Hello best life seekers!
Want a versatile and delicious bean packed with more nutrition than the biggest “food fad of the year”? Look no further than edamame. Recently I made a fantastic edamame and couscous meal inspired by a dish I saw at a Safeway salad bar. My natural curiosity over the nutrition data of the food going into my mouth led me to look up this humble bean and the facts blew me away. So much in fact, I wonder why few health articles ever loud this legume.
According to my favorite nutrition site SELF NutritionData, one cup of frozen edamame, prepared, contains a host of vitamins and minerals:
Look at those stats! You can’t hardly find this amount of beneficial vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, or Omegas, especially in this quantity for each, in many other foods. It’s simply stunning.
On the down side, edamame is a freshly picked soybean. Soybeans are one of the most GMOed foods – upwards of 93% of the soy planted in the United States is genetically modified in some way. That said, many vegetarians eat tofu and drink soy milk, both made from the humble soybean. We can get as organic in our purchases as we like. Even if we don’t, they’re still better for us than that strawberry poptart or sugar-packed granola bar sitting on the shelf.
Another possible drawback with the soybean are a few compounds in it that correlate to thyroid issues. That said, I’ve also seen soy intake in conjunction with seaweed to be beneficial for neutralizing various issues with high levels of iodine intake from seaweed that effect the thyroid, which leaves me a little puzzled. Foods taken together can unlock healthy nutrient absorbsion and decrease negative properties. But two affecting the thyroid canceling each other out? Maybe it’s a hypo/hyper-thyroid thing. I don’t know. My advice: do your research to see what you think. Me, the nutrient load on the soybean and its widespread use in healthy Japan leave me loving the bean.
So back to the awesomeness of edamame, aka a young soybean.
The Whole Food Grab Bag
I’m a big proponent of eating as close to the source as possible, which means favoring the whole food version. The further down the processed ladder you go, the more the nutrition in your food declines. This is why the young soybean packs more punch than tofu or why tofu has more nutrients than soymilk and why by the time you’re crunching on your cheddar bean chips, you’ve only got a whisp of nutrition (ha!) left.
While tofu and soy milk both pack too much nutrition to sneer at, edamame still has the leg up on them nutritionally. Plus, the simple bean isn’t processed with calcium sulfate and magnesium chloride like with tofu or the commonely added sugars and ingredients that flavor and sweeten soy milk.
The whole food once again reigns supreme.
Versatile & Delicious
What makes edamame extra special is how versatile it is. You can snack on it as is in a tasty and nutritious treat or dust it with salt if you have to. It makes a great ingredient in dishes of all sorts if you buy it shelled.
My favorite is eating it as a bean salad made with edamame, corn, pearled cous cous, red bell pepper, cranberries, red onion and dressed with olive oil and vinegar. It’s simply amazing and this bowl packs a nutritional wallop to keep your body and taste buds humming.
Don’t just think of this bean as a poddy snack laced with salt. It is so much more! Shelled and bagged, it can easily add flavor, variety and nutrition to your meal rotation.
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