Foundation Diet and Health
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Diet and Health
Switzerland
The best perspective for your health

Edamame

Edamame are immature soybeans in the pod. They contain omega-3 fatty acids and are a healthy snack when cooked.
Water 75.2%  32
Macronutrient carbohydrates 32.3%
/48
Macronutrient proteins 47.62%
/20
Macronutrient fats 20.08%
  LA : ALA

Omega-6 ratio to omega-3 fatty acids should not exceed a total of 5:1. Link to explanation.

Values are too small to be relevant.

Pictogram nutrient tables

Edamame are immature soybeans (Glycine max) in the pod: the word literally means stem beans in Japanese. Edamame are traditionally served as an appetizer or snack.

Culinary uses:

Can you eat edamame raw? Edamame should not be eaten raw — they need to be cooked for a few minutes.

What does edamame taste like? When cooked, edamame taste buttery and have a hint of sweetness and nuttiness, and they have a crisp consistency. If cooked for a longer period of time, their green color dissolves in the water. Cooked edamame are tough and rich in fiber. This makes them less suitable for consumption. Each pod contains about three green oval-shaped beans.

Edamame beans go well with mixed vegetables, fried rice, noodles, casseroles, purees, stews, salads, and soups. For example, they can be used as a garnish for miso soup and homemade hummus. Today, 100 % edamame pasta has also become very popular.

You can also blanch and freeze edamame. To find out how to prepare frozen edamame, see our page on frozen edamame.

Cooking edamame:

Cook whole edamame pods for at least 5 minutes in well-salted, boiling water. Drain the cooking water, season the beans with salt, chili, and garlic to taste, and serve as a snack or appetizer. Use your finger or mouth to remove the beans from their pods. In Japan, edamame are a popular snack eaten with beer.1

Vegan recipe for Green Hummus with Edamame and Avocado:

To make green hummus, puree a small can of edamame together with an avocado, cilantro, fresh basil, a red chili pepper, and three cloves of garlic. Season the dip with freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2–3 tablespoons tahini, and freshly ground pepper. Garnish with yellow and black sesame seeds.

Vegan recipes containing edamame can be found under the header: “Recipes that contain the largest amounts of this ingredient” (at the very bottom or on the side of the screen).

Purchasing — where to shop?

Fresh edamame are in season from June to September; however, you can find frozen or canned edamame year-round.

You can find fresh edamame in Asian supermarkets or Japanese specialty stores. You may be able to find frozen or canned edamame at major supermarkets such as Walmart, Whole Foods Markets, Kroger, and Safeway (United States); Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Aldi, Lidl, and Holland & Barret (Great Britain); Metro, Extra Foods, and Goodness Me (Canada); Coles, Woolworths, and Harris Farm (Australia). Health food shops and organic supermarkets may also stock edamame.

Most edamame that you find in supermarkets are imported because very few farmers grow edamame in North America and Europe.2 You may be able to find locally grown edamame in Canada and parts of the US — you can look into buying edamame directly from a farm or online.

Storing:

Fresh edamame can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days. They can be stored for up to 12 months in the freezer.

Nutrients — nutritional information — calories:

Edamame are rich in minerals, vitamins, and trace elements. Soybeans are also known for the isoflavones that they contain (flavonoids — phytonutrients). Soy contains three isoflavones: daidzein, genistein, and in small amounts glycitein. Edamame beans contain 4.7 g fat and are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids.5,6

At 4.8 g/100 g, eating edamame can help you to get your daily dose of fiber. Other foods, however, contain far more dietary fiber, such as wheat bran (42.8 g/100 g) and hemp seeds (27.6 g/100 g). Fresh fruits and vegetables also contain considerable amounts of fiber, including black salsify (18.3 g/100 g) and passion fruit (10.4 g/100 g).5

At 11 g/100 g, edamame is rich in protein. This protein encompasses essential amino acids such as methionine and valine. If you supplement eating this amount of edamame with 100 g hemp seeds, you will achieve more than 100 % of the recommended daily intake of the eight essential amino acids.5 Legumes and grains are generally a good combination because grains contain little lysine while legumes are rich in this amino acid.8

Edamame contains considerable amounts of folate as the active form of folic acid. Just 100 g edamame contains 303 µg folate. However, other legumes contain considerably more folate, for example, black-eyed peas, mung beans, adzuki beans (633–622 µg/100 g), chickpeas, lentils, black beans (557–444 µg/100 g), kidney beans, soybeans, and lupine (394–355 µg/100 g). Other foods rich in folate include white rice (231 µg/100 g), spinach (194 µg/100 g), and quinoa (184 µg/100 g).5

Edamame may be advertised as a superfood. But you should bear in mind that this term is mainly used for marketing purposes and says very little about the health benefits of the food.

