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Green Soybeans (Edamame) - Nutrition - Health Benefits - Recipes

Updated on December 5, 2020
rajan jolly profile image

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.


Edamame Pods and Beans
Edamame Pods and Beans | Source

Latin Name: Glycine max. (L.) Merr.

What Is Edamame?

Quite simply, edamame is green immature soybean pods that have been harvested before they have had a chance to mature. They are also called green soybeans.

In fact, Edamame is also the name of a Japanese dish which is prepared with the whole pods and served as a snack or appetiser.

About Edamame

Edamame is available both fresh and frozen. It is a popular Asian food much prepared in the cuisines of China, Japan and Korea, and even Hawaii.

As soybean and edamame differ in their level of maturity, their nutrition levels too follow this trend.

Always cook edamame before eating as they contain many anti-nutritional substances, phytoestrogens and toxic factors. These get neutralised by boiling or cooking.

Edamame is generally boiled, lightly steamed or roasted, and salted, before eating. It may also be shelled and added to soups and salads, etc.

Nutritional Difference Between Soybeans & Edamame

In the same quantity by weight:

  • Soybeans provide more than double the calories and protein than that provided by edamame.
  • Soybeans also have twice as many carbohydrates, total fat and saturated fat as edamame.
  • The fibre content of soybeans is about one and a half times more than that of edamame.
  • Soybeans are several times richer in folic acid, iron and calcium content as compared to edamame.

    Soybean can be eaten on their own or made into products like soy paste, tofu, tempeh, soybean curd, etc while edamame can be consumed as a stir fry, salads, soups, etc.

Roasted Edamame

Roasted Edamame
Roasted Edamame

Nutrients In Edamame

  • Edamame provides all the 9 essential amino acids needed by our body and hence it is a source of complete protein.
  • Rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids especially the omega-6 fatty acids. It also contains the omega-3 fat, alpha-linoleic acid.
  • Gluten and cholesterol-free.
  • Low in calories & sodium.
  • Contains moderate amounts of many vitamins and minerals, and plant sterols.
  • Contains high levels of manganese, magnesium and copper minerals.

See the nutrient details in the table below:

Edamame Nutrition

Edamame beans (Phaseolus lunatus L), Raw, frozen, unprepared,
Nutritive value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Nutrient Value
Percentage of RDA
110 Kcal
8.58 g
10.25 g
Total Fat
4.73 g
0 mg
Dietary Fiber
4.8 g
303 mcg
0.925 mg
Pantothenic acid
0.535 mg
0.135 mg
0.265 mg
0.150 mg
Vitamin A
0 IU
Vitamin C
9.7 mg
Vitamin E
0.72 mg
Vitamin K
31.4 mcg
6 mg
482 mg
60 mg
0.324 mcg
2.11 mg
224 mg
1.672 mg
161 mg
1.32 mcg

Edamame Health Benefits

  • Edamame is rich in many phytoestrogens, the plant estrogens, predominantly the isoflavones, genistein, daidzein and glycitein. They offer several health benefits, like lowering the LDL cholesterol levels and raising the HDL cholesterol levels, thereby lowering the risk of heart disease.
    They also prevent cell damage by the rampant free radicals, prevent plaque deposition in the arteries as they prevent the oxidation of the cholesterol. They lower blood pressure.
  • The isoflavone genistein increases the activity of the tumour suppressor protein p53 which also triggers the self-destruction of the cancer cells.
    Though the processing of soybean has been found to increase the risk of certain cancers, breast cancer, for instance, edamame, because it is unprocessed, would not show the ill effects associated with processed soy consumption.
    To remain on the safe side, even the consumption of edamame needs to be kept moderate. After all, even good food in excess can make one sick.
  • The various minerals in edamame like calcium, phosphorus, iron, and Vit C, all help to maintain bone density, lower incidence of osteoporosis and bone fractures.
  • The various vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in edamame boost the body's immunity.
  • The isoflavone genistein has also been found to improve lung function, thereby benefitting those who have asthma to breathe easier.
  • The high amounts of fibre ensure that constipation is kept away and also helps in digestion and lowering of cholesterol levels.
  • Since edamame has a low glycemic index those having diabetes would benefit as it controls the blood sugar and insulin levels from spiking high.
  • It reduces the risk of obesity as the high fibre content keeps hunger at bay longer and the low calories and fat content of this legume also lend a helping hand in this matter.
  • In postmenopausal women especially, and normal individuals too, edamame helps to maintain skin health and delays skin ageing by its antioxidant effect as well as the isoflavones it contains.
    The isoflavones reduce hot flushes in women at menopause.
  • Edamame folic acid not only prevents neural tube defects in the foetus but also promotes fertility in women and reduces depression.
    The folate controls the formation of excessive levels of homocysteine, whose levels, if unchecked, can cause sleep and appetite problems.

