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Edamame, a protein-packed powerhouse

Edamame, also known as soybean, is a protein-packed powerhouse.

Edamame beans are whole, immature soybeans, sometimes referred to as vegetable-type soybeans.

They are naturally gluten free and low in calories, contain no cholesterol and they are an excellent source of protein, iron and calcium.

Researchers have linked the consumption of soy foods with a lower risk of several age and lifestyle-related conditions and with improvements in overall health: age-related brain disease, cardiovascular disease, breast and prostate cancer, depression, diabetes, fertility, energy levels and inflammation. (1)

Edamame has all the essential amino acids that people need and which the body cannot produce itself, the building blocks of protein needed for muscle maintenance, hormone balance, healthy blood, and more.

Edamame is as good in quality as animal protein and it does not contain unhealthy saturated fat.

By adding more plant-based protein to your diet you’ll gain heart-healthy benefits compared with increasing saturated fat intake from eating more animal protein.

It is also much higher in vitamins, minerals, and fiber compared with animal protein.

Edamame is rich in healthy fiber, antioxidants and vitamin K. These plant compounds may reduce the risk of heart disease and improve the blood lipid profile, a measure of fats including cholesterol and triglycerides .

The presence of the high level of C Reactive Protein in the blood is a marker of inflammation. Edamame helps reduce CRP levels in the body therefore it does reduce inflammation. (2)

A half-cup of these legumes will provide 9 grams of fiber, 11 grams of protein plus a hefty dose of antioxidants, all for just 120 calories.

Edamame contains natural levels of phytoestrogens, or plant-based estrogens called isoflavones. Soy isoflavones can produce estrogen-like activity in the body by mimicking the effects of natural estrogen. These natural estrogens may help alleviate symptoms of perimenopause, including hot flashes and night sweats. Furthermore, a moderate intake of isoflavones throughout adulthood may reduce the risk of hormone-related cancers in some women. (3)

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.

When it comes to cooking, edamame is extremely versatile. You can boil, steam or bake them.

The edamame cooks fast, so you don’t need to spend a lot of time cooking them. Boiling or steaming takes an average of 4 to 7 minutes. You can also blanch and freeze fresh edamame to save for later. When stored this way, the edamame can last for up to eight months.

I personally buy prepackaged frozen edamame. It is usually available at your grocery store for convenience.

Check out some of the following recipes to add more edamame to your diet:

Easy Edamame Crunch Salad - my favorite:

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