You can find detailed nutritional information including the recommended daily intake of various nutrients in the tables below the text.

Select CLICK FOR under the photo of the ingredient to see the nutrient tables. These tables provide complete nutritional information, the percentage of the recommended allowance, and comparison values with other ingredients.

Health benefits — effects:

How healthy are edamame? Edamame and other legumes contain considerable amounts of fiber, meaning that your blood sugar levels increase slowly when eating them. This makes them a good choice for diabetics.8

Eating at least 20 g of soy protein can lower LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and total cholesterol levels. Studies have sometimes shown that eating soy results in an increase of HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol) and a decrease in blood pressure. These positive effects are mainly thanks to the protein that soy contains. In contrast, soy’s isoflavone content did not seem to improve fat values.9

Dangers — intolerances—side effects:

The adverse health effects of isoflavones is a controversial topic of debate amongst scientists. There are studies indicating both the positive and negative effects of isoflavones.10,11

Isoflavones were long considered to protect the heart. However, studies have disproved this and the European Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation (in effect since 2012) hardly mentions isoflavones. The benefits of isoflavones for problems associated with menopause and protection against osteoporosis are unclear. Similarly, there are contradictory findings about whether soy isoflavones encourage breast cancer to develop.11

Long-term studies regarding the safety of consuming isoflavone are lacking, as are evidence-based recommendations for the maximum daily dose of phytoestrogens. Dietary supplements containing isoflavones from soy or red clover extracts usually recommend a daily intake of 20–100 mg (sometimes up to 150 mg). Side effects of products containing isoflavones include nausea, constipation, and skin redness.11

Isoflavones are phytoestrogens and are similar to estrogen. Isoflavones can both activate and block estrogen receptors. They therefore have estrogenic and antiestrogenic effects that are only 50–0.0005 % of the effects produced by the body’s own estrogen. A soy-rich diet and food supplements with phytoestrogens can produce many times the amount of estrogen than the body produces naturally.10

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment advises women during and after menopause to avoid regularly taking food supplements that contain isoflavones. Women suffering from breast cancer and women with an increased risk of developing breast cancer should also avoid taking phytoestrogens. However, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment has not raised any objections to food that contains isoflavones.11

Baby food made from soy protein isolates has come under criticism because of the aluminum, phytate, and phytoestrogens it contains. Isoflavones can furthermore harm infants’ reproductive organs, immune system, and thyroid gland. Infants should only be given baby food based on soy protein if a physician prescribes it, for example, in cases of congenital lactose intolerance or the metabolic disorder galactosemia. Infants younger than 12 months should not be given food containing soy; instead, they should be given protein hydrolysates formula specially prepared for infants. According to the nutrition commission of the German Society for Pediatrics and Youth Medicine, children who are at risk of developing allergies should generally not consume soy products.8,11

Beans contain antinutrients such as lectins and alkaloids, which are toxic in large quantities. Edamame and green beans contain the lectin phasin. Eating a few raw green beans may be enough to cause serious symptoms of poisoning in adults, such as nausea, vomiting, and agglutination (red blood cells sticking together). Large quantities of raw beans can cause severe metabolic damage and long-term damage to the mucous membrane of the small intestine.7,12,13

Lectins are sensitive to heat and can be destroyed by boiling the beans for enough time. Fresh, frozen, and dried edamame should always be cooked before consumption and should not be eaten raw.7,12

If you sprout soybeans, the lectins decrease by 70–80% after 4–5 days. The lectins can be almost completely destroyed by heating the sprouts. The dose certainly makes the poison. We nonetheless do not recommend eating raw soybeans or mung bean sprouts.9,14

Soy is one of the 14 allergens; however, it is nonetheless frequently used in the food industry. People who are allergic to soy should be careful with processed foods. Pollen allergy sufferers also risk developing an allergy to soy.11

Edamame contain purines (protein compounds), which the body breaks down into uric acid. If you are prone to obesity or drinking large quantities of alcohol, purines can greatly increase the level of uric acid in the blood. Meat and offal, however, contain significantly more purines than legumes. If your uric acid intake is too high, the first step that you should take is to avoid animal products.8

Description — origin:

Soybeans originally come from China, where they have been cultivated since 2800 BCE. In the seventeenth century, soybeans reached North Africa via Indonesia and India, and in the nineteenth century they reached Europe and America.

