Hello my dear readers,
Last week we have learned more about green peas origins, varieties, seasonality, how to choose and buy them, how to cultivate green peas even in our balcony and how to cook them, but should we really eat them?
And if yes, why?
Let’s try to find out:
calories and nutritional values of green peas
green peas health benefits
green peas fun facts
Are you ready? Let’s begin.
Peas: calories and nutritional values
Like all legumes, peas are particularly nutritious, rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals.
Fresh peas are low in fat and have few calories, about 80 calories per 100 g (3.5 ounces), thanks to a significant presence of water, which is worth almost 80% of the weight of the edible part, while they have a good fiber and protein content.
About 70% of those calories come from carbs, which justifies their sweet taste, and the rest are provided by protein and a small amount of fat.
Their high protein content is what makes peas unique from other vegetables. For example, 170 grams of cooked carrots has only 1 gram of protein, while 170 grams of peas contains four times that amount.
Green peas are one of the best plant based sources of protein, which is a major reason why they are so filling, along with their high amount of fiber.
And as we know, eating protein increases the levels of certain hormones in our body that reduce appetite and these protein works together with fiber to slow digestion and promote feelings of fullness.
So eating adequate amounts of protein and fiber will automatically reduce the number of calories we eat throughout the day by keeping our appetite under control.
Peas are a great source of iron, with over 21% of the RDA, but also of vitamin B3 (niacin) and vitamin C, with 16 and 35% of the recommended daily dose for one hectogram of product.
The contribution of vitamin A, B1 and vitamin B2, as well as phosphorus and potassium, is also significant, while the glycemic index of peas is very low (22), and therefore they are indicated in all those hypoglycemic and low-calorie food regimes, as well as in slimming diets.
The high protein content of green peas makes them an excellent food choice for those vegetarians and vegans, but it is important to note that they are not a complete source of protein, lacking in amino acid methionine. For this reason, beside the green peas make sure you add another source of protein to make up for the deficit, because consuming a sufficient amount of protein is also important for promoting muscle strength and bone health.
Peas: health benefits
Thanks to their properties, peas bring numerous health benefits. In particular, they are allies of the cardiovascular system, promote diuresis and help keep cholesterol levels low, but not only.
Rich in fiber and low in calories, peas are very digestible and useful legumes to stabilize blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Let’s find out the various benefits of peas.
✓ They are very digestible
Peas, especially fresh and frozen ones, are very digestible thanks to the external skin, softer than that of other legumes. For this reason, they are recommended for children, the elderly and those suffering from digestive difficulties who generally struggle to eat other legumes.
✓ They prevent diabetes
The consumption of peas, like all legumes, can prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes thanks to their low glycemic index, determined by the presence of both fibers and proteins, which help stabilize blood sugar levels. To prevent diabetes, it is necessary to adopt a diet rich in vegetables, legumes, fish and lean meats, limiting sugars and alcohol.
The low calorie intake makes them much more suitable for diets than, for example, beans or chickpeas, which for the same weight have extremely higher calorie levels.
Furthermore, some studies have found that eating protein rich foods may be useful for stabilising blood sugar levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
✓ They have diuretic properties
Thanks to their potassium content, peas stimulate an efficient diuresis and therefore help to counteract the retention of liquids, typical of cellulite. Thanks to this effect, they are also excellent for those suffering from high blood pressure, as their consumption helps to decrease it.
✓ They help against constipation and facilitate detoxification
Peas have a good amount of fiber, which helps stimulate intestinal motility and therefore prevent constipation, but also more important conditions such as the formation of diverticula. In addition, the presence of fibers helps to eliminate those toxins present at the colon level, helping the detoxification of the body and preventing diseases such as colorectal cancer.
They also supply iron, essential for muscle strength and red blood cells, and two vitamins: vitamin C, important for the immune system and against oxidation, and vitamin B9, excellent for cell renewal.
Peas represent an (almost) inexhaustible source of vitamins, amino acids and mineral salts necessary for the proper functioning of the body.
✓ Lower blood cholesterol levels
Regular consumption of peas would be able to lower the cholesterol levels present in the blood.
✓ May be protective against some chronic diseases
Green peas contain a decent amount of heart-healthy minerals, such as magnesium, potassium and calcium which are helpful for preventing high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease.
Also the high fiber content of green peas has been shown to lower total cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol, both of which increase the risk of heart disease when they are elevated.
Eating green peas regularly may reduce the risk of cancer, mostly due to their antioxidant content and ability to reduce inflammation in the body.
In a review published in 2017, all the studies would demonstrate the anti-cancer activity of peas. The preventive effect would be due to the presence of various substances such as saponins, lectins, phenolic compounds and isoflavones.
✓ They are useful in pregnancy
The presence of folic acid in peas helps to prevent fetal malformations due to the lack of folic acid in pregnancy. Their regular consumption before and during this period enhances the effect of folic acid supplements, mandatory during pregnancy.
Peas have few contraindications.
They are not recommended, or in any case should be consumed in small doses, in subjects suffering from uricemia (high levels of uric acids) and gout, since they can lead to joint pain, swelling and aggravation of the symptoms already underway.
And like other legumes, green peas may cause bloating, an uncomfortable swelling of the stomach often accompanied by gas and flatulence.
So overall, green peas are legumes high in nutrients, vitamins, fiber and antioxidants, have properties that may reduce the risk of several diseases and are an incredible healthy food to incorporate in our diets, but as with all foods we don’t need to exaggerate as they can cause digestive symptoms.
Green peas fun facts
- The oldest pea ever discovered was found on the border of Thailand and Burma. It was believed to be nearly 3,000 years old!
- In 1984, Janet Harris Of Sussex broke a Guinness World Record by consuming 7175 peas in 60 minutes using chopsticks.
- In 2005, a poll of 2,000 people revealed the peas to be Britain’s seventh favourite culinary vegetables. So my dear Britain’s readers, is this true? Do you like peas?
- In Japan, China, Taiwan and some Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore, peas are roasted and salted, and eaten as snacks and are delicious 😋
- Pea leaves are considered a delicacy in China.
- The term pea originates from the Latin word pisum, which is the latinisation of the Greek πίσον (pison), neuter of πίσος (pisos) “pea” and it was adopted into English as the noun pease (plural peasen), as in pease pudding.
- In China they sowed wheat and peas in porcelain pots on the night of the seventh day of the seventh moon, and when the stems had grown a little, they tied them with blue and red silk ribbons. A ritual that was called “planting the principle of life”.
- Louis XIV was very fond of these legumes and ate so many that he suffered from continuous intestinal disorders. In fact, the excess of peas can cause bloating and diarrhea.
- In Naples, the harmful effects of peas were so feared that the funeral directors repeated to their creditors: “we used to pay weights”, that is “we will pay in the time of peas”, because then, as they believed, there would certainly be deaths in abundance and consequently also large profits.
- Thomas Jefferson grew more than 30 cultivars of peas on his estate.
- Peas also played a fundamental role in the development of genetics, thanks to the studies of Abbot Gregor Mendel who, in the nineteenth century, used the plants of these legumes to understand the mechanisms of transmission of hereditary genetic characteristics. Mendel’s laws and pea experiments have thus allowed the development of modern genetics and knowledge in the medical field, contributing enormously to the treatment of diseases and scientific progress.
Thank you all for reading.
And if you would like to discover more about our food, you may enjoy my previous posts
Wish you a wonderful day!
And please stay at home and stay safe!