If you've ever sucked the beans out of an edamame pod - after being boiled in a sea salt bath - and enjoyed the nutty, mild flavor, you'll be pleased to know, the snack decision was well made. Many snack-like foods provide a calorie-laden burst in energy that is soon followed by a drop in insulin, and that crash we all despise. If your energy levels are in serious need of elevation, look no further than this satisfying nosh.
Let's address first that edamame is a green (or immature) soybean, and in recent times soy has come under some speculation as it pertains to women's health, breast cancer in particular. There's been a plethora of media hype and inconclusive studies, but a study in the June 2004 issue of Carcinogenesis found that processed soy products/supplements are the ones that could potentially be harmful in large doses, that is compared with whole soy foods. Thankfully, edamame is in fact a whole, unprocessed form of soy! For more about why women should enjoy soy, read The Joy of Soy, and make up your own mind.
And on to this healthy food which will go the distance for your body.
A single serving of edamame, or half a cup (1 1/8 cup if still in the pods), comes equipped with exactly the right mélange of nutrients to boost your energy and your state of mind. Tryptophan, which improves sleep, mood and helps regulate appetite, is bursting from these little soybeans, coming in at 58 percent of the recommended daily amount. In the same serving, you'll get 28 percent of the recommended amount of protein, 22 percent of your daily omega-3 fatty acids, 20 percent of fiber, and 25 percent of your daily iron — all star contributors to sustained energy.
You'd have to eat a lot of whole wheat toast to equal the amount of fiber in edamame, as well as a 4-ounce chicken breast to get as much iron (which might be a contributing factor to fatigue in the first place). You'll also be receiving a good dose of a couple of our favorite antioxidants, vitamins C and A.
When it comes directly to energy, soybeans are also rich with the essential trace mineral, molybdenum, shown to enhance alertness and concentration, while aiding in the balancing out of blood sugar levels. It also helps metabolize fats and carbs while making sure cells are functioning properly, and anemia is at bay. Perfect! You can see why edamame was made for energy.
The kicker, edamame's packed with folate, a natural mood booster that fights against depression by helping out those serotonin levels.
So, instead of chips, dip, cookies and crackers, consider edamame when snack time rolls around.