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Learn to Love: Edamame

Looking for a tasty snack that's full of protein and fiber but low in carbs and calories? I'm talking about edamame, baby soybeans still in the pod. Beans might not seem like the most delicious snack in the world, but once you try them, you'll fall for their fresh and slightly sweet flavor; plus they're a fun to eat finger-food. Sprinkle a little salt on them and they'll satisfy your salty cravings.

I first had edamame as an appetizer at a sushi restaurant, but you can pick some up to have at home too. Look for bags of frozen edamame. Buy them in the pods to eat as a snack, or for convenience sake buy them already shelled and add the beans to soups, salads, and stir-fries.

Just how healthy are these little soybeans? To find out

A half a cup of boiled edamame in the pods (just eating the beans inside) provides four grams of fiber and eight grams of protein, for only nine grams of carbs and 100 calories. Impressive indeed!

There has been some debate about the benefits and safety of soy. Some worry about the connection between eating soybeans or soy products and developing breast cancer, but as of now, the American Institute for Cancer Research stresses that there's no conclusive evidence between the two. Studies have shown that the isoflavones in soybeans may help to treat high blood pressure, prevent osteoporosis, and lower cholesterol (soy protein is a great alternative to high-fat animal protein). If you agree that those are some great reasons to start including more soy in your diet, then edamame is a great choice.

Let me know how you feel about this wonder snack in the comments section below.

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