Amazing Nutritive Value Of Edamame (Soybeans)
What is edamame?
Edamame are soybeans that have been harvested during a period of time when they are edible while still being green and immature. They are sold fresh or frozen in their pods. The pods are not edible but if the beans remain inside the pods they stay fresh. Edamame should always be green no matter in which form you buy them.
Edamame are packed with nutrition. One cup of edamame has around 6 percent of the recommended daily requirement of all the nutrients leaving out vitamin D. They also meet 20 to 40 percent of the daily needs of protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, thiamin, folate and vitamin K.
Soybeans fall in the category of the few plant sources that provide complete protein. It meets 30 percent protein need for males and 37 percent for females when they are on a 2,000 calorie diet. Soybeans are great sources of folate and meet 120 percent of the daily needs of folate. Folate helps in preventing birth defects as it plays a vital role in the formation and growth of new cells. In adults, it is helpful in lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Isoflavones are plant based chemicals that are similar to estrogen. These phytoestrogens help in lowering cholesterol according to a study. It is beneficial for women of menopausal age as it reduces the severity and frequency of hot flashes. Estrogens function by attaching itself to certain receptor cells. Phytoestrogens do the same but they are weaker than real estrogen. If you happen to have lower levels of estrogen, phytoestrogens can increase it. If you happen to have normal levels of estrogen in the body, phytoestrogens block real estrogen by getting attached to the receptors first and this way the total estrogen levels go down.
Estrogen has a role to play in breast, uterine and prostate cancer, so lower estrogen levels by eating soy isoflavones can lower the chances of cancers that are estrogen-sensitive. It has yet not been determined if isoflavones present in soy are safe for those who have survived cancer, especially breast cancer. The scientific world is in a dilemma about the same. Some studies show that soy isoflavones decreases the chances of recurrence of cancer and other studies show the opposite. As there are quite complex biochemical interactions involved , it is essential to consult to consult the doctor before consuming edamame if you have been diagnosed with any hormone sensitive cancer.
The total fat in one cup of edamame is 8 grams and this includes 3 grams of polyunsaturated fats. You can lower the levels of cholesterol by keeping total intake of fat to less than 25-35% of total calories and consuming unsaturated fats. Soybean oil has heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids that lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and reduce inflammation.
Storing and cooking edamame
You can keep fresh edamame in the fridge and use them within 2 to 3 days. Soybeans are often boiled for about 5 mins, salted and served as a snack. They can be added to salads, soups or even in Indian cuisine. You can make a hummus out of it too. Just get your imagination to play!
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