Interesting Health Benefits of Peas
Mama always said, “Eat Your Peas!” and Mama was right!
I admit that I always loved peas, especially fresh from the pod. From the sound of the snap to popping the peas in my mouth – what sweet goodness! Ahhhh…it just brings up so much nostalgia of those hot summer days when I was a little girl helping my Dad gather all the newly ripened peapods fresh from our garden. Though when I was a young girl, I had no idea about all the health benefits these tiny balls of green yumminess have packed within them.
First of all, peas provide a similar level of protein to beans, which isn’t surprising because peas, like beans, are classified as legumes (though many think of peas as a vegetable – for that reason peas are listed in both categories on this website). They are rich in many B vitamins, which play a vital role in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. All of this makes peas a great source of energy, not to mention its iron content can help prevent anemia and fatigue.
Interesting Fact: There is evidence that peas have been used as food long before its domestication – as far back as 9750 B.C.E.!
More nutritional info about peas:
- Peas have a high amount of Vitamin C content which promotes resistance to infectious agents and pro-inflammatory free radicals that cause cell damage. The antioxidant properties of vitamin C make it a vital nutrient for cancer prevention.
- Peas are a good source of beta-carotene (Vitamin A) that is vital for maintaining healthy tissues as well as supporting the immune system, bone development, eye health and protecting nerve fibers.
- Peas are also high in Vitamin K that the body needs for coagulation (blood clot formation), healthy bone formation, and aids in calcium transportation (making sure it stays in your bones and not your bloodstream).
- Peas are great sources of Vitamin B9 (folic acid) and thus play an important role in everybody function that requires cell division. This is why folic acid is of such importance in fetal development. Studies suggest that adequate intake of folate-rich foods by expectant mothers aids in preventing neural tube defects in their newborn babies.
Did You Know: Did you know that not all peas are green? Yep! Some are actually yellow.
However, the most common pea variety is vibrant green in color. And we can thank chlorophyll for that. All green plants and blue-green algae contain this pigment which is involved in photosynthesis (remember that from elementary school science class?) But, there is more to chlorophyll than meets its “green eye”.
Diets high in chlorophyll are known to:
- Detoxify the body
- Protect against cancer
- Aid in digestion
- Help control body odor
- Aid in healthy irons levels
Did You Know: It is rumored that boiling peas and onions spiced with cinnamon and ginger is an aphrodisiac!
If you are concerned about calories, then you will especially love peas! They are low in calories and rich in fiber. High fiber intake helps in cleansing (with the help of chlorophyll) the digestive tract of toxins and carcinogens, thus decreasing the potential for developing gastrointestinal diseases and colon cancer. Additionally, the high fiber and protein slow down the speed in which sugars are digested and the anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory properties can prevent or reverse insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes).
Fun Tip: Instead of reaching for candy or chips for a snack, try munching on some peas straight from the freezer? Kids who are finicky about vegetables might just enjoy this tiny “pea-sicle!“
Well aside from enjoying them a la carte, here are few recipes that I highly recommend trying. One of my favorites is Peruvian Inspired Cilantro Chicken. Honestly, if you haven’t tried it, you don’t know what you are missing!
Or maybe you are looking for a healthy way to satisfy that craving for take-out fried rice? No problem, check out our Cauliflower Fried Rice.
But a few words of warning: Try to never drop a plate or bowl of peas on a non-carpeted floor. Those little suckers roll everywhere (I know… I did just that TWICE)! 😀