By:Christian Dischler

We’ve all been there, sitting at the sushi bar when our order of steaming edamame arrives.

There’s a certain kind of fun that comes with popping those delicious beans out the pods.  That sea salty goodness making us reach for another swig of Japanese beer.  But edamame, or immature soybeans, are more versatile than simply being an iconic appetizer.  They’re also packed with more health benefits than you might realize.  

In an age where every influencer seems to be a dietician, one constant can be agreed upon. Protein is an essential building block for maintaining a healthy body and physique.

Especially for any vegans and vegetarians, where plant-based protein sources are scarcer than their carnivorous counterparts. Soybeans (edamame) are the complete protein package for a plant. Loaded with roughly 18.5g per cup they also contain a full profile of amino acids, making them an ideal ingredient to boost your meal. Another popular talking point in the food space: glycemic index. We’re all becoming more conscious of how certain foods raise our blood sugar levels, and for good reason! There’s promising news for edamame lovers.  These powerful little soybeans are low on the glycemic index and low in carbs relative to the amount of protein they provide. That means you can eat them confidently and know your blood sugar levels won’t be spiking as a result.  

Like any good ingredient, edamame is worth its weight in salt when it comes to vitamins and minerals. That’s right, that tiny little pod is full of quality folate, vitamin K, manganese, iron and more. And don’t forget it has a significant amount of fiber considering its size and low impact carb load. One cup of edamame is going to give you half of your recommended vitamin K and well over 100 percent of folate.

Edamame is also potentially a gem for women and men. Several studies have been conducted that support the claim that soybean consumption can lead to the reduction in risk of breast and prostate cancer. However, there are conflicting studies, so it’s worthwhile to do your own research or consult your trusted physician about these claims.

In the end there’s no question that this little bean can do big things for your health. As always moderation is key and should be exercised with any food. But next time you’re at the market grab some edamame to experiment with. Perfect in fresh salads, soups and as a healthy snack in-between meals, you’ll be excited to see what you can create without feeling guilty.

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