Why everyone should give Peas a Chance #WellnessWednesdays

By February 22, 2017 Recipes No Comments
Peas
ashley-vangel

By: Ashley Vangel

 

We know green peas from our childhood as the food our parents always made us eat. I remember moving my peas around on the plate, separating each pea to make the illusion that I had eaten a larger amount of them. Though this never really worked. Come to think about it, I don’t think kids are very fond of peas mostly for their green color. If they actually gave them a taste instead of inspecting them, they might actually like them. Well… I guess that’s what every mom says. Green peas are actually one of a few sweet vegetables. They contain some sugar and some stach giving that slightly sweet taste. Who knew peas could pack such a large amount of health benefits.
 

Green peas contain phytonutrients called saponins. Saponins are actually almost exclusively found in peas. So peas kind of have their own thing going for them! In fact some research suggests that this phytonutrient, along with the combination of other nutrients, is associated with decreased risk of type 2 diabetes. If you thought green peas weren’t anything more than a starchy vegetable, you need to think again. Aside from saponins, green peas contain an even wider assortment of antioxidants and phytonutrients. Just to name a few… they contain catechin, epicatechin, alpha- and beta-carotene, ferulic acid, caffeic acid, and vitamins C and E. Antioxidants contribute so much to our health and immunity. Plus, foods that are rich in antioxidants are the same foods that can help with healthy weight management and weight loss goals. Bonus!
 

Though green peas are considered a low calorie and low fat food, they actually offer some omega-3 fats. Just 1 cup of green peas provides about 30 milligrams of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which is the plant-based form of omega-3. Omega-3 fats are anti-inflammatory plus they benefit our heart health and help to regulate blood cholesterol levels. As mentioned above, saponins found in green peas have been associated with decreased risk of diabetes. However the saponins in green peas aren’t the only component of green peas that help lower blood sugars. Green peas also have a some protein and fiber to help with this deed too (about 8 grams per cup for each of these nutrients to be exact). The amount of protein and fiber in peas helps to regulate the breakdown of starches into sugars, avoiding any sudden spikes in blood sugar levels.
 

If you’re into saving the earth and all, maybe you should start adding green peas into your diet. Green peas are a super environmentally-friendly food. Peas not only provide us with wonderful nutrients when we eat them, but pea crops also offer important benefits to the soil, like increasing nitrogen availability. Pea crops also break down pretty easily, which allows for soil replenishment.
 

The best part is, green peas are available at most super markets year round. Ever check your frozen vegetable section? If your supermarket has one, I can almost guarantee they have have frozen peas. Did I mention they’re super cheap too?

How do you like to prepare your green peas?

 

Ashley is a registered dietitian and a licensed dietitian in the state of Texas. She graduated from Framingham State University, majoring in nutrition and dietetics and she completed her dietetic internship at the University of Connecticut. (more)

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