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Edamame

Edamame (pronounced “eh-dah-MAH-may”) is the soft immature soybean. It is an easy, nutritious, and tasty snack. Edamame is a podded soybean that is traditionally served as an appetizer but can also be worked into many other dishes such as salads, hummus, soups or salsas. In fact, many Asian restaurants have edamame on the menu as an appetizer. You can easily serve it this way at home by quickly boiling the soybeans then drain and add some kosher salt. They can be served out of the pod or for more fun squeeze the individual beans out of the pod and into your mouth. The pod itself is tough, hairy and inedible. Each pod contains an average of 2-4 beans, depending on the size and length of each pod. On an average basis, each pod contains 3 tender green beans.

When serving the entire pod it is called Edamame, and the beans themselves are called Mukimame. Fresh edamame are typically available in late summer through early fall. When selecting fresh Edamame, the pod should be bright green, plump and firm. Avoid those pods that are yellowish or are shrunken. Avoid pods that have turned brown or black—it's a sign of over maturity. The slick orbs have a pleasing toothiness, followed by a sweet, buttery taste that makes it impossible to eat just one. In fact, in Japan, edamame takes the place of peanuts, and come to the table as a salty snack in bars. Edamame has been around for centuries; it’s earliest records go as far back as the late 1200’s where it emerged from Japan meaning “beans on branches”. However it wasn’t until the 1900’s that edamame moved out of Asia and became a common food in the United States, becoming widely available in supermarkets and restaurants around the country. You can easily find edamame either in the pod or out of the pod in the frozen food section at your local grocery store.

HOW TO PREPARE AND EAT EDAMAME Nothing could be simpler to prepare, or more fun to eat. This is a healthy exceptionally low carb snack or ingredient with many health benefits. You can easily serve edamame at home by quickly boiling the soybeans for 3-4 minutes, draining them, and then sprinkling with kosher/coarse salt. Alternatively, you can microwave them with a small amount of water or even steam them. They can be served out of the pod or for more fun squeeze the individual beans out of the pod and into your mouth. To eat edamame, apply a small amount of pressure to the bean pod, and gently squeeze out the beans, or place one end of the pod in your mouth and use your front teeth to scrape the beans out of the pod. Edamame can be served as a side dish, used as a substitute for green peas or lima beans and added to soups or stews. In fact, in Japan, edamame takes the place of peanuts, and come to the table as a salty snack in bars. Science behind the taste: In addition to having a sweet, nutty flavor, smooth texture, and good digestibility, edamame are also nutritious.

EDAMAME IS NUTRITIOUS Edamame contains about 38% protein. One-half cup serving contributes 11 grams of protein towards the average daily adult requirement of 46–56 grams. Edamame is rich in calcium, vitamin A, B, C, and Iron, making it one of the healthiest foods to snack on. Edamame is also rich in iron and protein, which are two key nutrients that are found in meat. Edamame is high in fiber, calcium, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, and low in sugar, making it a great snack choice. Edamame is also an excellent plant-based source of heart-protective omega-3 fatty acids, called alpha-linoleic acids. Edamame has always been a great source of protein especially for people who are on vegetarian or vegan diets where protein can be more difficult to find. More importantly, edamame have many phytochemicals that have only recently begun to be appreciated. If you read health or nutrition columns, you know that soybeans are full of a class of phytochemicals called isoflavones. The research is not definitive but suggests that these isoflavones may reduce the risk of cancer, lower cholesterol, and help prevent heart disease and osteoporosis. They may also significantly alleviate the symptoms of menopause. Part of edamame’s popularity stems from the fact that it’s a complete protein. This means that it has all the essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein) needed for muscle maintenance, hormone balance, healthy blood, and more. Eating edamame is a great way to vary your protein sources, which gives your body access to a broader range of nutrients.

HEALTHY BENEFITS For people with diabetes, soy protein in edamame beans may help reduce insulin resistance, kidney damage and fatty liver.

  • The beans reduce LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and increase good cholesterol in men.
  • Protects against cancer and heart disease.
  • Prevents bone loss and osteoporosis in women.
  • Promotes healthy heart functions.
  • Rich in Vitamins B1 and C, both of which help break down alcohol, it also contains methionine, an amino acid which helps protect the liver from toxicity damage.

Edamame, like other soybeans, contain natural levels of phytoestrogens, or plant-based estrogens called isoflavones. These natural estrogens may potentially help alleviate symptoms of perimenopause, including hot flashes and night sweats. The naturally high protein content can also add to your body’s daily protein needs, as well as possibly reduce blood cholesterol from eating saturated fats found in meat-based sources of protein.

Furthermore, a moderate intake of isoflavones throughout adulthood may reduce the risk of hormone-related cancers in some women. By adding more plant-based protein to your diet, though, you’ll also gain heart-healthy benefits compared with increasing saturated fat intake from eating more animal protein. Eating more plant-based protein will help lower your LDL (low-density lipoproteins), or "bad" cholesterol. Edamame is a good source of plant-based protein. In fact, it’s purportedly as good in quality as animal protein, and it doesn’t contain unhealthy saturated fat. It’s also much higher in vitamins, minerals, and fiber compared with animal protein.

Eating 25 grams per day of soy protein, such as tofu, may reduce your overall risk of heart disease. Soybeans like edamame are also good plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids called alpha-linoleic acids (ALAs). Getting enough omega-3s on a regular basis is also important in helping reduce your risk for heart disease. NUTRITION FACTS: serving size= ½ cup, cooked 3.5g Fat, 10g Protein, 3g Net Carbs link to full facts: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168411/nutrients

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