Peas and good health go together like…well, peas in a pod. These small green seeds that you eat out of the pod have been eaten for thousands of years in a lot of different ways. Most people (even children) seem to prefer peas to many other vegetables because of their taste. While raw peas, and even cooked ones, might not have a big taste, they don’t taste “bad” compared to others.
Peas are a great side dish to a healthy meal, and they can also be a great snack. There’s nothing wrong with cooking peas, though many people seem to prepare them with too much salt or butter to make them taste better. If you can avoid the add-ons that make peas unhealthy, you’re doing yourself a huge favor. Let’s take a look at the nutritional breakdown of peas and what makes them so beneficial to your overall health.
Nutrition of Peas
In one cup of peas that have been cooked without salt or anything else added, you’re getting a considerable amount of nutrition. For starters, you’ll get 17 percent of your daily protein recommendation, while also adding more than a third of your daily fiber needs. Peas are an excellent source of vitamins, with vitamin K being the big one at more than 50 percent of your daily recommendation. As for the others, there is more than a quarter of your daily vitamin A, thiamin and folate intake. Coming in at more than 10 percent daily value is riboflavin, niacin and vitamin B6.
There is also a small amount of pantothenic acid and vitamin E to keep you going. Peas don’t have any cholesterol, either, and are packed with minerals. The most abundant in this department is manganese with 42 percent daily value. Those that come in at more than 10 percent (but less than 20) are iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and copper. To cap it all off, there is also a small amount of calcium and selenium.
First and foremost, peas are going to be extremely beneficial for your digestive system. It starts with the decent amount of fiber that you’re getting in each serving of peas that helps to create helpful bacteria in your gut. Overall, this improves digestion while also preventing many other problems that include constipation and indigestion.
Perhaps the biggest benefit that peas bring to your digestive system is the reduction in your chances of stomach cancer. Peas contain coumestrol, a polyphenol that research has shown can be vital in preventing stomach cancer. Research has shown that a one cup serving of peas has more than enough coumestrol for you to see the benefits. In fact, it’s five times the minimum recommendation.
Many of us are looking to lose some weight, and making peas part of your diet can help you with that. Just like with your digestive system, fiber plays a part in helping you lose weight thanks to the increased efficiency and improved metabolism. You’ll also feel full for longer after eating peas, which is a good thing since one cup only contains around 130 calories. That makes peas the perfect snack food, even if it’s not a traditional one.
Not everyone eats meat, so even vegetarians that are looking to shed some pounds will be able to find the benefit in peas. Of course, the main key here is to make sure that you’re not adding fattening ingredients with your peas and making them part of a healthy overall diet. It’s also worth noting that you’re getting a ton of nutrients without many calories; another added bonus.
When we say that peas can help make you look better overall and younger, we don’t mean that you have to smash them up and use them in a facial scrub as you can just eat them. Peas are packed with antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties that are going to make your skin look fantastic for years to come. Not only will you have a more natural glow, but you’ll also be able to reduce the signs of aging such as wrinkles.
The main reason for that is because peas have flavonoids, carotenoids and other compounds that slow the aging process. With a lot of early aging signs being caused by inflammation that can cause you to look dehydrated and older, peas can help tremendously. It’s not among the first things you think about with skincare, but it should be.
While your skin might be the first thing you notice visually with aging, your bones are probably the first thing you feel. Peas are packed with vitamin K, and are one of the best sources in the world for this overlooked nutrient. Vitamin K plays a big part in your bone health, and not having enough can lead to problems down the road such as arthritis.
Osteoporosis is another common problem with bones, and the high vitamin K content in peas helps to prevent that. As an added bonus, peas are also a great brain food because of this vitamin, which has been linked with a lower chance of Alzheimer’s disease. All in all, peas will make you look and feel younger for a long time.
Good For the Heart
Without having to worry about the cholesterol or fat, peas make for a great heart healthy food. The nutrients found in peas are high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that improve your blood flow and overall heart health, reducing your chances of heart disease. Peas also contain niacin, a nutrient that can lower your triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol while raising your HDL (good) cholesterol.
We already pointed out how peas can help you lose weight, which is another bonus for your heart. More than 600,000 people in the United States alone die from heart disease each year, and eating more peas can help you avoid becoming a statistic.
One more thing that you can do for your heart health is controlling your blood sugar. Peas have been shown to be very beneficial in managing blood sugar and preventing or treating diabetes. Much of that has to do with the fiber and protein content without any added sugars. Pea protein has been found to lower chances of diabetes, and the food overall is very low on the glycemic index.
Summing it Up
So with all of the great benefits that you can get from peas, are there really any negatives? One that has stood out in studies is the amount of purines that are found in each serving. While most people won’t be affected, having too many purines can result in a buildup of uric acid. This is the acid that is related to both gout and kidney stones, so make sure to speak with a doctor about your uric acid levels.
Other than that, peas contain a high amount of nutritional value. This means that eating too many of them on a daily basis could result in an overdose in some of your vitamins and minerals. This isn’t a problem that most people would face, however. So feel free to add more peas to your diet because the massive benefits far outweigh the possible side effect. The best part is, most people consider peas to be delicious, making it a superfood that often goes overlooked.