One of the foods celebrated in April is soy, so I figured it would be appropriate to highlight edamame in this month’s monthly morsels. Edamame are young immature soybeans that are harvested before the beans are allowed time to ripen. The beans are contained in a fuzzy and fibrous inedible shell and are typically boiled, salted and eaten out of their pods. They contain a firm and dense texture with a mild nutty and savory flavor.
Over the years, there has been much controversy surrounding the consumption of soybeans has to whether or not it can have favorable effects on our health. Although the issue continues to be debated, it seems that incorporating some amount of soy into your diet can contribute to overall health Specifically, soy has been found to have a positive effect on heart health, decrease risk of diabetes and obesity, increase energy and weight loss, and promote healthy hair and skin.
Soybeans are unique because they although they are a plant food, they contain relatively high amounts of protein and therefore, historically were called “meat of the field.” They have also been found to contain unique peptides, or protein building blocks, including defensins, glycinins, conglycinins and lunasin, that can have positive effects on controlling blood sugar and improved immune function.
Soybeans are low in calories, high in protein, iron, calcium, copper, and folate. They are especially healthy for women of childbearing age because iron and folic acid are important nutrients for promoting fertility. Folic acid is specifically important for preventing neural tube defects in fetuses. The isoflavones in soy have also been found to decrease bone loss and increase bone mineral density specifically for women in menopause.
So go ahead, don’t be afraid to incorporate some soybeans into your diet as part of the legume food group. They are great as a crispy snack or they can be shelled and incorporated to soups and salads.
Here are also two recipes for you to enjoy.