Edamame is a very common side dish or snack in many different cuisines. It is delicious, very nutritious, and it goes with pretty much anything! It’s no surprise that edamame is becoming more and more popular.
But, there is much conflicting information regarding whether edamame is keto-friendly, or whether it isn’t. That’s why we are here to help. If you’re wondering whether edamame is keto, check out the in-depth guide below.
We cover everything you need to know, from the specific nutritional information of edamame, to delicious low-carb edamame dishes that you should try, and everything in between! Check it out.
What Are Edamame Beans?
You might be surprised to find out that edamame beans are whole, immature soybeans. They are also known as vegetable-type soybeans. Edamame beans have a bright green color and are served as an appetizer in many cuisines.
However, they tend to be found in cuisines that have their origins in East Asia. In fact, soybean plants were originally cultivated in China around 7000 years ago. They tend to be either boiled or steamed and served with salt.
Edamame Nutritional Profile
Edamame contains high amounts of certain minerals and vitamins. It is also known to be very high in fiber. To learn more about the nutritional profile of edamame, check out the in-depth table below. It shows the nutrients in one cup of cooked edamame.
|Protein||37% of Daily Value|
|Calcium||10% of Daily Value|
|Iron||20% of Daily Value|
|Magnesium||25% of Daily Value|
|Phosphorus||25% of Daily Value|
|Potassium||19% of Daily Value|
|Folate||115% of Daily Value|
|Vitamin K1||56% of Daily Value|
|Thiamine||20% of Daily Value|
|Riboflavin||14% of Daily Value|
|Copper||27% of Daily Value|
Obviously the nutritional content of edamame will also depend on how it is cooked. If it is fried in oil it will be more unhealthy than if it is boiled or steamed. As such, keep this in mind if you are consuming edamame for its nutritional benefits.
Edamame Health Benefits
There are a number of health benefits associated with eating edamame. Take a look at the best ones below!
Lower Cholesterol Levels
Whilst more research is needed, some studies have found promising results regarding the effects of soy protein on high cholesterol levels. One study found that people who ate around 25g of soy protein per day had a 4% reduction in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
There are uncertainties as to whether this reduction in cholesterol can be translated to a lower risk of heart disease. However, the Food and Drug Administration does approve claims that soy protein can help to prevent heart disease.
Regulates Blood Sugar
People who follow diets that include many easily digested carbohydrates are at risk of chronic disease because these foods lead to poor blood sugar regulation. Such people are also at risk of developing type II diabetes.
Unlike many other beans, edamame does not raise blood sugar levels. Thanks to the fact that edamame has a low carbohydrate content, especially when considered relative to its protein and fat content, edamame is suitable for people at risk of, or living with, diabetes.
High Protein Content
If you follow the keto diet, you know just how important protein is. It is crucial for our bodies to maintain healthy processes. Whilst it is easiest to get protein from animal products, there are a few plant-based foods that are especially high in protein too.
In fact, beans are some of the best sources of protein for people who follow a plant-based diet. As you can see from the table above, edamame, in particular, is an excellent source of protein. They also provide all of the essential amino acids that your body needs.
Reduce Cancer Risk
There are many conflicting opinions regarding this topic. However, many studies focused on Asain populations have concluded that a high intake of soy products may be associated with a slight reduction in the risk of breast cancer.
Additionally, studies have also indicated that soy-based products can help to protect people from prostate cancer. More research is needed to support such studies, but the results so far are very promising.
Reduce Menopausal Symptoms
Menopause is a natural process. However, it can be associated with many challenging and life-changing symptoms. Many people experience hot flashes, intense mood swings, sweating, and much more.
Studies have shown that, amongst some people, soybeans may work to reduce these symptoms slightly. It is thought that Asain populations are more likely to experience this benefit than Western populations, but the evidence isn’t entirely consistent.
Reduce Osteoporosis Risk
Osteoporosis is a condition that results in brittle or fragile bones. It is most common in older populations. Some studies have concluded that regularly consuming products with soy protein may lower the risk of osteoporosis.
Specifically, studies have concluded that people who consume more soy products during menopause and postmenopause are less likely to experience osteoporosis. However, more research is required.
Edamame Health Risks
As previously mentioned, there are a number of inconclusive results regarding the health benefits of edamame. And, there are a few potential risks involved in consuming a lot of edamame.
First, when eaten raw or undercooked, edamame can cause digestive problems. These can include bloating, gas, and cramping. As such, if you have IBS, it is best that you steer clear of edamame.
There is also some evidence to suggest that edamame can hinder the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals. This is because it contains antinutrients. In turn, this could have consequences for the thyroid function. However, more evidence is required.
Is Edamame Keto?
Now that you’re equipped with lots of edamame knowledge, you’re likely wondering, but… is it keto? Well, the answer is a little bit more complicated than you might assume, because technically, edamame is a legume.
If you’re been doing your research thoroughly, you’ll know that legumes are typically avoided when one is following a particularly strict keto diet. As such, if you plan on following such a diet, edamame will be off the table for you.
However, it is important to note that edamame is a special type of legume. It is low-carb, low on the GI scale, and is an excellent source of plant-based protein, fiber, and a number of vitamins.
As such, if you don’t follow a super strict diet, you could consume edamame.
If you’re following a less restrictive keto diet, and you fancy incorporating edamame into your dishes, take a look at these great recipes.
If you’re a fan of a sesame and peanut style stir fry, you will absolutely love this Edamame Keto Stir-Fry. It is absolutely bursting with protein and nutrition, and it is super delicious! It’s the best of both worlds.
If you’re struggling to find good side dishes or snacks when you’re on the keto diet, this recipe is perfect. The combination of garlic, parmesan, and crunchy edamame is just to die for! Your mouth will water just by reading the recipe.
Finally, if you’re craving some pasta, you should check out this low carb edamame spaghetti. Whilst it may not fit perfectly into the keto diet, it is still low-carb and absolutely bursting with nutrition! It’s perfect for lazy and unmotivated days.
Following the keto diet can feel very tricky sometimes – especially when there is conflicting advice regarding what foods are keto-friendly and what foods aren’t! We hope that this article has helped you understand edamame and its place within the keto diet.