To Conclude

To eat edamame/soybean or not, is a topic that has been, and still is, widely debated.

However, the fact is that there is substantial evidence that edamame and its mature form, soybean, both have several nutritional elements that support good health.

Conversely, some studies also indicate that certain anti-nutritional factors present in them can cause undesirable effects in both men and women. For example, the can adversely affect sexual development in males and increase breast cancer risk in women.

The isoflavones present in this legume is responsible for both the good as well as the bad effects.

These isoflavones also interfere with the thyroid function though no conclusive evidence of their causing hypothyroidism has been found. Still unless one has a thyroid issue or some other health issue that warrants staying off edamame/soybean you can still eat and benefit from its many nutrients.

Edamame/soybean are high in phytates and this may reduce the absorbability of certain minerals that bind to the phytic acid like calcium, iron, zinc.

Possibly, the best way out would be to take go easy on the consumption of both edamame and soybean, and consume it, in moderation only.

After all, even good food, in excess, can make a person sick.


This article is just for information purposes and it is advised that you consult your healthcare provider or medical doctor before you start any new health regime or supplements.

How To Make Edamame Beans

Edamame Soybean Sabzi

Edamama Hummus

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2016 Rajan Singh Jolly


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    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      12 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Thanks for stopping by, Peggy.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      12 months ago from Houston, Texas

      I have eaten edamame a few times. It is informative to know the pros and cons of eating soybeans and edamame. Your admonishment to eat everything in moderation is good.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Patricia, yes, moderation is the correct approach. Thanks for the visit.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      3 years ago from North Central Florida

      I had no idea of the possible side effects of edamame. While I do not eat them often I do enjoy them from time to time. It seems many foods are exposed as unhealthful. I will just continue to enjoy them in moderation. Angels are once again on the way ps

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Flourish, I'm glad you like the information. Maybe, now you could try to eat them as well. Thank you.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      5 years ago from USA

      I've never eaten them but always have been curious, as I've seen them in grocery stores. Thanks for presenting both pros and cons on them.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      @Devika, thabk you.

      @MsDora, yes you can eat them raw but the anti nutritional factors necessitate that they be at least boiled or steamed before eating. Thanks for stopping by.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      5 years ago from The Caribbean

      "Always cook edamame before eating." This is news to me; I've always thought that they could be eaten raw. Thanks for the information.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Nicely written and informed me lots more about soya beans.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      @Marlene, glad you like both the pros & cons of a food. In fact, there always is and I like to provide that as far as possible.

      @Bill, that's very fine. Hope you are doing well. Have a great week.

      @manatita, for vegetarians, soya is indispensable and the choice of veggies is vast. Glad you liked the hub. Thanks bro!

    • manatita44 profile image


      5 years ago from london

      Excellent Hub. You put so many advantages in your chosen health foods! Soya is one of my food choices as a vegetarian, but I sometimes vary with broad beans, pulses, quorn and the various milks on the market: Almond, rice, coconut, goats ...

      I believe we use this word in Puja. It sounds very much like it. Edam mame.

      I won't mind eating from Bhava's kitchen. Excellent Hub and information.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I've never eaten them and honestly doubt if I ever will, but my wife would love them I'm sure, so I'm passing this on to her.

      Have a blessed weekend, my friend.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 

      5 years ago from USA

      I like how you show every side - the pros and cons associated with a plant. I hear a lot about edamame but never realized it had "anti nutritional substances." I like edamame, but had to stop eating it because it would make my stomach ache. Maybe I ate too much of it - more than my body could handle. I really enjoyed learning about this valuable soybean.


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