The Secret of Edamame
Soy snack is a yummy - and healthy - handful
Excerpt from an article by By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD WebMD
"What's so secret about edamame? Well, the name for starters. The first few times I heard it, I had to ask, "eda-whaty?" As it turns out, it's just a fancy name for boiled green soybeans -- and the real secret is that they are much yummier than they sound.
I knew edamame had "arrived" when I saw Faith Hill snacking on them during a backstage-type interview for Country Music Television. They're the snack my favorite Japanese restaurant brings you when you sit down to a table, and they're the after-school snack my daughter asks for by name.
Say what you will about the debate over the health benefits of soy: any way you slice it, the edamame is a star legume! Just 1/2 cup of them a day really punches up the fiber, protein and vitamin/mineral content of your diet. Here's what you'll find in a half-cup serving of shelled edamame:
- 120 calories
- 9 grams fiber; 11 grams protein; 13 grams carbohydrate; 15 mg sodium
- 2.5 grams fat (1.5 grams polyunsaturated fat (0.3 grams plant omega-3 fatty acids); 0.5 gram monounsaturated fat
- 10% of the Daily Value for vitamin C; 10% Daily Value for iron; 8% Daily Value for vitamin A; 4% Daily Value for calcium
As you can see, that little serving of edamame gives you a bunch of fiber: 9 grams, about the same amount you'll find in 4 slices of whole-wheat bread or 4 cups of steamed zucchini. It has almost as much protein as it does carbohydrate. It contains around 10% of the Daily Value for two key antioxidants; vitamins C and A. And for a plant food, it's quite high in iron; it has about as much as a 4-ounce roasted chicken breast.
Although most researchers agree that further research is needed, recent studies propose the following possible health benefits of soy:
- Soy protein may help reduce insulin resistance, kidney damage, and fatty liver in people with diabetes, according to a study in rats.
- A new study from the Chinese University of Hong Kong indicated that soy protein containing isoflavones (phytoestrogens) significantly reduced overall cholesterol and LDL "bad" cholesterol, and raised HDL or "good" cholesterol, especially in men.
- A study in women reported that regular consumption of soy foods was associated with healthy cholesterol levels.
- The component thought to be at least partly responsible for soy's health benefits is a type of phytoestrogen called isoflavones. Isoflavones also appear to work with certain proteins in soy to protect against cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis.
- Results from a new study in China suggest that eating more soybean protein may help prevent and treat hypertension.
- A study in which 12 postmenopausal women drank 36 ounces of soy milk daily for 16 weeks noted an anti-inflammatory effect of the isoflavones found in soy. According to the study authors, this may be important in the prevention of bone loss and cancer, among other things."
SOME IDEAS TO INCORPORATE EDAMAME INTO YOUR DIET
I find bags of Edmame in the frozen food section of my grocery. I allow the package to thaw on the countertop (about 1 to 1-1/2 hours). It's easy then to just pop the edamame out of the pods with your fingers. Keep the freshly shelled edamame in a tight container and chill until ready to use.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup fresh or frozen whole kernel corn
1/2 cup cooked and shelled edamame
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
Pinch Splenda or other sugar substitute
5 cherry tomatoes -- halved
In a medium skillet, melt butter and add the corn and edmame. Sprinkle with the onion salt, salt, pepper and sweetener and toss gently to coat. Cook over very low heat, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes of until just crisp-tender. Gently stir in the tomato halves, heat through and serve immediately.
Nutritional Information per 1/2 cup serving:
Calories 90; Sugar 2.7g; Totral Carbohydrates 7g; Fat 7g; Sodium 378mg; Cholesterol 0mg; Protein 4.3g; Fiber 4.1g; Potassium 375mg
LEEK AND SESAME NOODLES WITH MUSHROOMS
Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray's "Everyday Magazine" June 2010
1 pound whole wheat linguini -- or others as desired
1/2 cup canola oil
3 large leeks -- halved and julienned
1 piece fresh ginger -- peeled & sliced thin
4 cloves garlic -- thinly sliced
1 cup shelled edamame
1/2 cup sake or dry sherry
Kosher saltand fresh ground pepper
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Cooked sliced mushrooms -- optional
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it and add the pasta. Cook until al dente and drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
Inb a large deep skillet, heat the oil (about 4 turns of the pan), over mediumn-high heat. Add the leeks and saute, about 2 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and cook and stir about 1 minutes. Stir in the edamame and heat through. Stir in the sake or sherry and season liberally with salt and pepper.
Stir the pasta and reserved pasta water into the pan, then add the sesame seeds and sesame oil. Turn off the heat and toss for 1 full minute. Serve immediately, garnished with cooked mushrooms if desired.
MORE EDAMAME IDEAS (Think outside the pod)
Keep a covered container of freshly shelled Edmame in the fridge to snack on any time.
Use shelled Edmame in your favorite Succotash recipe instead of lima beans.
Add a few shelled Edamame to your greens and vegetable salads.
Add coarsely mashed shelled Edmame to your favorite Deviled Egg recipe. (Wasabi is good here, too)
Add coarsely chopped shelled Edmame and chopped cucumber to your favorite salsa recipe.
Toss shelled Edmame with EVOO, onion powder, ground coriander, cumin, smoked paprika and salt. Roast in a 350 F. oven until beginning to browl, about 20 minutes.
Add shelled Edamame to your favorite Asian stir-fry.
Add finely chopped shelled Edamame to your pasta sauces or sloppy joe mixtures for added nutritional benefits.
The possibilities are endless---use your imagination!