Green peas are such an integral part of the traditional American diet that few people actually realize the many benefits this simple food has. Quite a lot of people even dislike this type of legume because they were forced to eat them as children or they grew up to see them as nothing but a cheap side dish served in most low and mid-level restaurants. However, today we will explain why exactly this food is amazing and should be included in everyone’s diet. So, how are peas good for you, really?
The most important thing you need to know about green peas is that they are literally packed with nutrients. They may not be ‘leafy greens’ exactly, but their color is a sign that they are very close to those extraordinarily healthy foods. To understand why this is so important, you should take a look at the elements contained in simple green peas.
How Are Peas Good for You: Nutritional Breakdown
This is a polyphenol (phytonutrient), which is a very potent antioxidant. The extent of its benefits for the body is still under research, but it’s known to be a part of research of the elements that reduce the risk of gastric cancer. A single cup of green peas will provide you with about 10mg of this nutrient.
This is another kind of valuable phytonutrients, and peas are the richest known source of this element. On their own, saponins are potent antioxidants, so they are beneficial by default. However, when combined with other elements from green peas (flavonoids, caffeic acid, etc.) their positive anti-inflammatory effects are enhanced.
- Vitamin K.
This nutrient is almost as underappreciated as green peas are, and yet one cup of them will give you 40% of the required daily dose of this vitamin. This element plays an important part in the process of blood clotting and the formation of bone tissue. Like all other vitamins, this one also affects a great many internal processes and its deficiency reflects on your general wellbeing. Vegans, especially need to load up on green peas as their diet is often severely lacking in bone-building nutrients.
This mineral is another important addition to your bone strength, and it’s equally important for your skeletal system as calcium. Note that the deficiency in manganese may reflect not only on your health but your beauty as it affects the production of polidase, an enzyme used in the synthesis of collagen.
- B vitamins.
If anyone ever asks ‘how are peas good for you?’, be sure to remind them that this unassuming food provides you with a boost of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and folate (B9). Each of them is invaluable, because they act as co-enzymes in the majority of internal biochemical processes. You should know that folate, in particular, is essential for the healthy fetus development, so it’s often prescribed to pregnant women as a supplement. Please bear in mind that you should always consult your doctor regarding any dietary changes when you are pregnant.
Another invaluable mineral, copper has everything to do with the health of your blood. Considering that blood is the very thing that supports our life, you really need to make sure that your circulatory system stays as healthy as possible.
- Vitamin C.
Are you allergic to citrus fruits? Green peas can be a great alternative to them as the provider of this potent antioxidant. A cup of them contains about 25% of the required daily dose. Be sure to up your intake of this food during the cold season as vitamin C is known to strengthen your immune system.
This mineral is literally present in every cell of the body and helps support their individual health. It may not be as well-known as calcium or zinc, but its deficiency is just as harmful and affects every system. Unfortunately, it’s a common issue as the main food source of phosphorus is seafood. Plant-wise, green peas, soybeans, and pumpkin seeds are the best alternatives.
The list of valuable nutrients contained in green peas can go on for a long time, as they contain a measure of almost every major mineral. However, you also shouldn’t forget that they are an excellent (and 100% vegan) source of protein. They also contain dietary fiber and have a low glycemic index. Therefore, they can be included in weight-loss diets and eaten by people suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Finally, when thinking about the benefits of green peas, you should think of how delicious they are. When eaten raw and fresh, they are sweet and crunchy, so even kids would love them. Considering their nutritional value, it’s a perfect replacement for processed and sugary candy.
There are dozens of green peas recipes for vegetarians, vegans, and omnivores, so everyone would find a few great ways to incorporate this incredible food into their diet.