Is Edamame Good for You?

Edamame, the less common name for the simple soybean, originates from two Japanese words, “eda” and “branch,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Combining the two words together gives you a visual picture of how edamame grows in the field. Including edamame in your diet is a good way to give your body vital nutrients and few calories. (See Reference 1)

Identification and History

Farmers harvest edamame in pods before the beans are fully mature to preserve their flavor and texture. In contrast to the term “green vegetable soybean,” the term edamame refers to soybeans that you cook while they are still in their pods, according to the SoyInfo Center. Soybeans have been available in the United States since the 1850s, however, after World War II, interest in the beans waned. During the 1960s, the popularity and market saturation increased dramatically.

High in Protein

The complete protein in edamame makes it an ideal food for vegans and vegetarians, as it enables you to consume a protein containing all the nine necessary animo acids without eating meat. Not just for vegetarians though, edamame provides 12.1 g of protein 1 cup. If you are a woman, the protein in edamame is more than 25 percent of your daily needs, and more than 20 percent if you are a man. Protein assists your body in energy production, muscle development and tissue replacement.

Health Benefits

Edamame contains beneficial antioxidants, which function as a barrier against the damaging effects of free radicals in your body. A publication from the Harvard Medical School Center for Health and the Global Environment indicates that the isoflavones in edamame may also improve your cholesterol levels and improve bone strength. If you are a woman in the menopausal period, you may find that edamame helps to improve your estrogen levels, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Calories and Nutrients

A cup of edamame has 130 calories, 5.6 g of fat and 10.1 g of carbohydrates. The cup contains only 1.3 g of sugar. Your body benefits from the 5.7 g of fiber and 10.1 g of carbohydrates in the beans. The low calories and high fiber in the edamame make it a good choice for weight control. You consume between 20 to 25 percent of the 22 g to 28 g of fiber you need as a woman, and 17 percent to 20 percent of the 28 g to 34 g you need as a man in 1 cup of edamame. Other beneficial nutrients include calcium, vitamin C, potassium and iron. You will consume 358 mcg of folate, which is a vitamin necessary for fetal development. The many vitamins and minerals in edamame benefit your overall health, as consuming a well-balanced diet can affect your cholesterol, heart health and reduce your risk of some diseases.