Many Japanese have heard the saying that soybeans are the “meat that grows in the fields” — a reference to their abundant healthy proteins. But the soybean’s power does not end there.

As a health food, soybeans began attracting attention following the discovery that their lecithin helps prevent the increase of cholesterol. More recent research has focused on the cancer-inhibiting properties of soybeans.

In 1990, the United States government allocated $20 million of its budget to the study of cancer-inhibiting properties of some items which became known as “designer foods.”

When these cancer-inhibiting designer foods were arranged in a pyramid, with the most effective foods at the top, soybeans ranked in the top eight. Saponin and isoflavone are among the components which researchers are studying for their cancer-inhibiting qualities.

Of course, inhibiting cancer is not the only benefit of soybeans. Soybeans contain vitamin B complex which breaks down fiber, sugars, fats and proteins; vitamin E which prevents the oxidation of fats; and iron, calcium and other minerals.


Ask any Japanese person what goes well with beer. Chances are, they will answer “edamame.” Edamame are young, underdeveloped soybeans that are harvested branches and all. It is said that this is how edamame, which means, “beans on branches,” got its name. Like soybeans, edamame contain healthy minerals such as calcium, potassium and iron, and is full of vitamins A and B1; they have lots of vitamin C, which mature soybeans do not.

Did you know that edamame with beer is extremely good for you? Vitamin B1 in edamame increases your metabolism, helping your body more efficiently break down the alcohol in the beer and lessening the load on your liver.

Remember, however, that even edamame cannot protect you from over-drinking. As in all things, moderation is key.

(Translated by Roy Mashima)

(The information provided should not be construed as medical advice or instruction. Consult your physician before attempting any new program. Readers who fail to consult appropriate health authorities assume the risk of developing serious medical conditions.)


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