Eat a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables every day!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Edamame

Soybeans / Edamame – One of the most widely grown legumes in the world, soybeans are an excellent source of high quality protein.

They also contain high levels of essential fatty acids, numerous vitamins and minerals, isoflavones, and fiber. You can buy a bag of the frozen edamame already shelled so it’s easy and affordable.

Here's what you'll find in a half-cup serving of shelled edamame (or 1 1/8 cup edamame in the pods):

  • 120 calories
  • 9 grams fiber
  • 2.5 grams fat
  • 1.5 grams polyunsaturated fat (0.3 grams plant omega-3 fatty acids)
  • 0.5 gram monounsaturated fat
  • 11 grams protein
  • 13 grams carbohydrate
  • 15 mg sodium
  • 10% of the Daily Value for vitamin C
  • 10% Daily Value for iron
  • 8% Daily Value for vitamin A
  • 4% Daily Value for calcium


The Soy Debate



The idea that soy is a wonder food has lost a bit of ground recently. An analysis of nearly 200 soy studies done over the past 20 years found that no firm conclusions could be made about most of the proposed benefits of soy.

According to Mark Messina, PhD, president of the nutritional consulting firm Nutrition Matters, these results aren't surprising because firm conclusions can be made only on the basis of large, long-term studies. As you might expect, these types of studies are very expensive.

"Consequently, most of the soy studies have been relatively short in duration and usually involved relatively small subject numbers," explains Messina.

Although most researchers agree that further research is needed, recent studies propose the following possible health benefits of soy:

Soy protein may help reduce insulin resistance, kidney damage, and fatty liver in people with diabetes, according to a study in rats.


A new study from the Chinese University of Hong Kong indicated that soy protein containing isoflavones (phytoestrogens) significantly reduced overall cholesterol and LDL "bad" cholesterol, and raised HDL or "good" cholesterol, especially in men.

A study in women reported that regular consumption of soy foods was associated with healthy cholesterol levels.
The component thought to be at least partly responsible for soy's health benefits is a type of phytoestrogen called isoflavones. Isoflavones also appear to work with certain proteins in soy to protect against cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis.

Results from a new study in China suggest that eating more soybean protein may help prevent and treat hypertension.

A study in which 12 postmenopausal women drank 36 ounces of soy milk daily for 16 weeks noted an anti-inflammatory effect of the isoflavones found in soy. According to the study authors, this may be important in the prevention of bone loss and cancer, among other things.
The bottom line: "It remains prudent to recommend soy in a heart-healthy diet because of [its] nutritional value and as a healthy substitute for protein sources that are higher in saturated fat and cholesterol," says Pennsylvania State University nutrition researcher Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD.

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