible deficiency.
Other than that, edamame is a very complete protein as is mature soy.
Is Edamame Keto Friendly?
Yes, it’s quite keto friendly in fact.
Some would argue that edamame is not keto friendly because of the number of carbohydrates that it contains, but there is a much bigger picture that you need to see.
Here’s what we mean by this.
There are 13 grams of carbs in one half cup of shelled edamame. That might send some super keto people into a tizzy, but wait, there’s more.
You need to know that fully 8 of those grams of carbs are actually fiber. This leaves only 5 grams of net carbs and only 2.2 grams of sugars per 100 grams of the beans.
If consumed in moderation, there is nothing unfriendly about them. Sure, if you sat down and ate a thousand grams of them, then yes, you’d be making them unfriendly. However, eaten as a snack or small side dish they really should pose no worries to your keto diet.
Are Edamame Beans Low Glycemic?
Yes, as we’ve mentioned above, edamame is very low glycemic, with a rating of just 18.
There are not too many foods with lower ratings that are this much fun and this satisfying to eat.
Is Edamame Good For Diabetics?
We cannot and will not give any medical advice or council. That being said, with a glycemic index rating of only 18, there should be nothing wrong with consuming edamame in reasonable quantities based upon your unique situation.
For further clarification please seek the advice or council of a nutritionally educated healthcare practitioner prior to consumption.
Is Edamame Bad For Men?
There is a lot of confusion out there about this topic because edamame is immature soy and soy has gotten a bad rap for promoting feminine characteristics in men.
The truth of the matter is that phytoestrogens in soy are so weak and non-potentiating that they simply don’t have the power to alter the male hormone landscape at all.
There is study after study debunking this myth, it’s simply not true. However, because the isoflavones in soy are called phytoestrogens people freak out and think that men who consume soy or edamame are instantly going to start growing breast tissue. This is simply not the case.
Virtually every culture has a gay population with a portion of them wanting to change from men to women. If soy and edamame really did this you would have the people who would like to initiate this change lining up for the strongest soy pills, powders and potions on the planet.
Because there would be money to be made there, you’d have companies making specialty products to service that market with entire lines of different remedies.
The fact that you don’t see that, and boatloads of Japanese men with breasts is sufficient real-world evidence that this is a myth that has been propagated for far too long.
Is Edamame Safe?
There are literally hundreds of studies showing its safety. However, lets take a look at its safety over hundreds and even thousands of years of consumption by humans.
Edamame can trace it’s roots back to the Edo period in Japan that started in 1603. There are texts, scrolls and other artifacts showing its consumption starting at about this date and it has been consumed by millions and millions of people ever since.
We would say that this would be at least a pretty good indicator of safety.