Naturopathic Kitchen: How to Eat Edamame (& Why You Should)

A bowl of seasoned edamame in the shell.

Edamame beans are whole soybeans in the pod before they’ve fully matured. Edamame is mostly sold frozen in North America. You can find shelled options or edamame in the pod, depending on your preference.


The Health Benefits of Edamame

Good Source of Protein

Making sure you get adequate daily protein is essential for health. If you are vegan or limit your meat intake, it is especially important to think about plant-based sources of protein. Many plants do not contain large quantities of protein, but there are some notable exceptions. Beans are one of the best sources of plant-based protein. A cup of cooked edamame gives you approximately 18.4 grams of protein. 1  Edamame is also remarkable because it has all the essential amino acids your body needs, unlike most other plant proteins. 2 

May Promote Blood Sugar Regulation

Individuals who frequently consume large amounts of easily digested carbohydrates, such as sugar, may face a higher risk of chronic diseases. This heightened risk stems from the fact that a diet rich in quickly digested carbohydrates leads to elevated blood sugar levels after meals and poor regulation of blood sugar, increasing the likelihood of developing health conditions like diabetes and metabolic syndrome.3 

Unlike some other legumes, edamame does not cause significant spikes in blood sugar levels. It contains fewer carbohydrates compared to protein and fat. It also has a very low score on the glycemic index, which measures how much foods raise blood sugar levels. 4 

Bone Health

Osteoporosis, or bone loss, is a condition marked by brittle and fragile bones that are at an increased risk of fracture. It is especially common in older adults and post-menopausal women. Some studies have found that regularly consuming soy protein products that are rich in isoflavones, like edamame, may lower the risk of osteoporosis in both menopausal and postmenopausal women. 5 6 While more research is needed on this topic, adding more edamame to your diet may be beneficial if you are concerned about bone loss.

Note of caution: if you have a family history of estrogen-sensitive reproductive cancer, please seek out medical guidance prior to increasing edamame consumption.


How to Eat Edamame

It can be hard to know how to integrate edamame into your diet. Here are some simple ways to prepare and eat more edamame.

Simple Ways to Cook Edamame

Cook edamame in salted, boiling water for about five to seven minutes, until the beans are tender and bright green. Drain the beans and serve.

Prepare steamed edamame by adding the beans, shell on or off depending on your preference, to a steaming basket and steam until tender. Frozen edamame will be ready in three to five minutes, fresh edamame will take about eight to ten minutes.

You can even roast edamame in an air fryer! Lightly toss or spray the edamame with avocado oil and salt, and place in the air fryer in a single layer. Cook at 390 for 7-9 minutes.  

Once cooked, you can use edamame in countless ways! Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Spice up your edamame with seasonings of your choice, such as sesame oil, flaky sea salt, spicy chili flakes, sesame seeds, fresh lemon or lime juice, or freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Add edamame to your favorite stir-fry
  • Make edamame hummus by substituting edamame beans for chickpeas in your go-to hummus recipe
  • Add edamame to noodle salads or hot pasta dishes
  • Toss shelled edamame into a batch of vegetable soup


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