Garden peas are an ancient cultivated vegetable grown for the succulent nutritious pods. The pea (Pisum sativum) is a cool season annual crop that belongs to the Fabaceae family. Peas have a starchy, slightly sweet taste and are often served on the side of meat dishes.
Nutritional Content of Peas
As with all legumes, peas are loaded with nutrients while being low in calories. Peas are starchy, but high in fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and lutein. The dry weight of a pea would consist of one-quarter protein and one-quarter sugar.
Health Benefits of Peas
1. Weight management: Peas are low in fat and calories but pretty much have everything else. This ensures a high metabolism and the high fiber content can keep one satiated for long helping with weight loss.
2. Fights cancer: Green peas contain a polyphenol called coumestrol that can dramatically reduce the risk of developing stomach cancer. A study has determined that to feel this effect all you need is 2mg of coumestrol and a cup of peas has 10mg.
3. Promotes cardiovascular health: A serving of green peas provides the body with adequate vitamin K which promotes carboxylation, a process that stops calcium from depositing inside the soft tissues of the body. In addition, high vitamin K intake is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. The generous amount of B-vitamins helps reduce homocysteine which is a major risk factor for heart disease.
4. Lowers risk of type 2 diabetes: Studies have shown that there is a reduced risk of diabetes with the regular consumption of peas and it is due to many factors. Green peas have a low glycemic index, are a good source of protein and contain a lot of fiber, all of which contribute to this.
5. Promote healthy digestive system: Eating plenty of green peas can be great for the digestive system as the high fiber content helps move bowels regularly and prevents constipation.
6. Improves metabolism: A cup of green peas provides enough of zinc to boost metabolism, which encourages the body to burn calories at a faster rate, also contributing to weight management.
7. Nourished skin and hair: The omega-3-fatty acids in green peas help develop thicker, less brittle hair and nourish the cell membranes of the skin.
8. Maintains bone health: Green peas contain B-vitamins, calcium and vitamin K which contributes to healthy bones and makes one less likely to develop osteoporosis.
9. Blood sugar regulation: High fiber and protein content slow down the absorption of sugar from the intestine into the blood helping to maintain blood sugar levels.
10. Reduces bad cholesterol: Peas contain niacin which helps reduce the production of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol which in turn increases the amount of good cholesterol in the body.