Green Peas Health Benefits

Do Green Peas Have Health Benefits?

There’s an old saying that sometimes good things come in small packages. This is even true in the world of vegetables, where size isn’t necessarily everything. The green pea, for instance, is one of the smallest vegetables in nature, yet it contains a surprising variety of nutrients and healthy compounds that are good for many aspects of health. From split pea soup to stews and various other trendy side dishes, green peas are a nutritious and versatile ingredient that also happens to provide a number of health benefits.

Introduction to Peas

Peas are actually the small green seeds of Lathyrus oleraceus (formerly Pisum sativum), a flowering plant in the legume family (Fabaceae). Along with several varieties of garden peas, this family also includes lentils, chickpeas, sugar snap peas, snow peas, and every type of bean. Fresh peas grow in small pods that develop from the flowers of the plant, and they can be prepared either in or out of the pod. Pea plants do best in relatively cooler climates at higher altitudes, and in contemporary times the largest producers are China, India, and the United States.

Nutritional Value of Green Peas

Green peas aren’t just a delicious addition to meals; they're also packed with essential nutrients that contribute to overall health and well-being. Though many people use fresh and cooked peas in their daily diet, they are also a common ingredient in various commercial applications. In fact, many products call for dried peas, including seasoning blends, salad products, snacks, and ready meals. Regardless of whether fresh or dried, though, peas contain similar nutritional value:

Vitamins (% Daily Value)

  • vitamin A (5%)
  • vitamin C (48%)
  • vitamin K (24%)
  • niacin (13%)
  • folate (16%)
  • thiamine (23%)

Minerals (% Daily Value)

  • calcium (3%)
  • phosphorus (15%)
  • potassium (8%)
  • manganese (20%)
  • magnesium (9%)
  • iron (11%)

In addition to being a good source of so many vitamins and minerals, green peas also contain plant compounds like lutein; this phytochemical is a type of carotenoid that is known to have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are important because they are necessary to prevent oxidative stress, a state that is believed to be brought on by having too many unchecked free radicals in the body. Antioxidants essentially neutralize free radicals and prevent the kind of damage that may be an underlying cause of different types of chronic disease.

Health Benefits of Peas

Apart from containing a variety of essential nutrients, green peas are also a great addition in general to a healthy diet. From a macronutrients perspective, one cup of peas has 14 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of protein, and trace amounts of fiber; also, of the 14 grams of carbs, around 5 grams are dietary fiber. When considered along with all of the vitamins and minerals, green peas are associated with numerous health benefits:

  • Weight management: Even though green peas are relatively low in calories, they are a satisfying and filling addition to any meal. This is in part due to the fact that peas have high protein content; in fact, peas have more protein than other veggies like potatoes that are known for being sources of protein. Both protein and fiber are good choices for helping people maintain good portion control and overall eating habits. This can be helpful for general weight management as well as weight loss.
  • Blood sugar control: Peas are naturally a low glycemic index food, which means that it has very little effect on blood sugar levels. Also, the high fiber content in peas is important in the regulation of blood sugar levels; soluble fiber in particular is the type that dissolves in water and can lower blood sugar by slowing the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream. This makes the pea a good choice for people who have insulin sensitivity, insulin resistance, or type 2 diabetes.
  • Heart health: Peas support heart health in several ways; for one, dietary fiber is known to lower cholesterol levels. Since high cholesterol is one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease, foods that can bring down blood cholesterol lower the risk of heart-related problems. Also, the antioxidant properties of peas may reduce the kind of inflammation that can make heart disease more likely. Moreover, like broccoli and a number of other green vegetables, peas contain a lot of B vitamins that can also reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Blood pressure: Another aspect of health related to the heart is blood pressure. High blood pressure is often a result of the narrowing or hardening of arteries; but the high potassium content of green peas can actually relax arterial walls and lower sodium in the blood.
  • Digestive health: Both soluble and insoluble fiber are crucial for ongoing digestive health. Green peas are a good source of fiber, and they can support regular bowel movements as well as lessening the chances of common gastrointestinal symptoms like constipation and diarrhea.
  • Eye health: The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin are abundant in green peas, and these compounds have been shown to be beneficial for maintaining good eye health. Maintaining a diet with these compounds may also prevent age-related macular degeneration and other eye diseases.
  • Bone health: With about one quarter of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin K, green peas are also useful for maintaining good bone health. Vitamin K plays a role in bone mineralization and blood clotting, and it can also reduce the chances of developing osteoporosis.

Contact Silva For More Information

People may not realize it, but the unassuming pea is actually a powerhouse of protein, fiber, and numerous vitamins and minerals. But beyond their health profile, green peas are also a versatile vegetable that can be useful in many commercial applications. At Silva, we are passionate about providing premium dried ingredients that can add flavor and nutritional value to all sorts of different dishes. If you’d like to learn more about any of our dried ingredients, or if you want to find out what it’s like partnering with Silva, please contact our friendly team today.