Have You Discovered The Health Benefits Of Edamame Beans?
Edamame – the Japanese term for ‘stem beans’ - are green, immature soy beans, picked before they ripen, which can be eaten raw, boiled or steamed. They are rich in oestrogen-like plant hormones, known as isoflavones, and are also a good source of vitamins (B, C, K and folate) as well as minerals such as manganese, magnesium, iron and zinc.
Reducing Menopausal Symptoms
Edamame and other soy bean products help to reduce menopausal symptoms by interacting with oestrogen receptors in the body. Although their action is several hundred times weaker than human oestrogen, they provide a useful hormone boost when female oestrogen levels fall in later life. Soy isoflavones also provide some protection against heart disease and osteoporosis for older men and women, too.
Protecting Against Wrinkles
As oestrogen levels fall in the years leading up to the menopause, skin tends to become thinner with dryness, itching, slackness and wrinkling. These effects are hastened by the damaging effects of sunlight. Oestrogen-like plant hormones found in edamame and other soy products interact with oestrogen receptors in the skin to boost collagen production and reduce the sun-induced inflammation. This can improve skin elasticity, hydration and radiance, increase the thickness of supporting tissues and reduce the formation of crow’s feet and other signs of skin ageing.
In Asia, where isoflavone intakes are high, the risk of breast and prostate cancers is unusually low. It’s thought that some of this protection comes from the way soy isoflavones interact with hormone receptors in these parts of the body. Isoflavones may help to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, too.
Adding Edamame To Your Diet
Edamame are widely available frozen and can be added to soups, stews, bean salads, risottos, or mashed with avocado and a little healthy nut oil to make a healthy dip. When having them steamed in the pod as a pre-meal snack at Japanese restaurants, opt for those accompanied by a spicy sauce, instead of salt crystals (most of us get far too much salt which can increase fluid retention and raise blood pressure in some people).
Image credit: United Soybean Board https://www.flickr.com/photos/unitedsoybean/10059652976
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