Edamame looks small and unassuming, but pound for pound it provides as much fiber and soy protein as any other food available. Edamame are soybeans that are picked right as they ripen, before they naturally begin to harden on the branches. The raw pods are typically boiled served still within their pod, looking somewhat like snap peas on steroids as the beans are much more robust than peas. They are then removed from the pod usually by pinching them through the thick outer skin and then eaten.
Fresh edamame are sometimes served with the pods already removed and they can also come dried, adding a slight crunch to the texture, accenting more of the nutty nature to the flavor. They are so revered, especially for dieters; for such a small item, they have the ability to keep you full for a long period of time. Why is that the case? Below you’ll find some facts about why edamames have the power to keep you satisfied.
One of the main reasons edamame provide such a hearty snack is their fiber content. Just a half cup of edamame provides 5 grams of fiber. That’s as much as 1 full cup of cooked broccoli or 1 medium sized baked sweet potato. So, the concentration of fiber is very high given the amount that you’ll actually eat. Since foods that are high in fiber are water soluble, once they enter your stomach they begin to soak up the liquids that are already present. In so doing, they swell inside of you making you feel fuller simply because they take up more space. So, the edamame works sort of like a sponge. Though it enters your system a small bean, the high fiber content allows it to expand in your stomach and, in the end, last longer than food with a lower fiber content. It’s almost as if its life is just beginning once it enters your mouth. Fiber also has been shown to lower cholesterol and lower your risk of heart disease later in life. So, its benefits go far beyond simply making you feel fuller longer.
Edamame is also high in soy protein, a source for all amino acids that are essential to your body. Since foods with higher protein counts (such as meats, nuts and fish) are typically lower in carbohydrates, they tend to keep you fuller over a longer period of time. High-carb foods are better for quicker energy bursts because your body processes them much more quickly. Your body digests high-protein foods at a much slower rate, which means your body is holding onto the food and nutrients for a longer period of time.
Researchers have also found that soy protein releases hormones similar to leptin (a hormone released by your fat cells) that alert your brain that it is full. So, even on a basic chemical level, the soy protein allows your body a longer feeling of fullness.
Edamame are not only delicious and handy snacks, they are also perfect for those between-meal-snackers who just can’t resist heading to the refrigerator a couple of hours before dinner. It will definitely provide better nourishment than any salty snack and will ultimately lead to less snack trips as well.