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Is Edamame Good for Diabetics?

By Catherine Cox

If you have diabetes, edamame makes a nutritious snack, side dish or recipe ingredient. Edamame is soybeans harvested at the peak of ripening but before hardening. They are then par-boiled and quick-frozen. Edamame is a great source of complete protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. It can easily be included in your diabetic meal plan, whether you use exchange lists or carbohydrate counting.

Macronutrients

According to USDA National Nutrient Database, a ½ cup serving of edamame contains 95 calories. It is a rare plant source of complete, or high quality, protein, containing 8.4 g. Protein is important for building and repairing body tissues. High quality sources provide amino acids in the proportions that your body requires. A ½ cup serving also contains 4 g total fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 1 g monounsaturated fatty acids, 1.7 g polyunsaturated fatty acids and 0.3 g omega-3 fatty acids. Edamame contains 7.7 g carbohydrates and 4 g fiber.

Vitamins

Edamame is a good source of several vitamins. It provides 60 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance for folate, which helps in the production of red blood cells and DNA and prevents neural tube defects. It also provides 26 percent of the RDA for vitamin K, which aids blood clotting. Edamame contains 10 percent of the RDA for thiamin, which aids in carbohydrate metabolism and heart, muscles and nervous system function. It is a fair source of riboflavin, vitamin C and choline, with 7 to 8 percent of the RDA for these vitamins.

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Minerals

Edamame is also a good source of several minerals. It provides 40 percent of the RDA for manganese, a mineral that aids in bone formation and energy metabolism. Edamame contains 13 percent of the RDA for phosphorus, magnesium and copper and 10 percent for iron and potassium. A part of every cell membrane, phosphorus is important for energy production and bone and teeth formation. Magnesium helps muscles and nerves function, steadies heart rhythm, keeps bones strong and acts as a cofactor for many enzymes. Copper assists iron metabolism, iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen to body tissues and potassium helps with fluid balance and muscle and nervous system function. It is a fair source of calcium and zinc, with 5 and 7 percent of the RDA, respectively.

Meal Planning

If you use the Exchange Lists for Meal Planning, the serving size for shelled edamame is ½ cup. The equivalent portion for edamame in the pods is 1 1/2 cups. Each serving counts as ½ of a carbohydrate choice and one lean protein or meat choice. If you use the carbohydrate counting method, keep in mind that each ½ cup edamame contains 7.7 g carbohydrate.

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