#HealthBytes: What are the nutritional benefits of edamame beans?
Edamame beans are nothing, but the whole, immature soybeans. While regular soybeans vary in shades of brown, edamame beans are green in color. Though traditionally, these beans are added to gravies, soups, stews, or other such dishes in Asian countries, they are usually eaten as a snack in the US. Here are a few nutritional benefits of edamame beans.
Our body requires protein for growth and development. While an animal-based diet will take care of a person's daily protein requirement, it is crucial for vegans and vegetarians to include plant-based protein in the diet. Edamame beans are one of the best plant-based protein sources for vegetarians. In addition, they also contain all the essential amino acids that are required for the body.
Edamame beans are rich in plant-based compounds like isoflavones that have several nutritional benefits. One such valuable observation is that a diet rich in isoflavones has been shown to reduce the risk of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Another study conducted on postmenopausal women also supported the fact that consuming isoflavone supplements for two years significantly increased the bone mineral density of the individuals.
A few studies conducted to understand the effect of edamame on cholesterol levels have shown positive results with one study observing that having edamame every day can help in reducing the total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels significantly. In addition, edamame also contains fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin K, which may help in lowering the risk of heart diseases while improving the blood lipid profile.
A high-carb diet increases the risk of diabetes. This is because when carbohydrates are digested in the body fast, they can cause a spike in sugar levels leading to a condition called hyperglycemia. Edamame has a relatively low glycemic index due to its rich fiber content. This means that it doesn't raise blood sugar levels excessively, making it an ideal food for diabetic patients.