Some call edamame the super or wonder vegetable because it is the only vegetable that contains all nine essential amino acids. This makes edamame a complete protein source, similar to meat or eggs. Edamame also contains isoflavonoids. They are found in all soy products and are being studied for their health benefits.
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.
I found my edamame pre-shelled in the frozen foods section of Trader Joe's. It is rarely sold fresh, but it is available frozen year-round. Don't fear frozen veggies; studies have shown that they can be just as--if not more--nutritious than their fresh counterparts. Of course, some taste better when eaten fresh (zuchinni and asparagus to name a few), but edamame is one vitamin powerhouse that maintains its punch (and subtle crunch) when thawed.
- 3/4 of a 16-oz. can of garbanzo beans (also known as chick peas)
- 1/2 c. edamame, shelled
- 1 T. tahini
- 2 T. lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic (or the equivalent in jarred or powdered)
- generous sprinkling of fresh or dried parsely
- generous shake of ground coriander
- light sprinkle of onion salt (alternatively you could use onion powder generously)
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Whir together all the ingredients in a food processor or blender.
- Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for prime flavor-age. Conversely, you can be like me and excitedly use any vessel on hand to deliver your Edamame Power Hummus straight to your tongue. Store in a sealed container for maximum one week.