Some of us might be thinking that green peas are just for a restaurant side dish that puts green on our plate. For sure many of us really don’t know about the impressive nutrition found inside these seeds.
Green peas are small, spherical seeds that come from the pod-fruit Pisum sativum. For hundreds of years, they have been a part of the human diet. Though peas are often used as vegetables, they are botanically classified as a fruit.
In addition to its culinary use, green peas can also help maintain our health as they are packed with disease-fighting antioxidant, protein, fiber and a lot more.
Green Peas Nutrition
Green peas are low in calories but high in fiber and protein, plus an array of micronutrients, such as vitamin C, K, thiamine, and manganese.
One cup (about 160 grams) of cooked green peas contains approximately:
- 134 calories
- 8.6 grams protein
- 8.8 grams dietary fiber
- 0.4-gram fat
- 25 grams carbohydrates
- 41.4 micrograms vitamin K (52 percent DV)
- 0.3 milligram vitamin B6 (17 percent DV)
- 3.2 milligrams niacin (16 percent DV)
- 62.4 milligrams magnesium (16 percent DV)
- 0.8 milligram manganese (42 percent DV)
- 22.7 milligrams vitamin C (38 percent DV)
- 0.4 milligram thiamine (28 percent DV)
- 2.5 milligrams iron (14 percent DV)
- 1.9 milligrams zinc (13 percent DV)
- 434 milligrams potassium (12 percent DV)
- 1,282 international units vitamin A (26 percent DV)
- 101 micrograms folate (25 percent DV)
- 187 milligrams phosphorus (19 percent DV)
- 0.2 milligram riboflavin (14 percent DV)
- 0.3 milligram copper (14 percent DV)
Aside from these, green peas also contain a small amount of selenium, vitamin E, calcium, and pantothenic acid.
Types of Green Peas
Snow Peas – these are small peas with a flat and edible pod. They can be consumed raw or cooked.
Snap Peas – these peas have a sweet flavor and are crunchy. They can be consumed raw or cooked.
Sweet Peas – These peas are often found canned or frozen. They must be removed first from the pod before consuming.
Green Split Peas – These are made from peas that have been peeled, dried and split. They are often added to Indian dishes and split pea soup.
Health Benefits We Can Obtain From Green Peas
Support Healthy Blood Sugar Control
Green peas are loaded with protein and fiber which are needed by the body to control blood sugar. Aside from this, they also have a low glycemic index (GI), a measurement of how our blood sugar quickly rises after food consumption. Studies have found that eating foods with low GI can help regulate blood sugar levels. Due to these, green peas can help lower the risk of several conditions, including diabetes and heart disease.
Good For Digestion
Because of its high fiber content, green peas can help maintain digestive health and improve bowel movement.
The insoluble fiber in peas feed the good bacteria in our intestines, thus keeping them healthy and prevent overpopulating of unhealthy bacteria.
Adding more peas in our diet can help us prevent gastrointestinal conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, colon cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease.
By just adding a cup of green peas to our meal, we can enjoy 44% of our needed Vitamin K, which help calcium anchor inside the bones. It also has B vitamins that can help us prevent osteoporosis.
Heart Disease Prevention
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds present in green peas can help support healthy blood vessel. They also have a significant amount of Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, and folate that aids in reducing homocysteine levels – a risk factor for heart disease.
Due to the high concentration of antioxidant in green peas, it can help free radicals to prevent inflammation, and reduce oxidative damage to cells.
According to studies, saponin, an antioxidant in peas, can help inhibit tumor growth and kill off cancer cells.
Coumestrol, a health-protective polyphenol, is generously present in peas. Result of a study in Mexico City revealed that consumption of 2 milligrams daily of coumestrol can help prevent stomach cancer. Found in a cup of peas is at least 10.