Edamame

Say what you will about the debate over the health benefits of soy: any way you slice it, the edamame is a star legume! Just 1/2 cup of them a day really punches up the fiber, protein and vitamin/mineral content of your diet.  A serving of edamame gives you a bunch of fiber: 9 grams, about the same amount you'll find in 4 slices of whole-wheat bread or 4 cups of steamed zucchini. It has almost as much protein as it does carbohydrate. It contains around 10% of the Daily Value for two key antioxidants; vitamins C and A. And for a plant food, it's quite high in iron; it has about as much as a 4-ounce roasted chicken breast.

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NOT long ago, edamame — the young, green, mostly still-in-the-pod soybeans — were exotic: new, fresh and unusual. A little treat to begin a meal at a Japanese restaurant; the equivalent of olives, or even bread and olive oil.

Incredibly, for almost everyone I know, that is the way they remain. Yet tucked in the freezer case of most supermarkets, edamame is as common as peas and carrots, sold in 12-ounce or 1-pound plastic bags and sold cheap.

Isoflavones, Antioxidants and Phytochemicals

Edamame has high nutritional value and health benefits. These green soybeans are a natural source of antioxidants and isoflavones, which has increased edamame's popularity in the United States. Antioxidants are beneficial because they can help prevent negative effects of free radicals in the body. Eating antioxidant-rich foods has been associated strengthening your immune system and with reducing your risk of cancer, hardening of the arteries and neurodegenerative diseases. Isoflavones are phytohormones that may help reduce prostate and breast cancer, diminish the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure levels and ease menopausal symptoms. Women who are menopausal and have low estrogen levels may benefit from snacking on a handful of edamame daily because of the natural soybean's phytochemical quality.

Protein

The fresh vegetable soybeans called edamame contain about 36 percent protein, which is 86 percent higher than mature soybeans. Edamame's low oil content, combined with its high protein content, makes this vegetable very popular with health-conscious people who want a low-fat, protein-rich snack. Vegetarians and vegans who want a high protein food will find that edamame's protein is complete, which means it contains all nine essential amino acids the human body needs. Protein helps your body's tissues to develop properly and helps your body resist diseases; it produces hormones, enzymes and other substances your body uses; gives people energy and helps prevent fatigue. Edamame has no cholesterol, very little saturated fat, and a half-cup serving provides 11 g of protein toward an average adult's daily requirement of 46 to 63 g.

Vitamins And Minerals

Edamame is rich in vitamin C and B vitamins, and it is one of the few natural sources of vitamin E. These soybeans also provide you with minerals, such as calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and copper. Nutrients in green soybeans that benefit heart health include vitamin K and folate, which increases the production of red blood cells. Folic acid is also essential for pregnant women because it helps with fetal development.

Fiber

Adding edamame to your diet will help you increase your fiber intake. Fiber is important for healthy digestion, and a half cup of edamame contains 4 gr of fiber. Fiber also helps lower cholesterol, which may reduce your risk of heart disease. Another reason edamame is a good snack food is that the fiber keeps you feeling full for a longer period and this helps you avoid unhealthy between-meal snacks.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Edmame has anti-inflammatory qualities and can be a good food to eat if you have arthritis or other inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Fresh green soybeans, eaten as a snack or a side dish, may help people with asthma, because this vegetable decreases inflammation in your breathing passages, and this can reduce wheezing and coughing.