Updated: Jul 20, 2019
This humble baby soybean has become very popular and there’s good reasons for that. They are rich in nutrients such as protein, calcium, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, folate, calcium etc etc and they are, of course, high in fibre. Just one cup of edamame provides you with 10% of your calcium needs, 16% of Vit C, 20% iron and is ~ 770 kj. They are very versatile, eat them as a snack of throw them in a soup or salad. Delicious!
Some may be worried about the phytoestrogen content?????
The research goes both ways here. Older studies suggested that phytoestrogens weren't that great for us and can affect our fertility in a negative way. In contrast, a recent study found that phytoestrogens protected women from BPA’s that we have gathered in our bodies over the years from plastics and various other sources. They also believe that instead of avoiding soy and phytoestrogens, when you are trying to get pregnant (especially those using IVF), you should embrace them.
Another study from Harvard suggests that protein and iron from plant sources (such as edamame) can promote fertility. They can also be good for the unborn child due to their high content of folate which helps to prevent neural tube defect. Right now, I’ve become a bit of a fence sitter with this conundrum as there are a number of other factors, such as diet, stress and overall health, if you are trying to get pregnant through the IVF process that need to be taken into consideration.
We’ve also been told that phytoestrogens aren’t great for male fertility and sperm in particular. There’s not a lot of new research in this area either but the older studies suggest that long-term exposure to dietary soy and phytoestrogens may decrease sperm count and fertility in men to a small degree................. What to make of this. It’s all about moderation again isn’t it.
Chavarro, J. E., Mínguez-Alarcón, L., Chiu, Y.-H., Gaskins, A. J., Souter, I., Williams, P. L., . . . Team, E. S. (2016). Soy Intake Modifies the Relation Between Urinary Bisphenol A Concentrations and Pregnancy Outcomes Among Women Undergoing Assisted Reproduction. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism, 101(3), 1082-1090. doi:10.1210/jc.2015-3473
The Harvard Medical School, https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/follow-fertility-diet.
Image sourced from Creative Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Edamame_-_boild_green_soybeans.jpg