How Are Sugar Snap Peas And Edamame Different?

Edamame is a type of soybean that's been a staple in Asian diets for thousands of years. More recently, it has gained favor in the west thanks to both its versatility and many health benefits. Unlike other soybeans, edamame can be eaten raw, which has made it a popular snack food. However, edamame is often mistaken for its cousin, the sugar snap pea, which can also be eaten without any preparation. The mistake is somewhat understandable, given their very similar green color and oblong shape. However, the two have a number of differences.

Sugar snap peas are actually a cross between a snow pea and a standard pea. Both sugar snap peas and edamame are a part of the legume family, but they vary widely in taste. As the name suggests, sugar snap peas are sweeter, with a crispy and refreshing crunch. Each sugar snap pea pod usually contains several peas, and the whole thing is eaten together, pod and all. Whereas with edamame, the legumes are removed from the pod and eaten separately, according to Everyday Health. The soybean can also be distinguished by its more bitter taste and slightly thicker rind.

Edamame and sugar snap peas both provide many health benefits

Edamame also boasts several additional health benefits, most notably a high protein content. While both legumes are good sources of protein, edamame contains about 18.5 grams of protein in each cup, as well as essential amino acids that make it a complete protein source, according to Healthline. It also contains high amounts of fiber, folate, vitamin K, manganese, and is a great plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids, which makes it a very popular snack among vegetarians.

Sugar snap peas also provide many health benefits. They are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, and beta-carotene. Adding sugar snap peas to your diet can help improve bone health, boost the immune system, and aid in healthy digestion, according to WebMD. They're also a fat-free, low-calorie source of iron, calcium, and potassium, via Verywell Fit.

Both sugar snap peas and edamame are a healthy, tasty snack, so there really is no one that's a superior choice. Whether you choose one or the other simply depends on your personal preference, or better yet, you can always add both to your diet to reap the many health benefits each food offers.