Edamame Beans: Are they Unhealthy for My Child?


Edamame beans are soybeans still in the pod. They are sold loose or frozen and are consumed in snacks, side dishes, or appetizers. You might love consuming edamame beans, and they make for a great food item too: low in calories and fat while having mineral and vitamin content. As great as edamame beans are, they may not be entirely suitable to give to your baby.

Being a parent is quite a challenging task, and a part of this is because it is quite difficult to figure out what to give your child at what age. Edamame beans are actually allergens which can be quite difficult for your baby to handle. In fact, if you introduce a soy allergen too early for your baby it puts him/her at risk for developing a soy allergy.

Is Edamame Beans Safe for Children?

edamame beans

What are the risks associated with edamame beans?

Edamame beans are made from genetically modified soy beans, which makes them unsafe as it is. While soy has been idealized as one of the most nutritious foods, more and more research is suggesting that it is not so.  A lot of vegetarians go to soy as a replacement for the protein they’re not getting in meat, but research suggests that soy can cause cancer and other gastrointestinal problems and is not a very nutritious food.

Edamame has been seen to disrupt digestion as well. The protease inhibitors present in high amounts in edamame suppress some of the key enzymes that help digest protein.

Because these inhibitors block the protease enzyme needed to digest protein, the pancreas has to work overtime to produce more. Occasional consumption of edamame won’t prove an issue since the pancreas can recover from something like that once or twice. But if edamame is consumed frequently and regularly and in large amounts, there is no recovery period and this leads to an increase of both the number of pancreatic cells (hyperplasia) and the size of those cells (hypertrophy).


This problem gets especially aggravated if you are a regular consumer of other soy products, such as soy milk. In children especially, it could lead to a growth problem for children.

Read More: 21 Foods that Worsen Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Children

The plant estrogens present in edamame and other soy products could also pose a danger:

  • Regular consumption of genistein and daidzein, which is present in edamame and other soy products, has been seen to stimulate existing breast cancer.
  • Pregnant women, when consuming large amounts of soy proteins and soy products, make male fetuses more susceptible to prostate cancer later in life.
  • A study of young adult men experienced a 19% drop in serum testosterone in only 28 days when supplemented with 56 grams of soy protein over that same time period.

This goes to show that not only is edamame not good for your child, it is probably not safe to consume in large quantities at any point in life. It even poses a threat to developing fetuses.

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What are the side effects of edamame consumption?

Apart from the risks that have been associated with excessive consumption of edamame beans and other soy products, the main reason that you shouldn’t give it to your baby is that they’re soybeans, and some babies will either be allergic to soy or will have trouble processing it at such a young age.


Once your child is past the toddler years they can pretty much handle whatever food the rest of the family is eating, in appropriate portions of course.

However, you must still keep in mind that soy proteins and other products have come under considerable scrutiny in the recent years, and experts are now undecided at best as to whether or not soy and its products are even good for humans to consume. Therefore, there is no reason for you to stress on giving it to your child since it won’t really be helping in any way.

The shape and size of the beans are also not recommended for babies and toddlers since it could be a choking hazard.

Another concern associated with edamame beans is, of course, its allergenic property. Soy has been seen to cause stomach inflammation and therefore can cause digestive issues in your child. Many people have an allergy to soy, and it you must wait until your child has passed his/her toddler years to see if he/she has one. If you introduce your baby to soy too early and his/her body is not able to process it, then your child is more likely to develop a soy allergy.

Therefore, it is wise to hold off on giving edamame beans to your baby.

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The conclusion here is that edamame beans are not recommended for babies or toddlers. They aren’t particularly nutritious and have been seen to cause many ill/side effects. Additionally, there are a lot of other vegetables and fruits that you can give to your baby that will be nutritious and will not pose a threat- whether immediate or later in life. Therefore, it is better to hold off on the edamame bean snack until your child is about five or six years of age and his/her body is capable enough to digest soy. Even if you love edamame beans and want to give it to your baby early on, mash it or cut it up into smaller pieces so that it doesn’t prove a choking hazard. If you must, give it to your baby is extremely small quantities.

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Can I Give My Baby Edamame?