My kid loves edamame. I read that it’s not safe to eat too much? Is that true? And if so, how much is too much?

photo from

Edamame (soybean) are growing in popularity with kids because of its easy, pop-it-in-your-mouth snackability and mild sweet flavor. This mighty bean is a delicious plant-based source of protein, contains no cholesterol and it’s loaded with healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins and minerals.  Just 1 cup provides 50% percent of the daily value of protein and just shy of that for iron, making it a good substitute for animal proteins for vegetarians.  Nutritionally these naturally neon green beans that grow in hairy pods are an excellent source of vitamin K, the B vitamins (B6, riboflavin, folate) and the minerals calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, copper, and manganese.  It’s also a good source of thiamin and the antioxidant trace minerals selenium and zinc. WOW, are these superstar beans!  So what’s all the fuss about?

Soy contains natural phytoestrogens which mirror human estrogen in the body which has been the subject of a fair amount of controversy over the years.  It has not been proven that soy has any negative effects on health, and, in fact, its unique phytoestrogen compounds have been associated with many positive effects, like lowering cholesterol, reducing the risk of some forms of cancer and menopausal systems, such as hot flashes.  It’s also been studied extensively in Asian countries where soyfood products, such as tofu, tempeh and edamame are staples in the diet and certain disease risks are low.  However, because of the estrogenic effect, when I counsel patients who have a family history of breast cancer or have an estrogen-dependent cancer, I recommend that they avoid soyfood products altogether to be on the safe side.

For healthy kids and adults, moderation is the best approach.  Eat 1 serving a day (1 cup or 172g) and stick with edamame or the natural forms of soy, not the highly processed soyfood products.  Also, since soybeans are high on the list of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) crops, look for non-GMO labels on frozen and fresh products in your local supermarket.

If you have a high carb-loader kid (many kids are), there’s nothing wrong with including edamame as part of a balanced diet including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products or dairy alternatives.

Check out our Green Edamame Dip included in Appetite for Life served with cut up veggies or pita chips. It always gets double thumbs up!


Green Edamame Dip

The edamame give this dip its green color; the flaxseed oil and walnuts make it a good source of healthy fats.  Serve with baby carrots, celery sticks, and bell pepper slices, or use it as a spread in a whole wheat wrap or sandwich with your favorite fillings.


1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) shelled edamame (soybeans)

¾ cup walnuts

½ cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves

¼ cup + 2 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt

1 teaspoon flaxseed oil

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1 small clove garlic

Sliced raw vegetables and/or pita chips



1.      In food processor, place all ingredients except vegetables and pita chips. Pulse until ingredients are well blended and mixture is smooth.

2.      Serve with cut-up vegetables or pita chips or cover and refrigerate up to 4 days.


Makes 13 servings (2 tablespoons per serving).

Nutrition Facts per serving: 60 calories; 5g fat (0g sat fat, 1g mono, 3g poly, 0g trans fat); 0mg cholesterol; 3g carbohydrate (1g fiber, 1g sugar); 2g protein; 20mg sodium; 6% Daily Value (DV) vitamin A; 6% DV vitamin C; 2% DV calcium; 4% DV iron.


What puzzles you about keeping your family healthy?  Tell us what’s on your mind by emailing [email protected].  We’ll answer those questions here weekly.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email