However, soybeans thrive in warm areas and the plant was unable to mature in temperature zones. Today, varieties of soybeans that can be raised in varying climates have been developed, and soybeans can now be cultivated worldwide. America produces about three-quarters of the world’s soybeans, while cultivation in Europe remains low.6

According to Wikipedia, the first mention of edamame in historical records dates back to 1275 by a Japanese monk. Edamame first gained global attention in 1980 with the beginning of the sushi boom in California and a growing interest in Japanese culture.

Cultivation in the garden or as potted plants:

You can sow soybeans as soon as the night temperature is at least 10 to 12 °C. You can soak the seeds in water to speed up the germination process. Plant the beans about 3 centimeters deep into the soil, leaving 5 centimeters between each bean. Cover the beans with soil and press them down well. Leave at least 40 centimeters between each row of beans.

You can also grow edamame in a flowerpot. The plants can reach a height of up to one meter and should be able to grow on a beanpole. Unripe soybeans (i.e., edamame) can be harvested after about two months. You can tell that they are ready for harvest if you can see the beans inside the pod. The fluffy hairs on the pod should be a light to beige-brown color. If you stagger the sowing of the seeds you can carry out the harvest over a longer period.15

Cultivation — harvest:

Edamame are primarily commercially cultivated in Asia. Large distributors import the frozen beans to the rest of the world.3

Animal protection — species protection — animal welfare:

Crop rotations, intense weed control, and early flowering canola fields can result in bees not getting enough pollen, nectar, and honeydew. Including legumes such as beans, peas, and soybeans in crop rotations can allow bees to keep finding food in midsummer. Provided the weather is warm enough, the legumes’ flowers will open up and offer at least small amounts of nectar.16,17

General information:

Edamame is the name given to immature soybean pods (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) Soybeans belong to the subfamily Faboideae in the legume family (Leguminosae or Fabaceae).

Edamame literally means stem beans in Japanese (jap. 枝豆).1

Are sugar snap peas edamame? Sugar snap peas, also known as snap peas and mangetout, are peas, not beans (Pisum sativum subsp. sativum convar. axiphium). You can find out why peas, unlike beans, are edible raw in our article on sugar snap peas.

Alternative names:

Edamame are also known as edamame beans, vegetable soybeans, beer beans, green beans, green soybeans, stem beans, and beans on a branch.

Literature — sources:

17 sources

Many researchers do not believe that Wikipedia is an authoritative source. One reason for this is that the information about literature cited and authors is often missing or unreliable. Our pictograms for nutritional values provide also information on calories (kcal).

  1. Wikipedia Edamame.
  2. sojafoerderring.de Edamame. PDF.
  3. beobachter.ch Das Glück aus der Schote.
  4. klausboehler.ch Edamame.
  5. USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Nährstofftabellen.
  6. bzfe.de (Bundeszentrum für Ernährung) Hülsenfrüchte sind Kraftpakete.
  7. Wikipedia Hülsenfrüchtler.
  8. bzfe.de (Bundeszentrum für Ernährung) Hülsenfrüchte: Gesund essen.
  9. Leitzmann, Claus. Dittrich, Kathi. Ihr Einkaufsführer: bioaktive Substanzen: Pflanzenpower für das Immunsystem.
  10. ugb.de (Unabhängige Gesundheitsberatung) Isoflavone aus der Sojabohne.
  11. ugb.de (Unabhängige Gesundheitsberatung) Wie ist der zunehmende Verzehr von Sojalebensmitteln gesundheitlich zu bewerten?
  12. srf.ch Edamame: So wächst der gesunde Snack in Ihrem Garten.
  13. aid Infodienst (Herausgeber). Gemüse. 21. Auflage. Bonn; 2014. Druckerei Lokay e. K. Reinheim.
  14. ugb.de (Unabhängige Gesundheitsberatung) Sind Lektine im Gemüse schädlich?
  15. verbraucherfenster.hessen.de Solanin & Lektin: Wie giftig sind Kartoffeln, Bohnen & Tomaten?
  16. lfl.bayern.de Bienen in der Kulturlandschaft. PDF.
  17. sojafoerderring.de Ökologische Aspekte des Sojaanbaus in Deutschland.

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