The idea that a healthy diet is also costly is completely false. A healthy diet is obviously moderated in terms of food quantity and total calories, but also varied. One of the foods I wholeheartedly recommend you include in your diet are green peas.
As inexpensive as they may be, their nutritional value is at the opposite pole. Green peas provide us with plenty of essential nutrients, plus they’re easy to cook and can be incorporated into many dishes. Let’s see how these little green balls can help us improve our health.
Low in calories
One cup of cooked green peas (160g) has less than 200 calories. More importantly, most of these calories don’t come from fat, since green peas contain negligible amounts of fat. While it’s good to include some fat in your diet, low fat vegetables like green peas are a healthy option for weight management.
The same cup of peas gives you about 14g of dietary fiber if you’ve chosen frozen peas, while cooked raw peas give you 9g of fiber. Pretty much all nutritional values are higher in cooked frozen peas compared to cooked fresh peas.
Whichever you choose, green peas offer a substantial quantity of dietary fiber, which is one of nature’s greatest aids for our digestive system with an important role in regulating bowel movements, increasing satiety and weight management.
The interesting collection of antioxidants contained by green peas include coumestrol (a polyphenol), alpha-carotene and beta-carotene (carotenoids), ferulic and caffeic acid (phenolic acids) and catechin and epicatechin (flavanols). As you might already be aware of, a regular intake of antioxidants can greatly reduce inflammation and risk of cancer.
Excess inflammation has been correlated with aging, heart disease and cancer. Green peas are a potent anti-inflammatory agent as they include the phytonutrients pisomosides A and B and pisumsaponins I and II, ALA omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins E and C plus decent amounts of zinc. All of these compounds are known to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Rich in protein
Peas are a high-quality source of plant-based protein. If you have to make a choice go for the frozen peas. One cup (cooked) has 13g of protein compared to only 8.6g if you use fresh green peas. We all need adequate protein intake and protein is also immensely beneficial for weight management and weight loss as it helps regulate hunger and satiety hormones, ghrelin and leptin.
Blood sugar regulation
Although green peas naturally contain sugar, their high content of fiber and protein slow down sugar digestion. This normalizes blood sugar levels, preventing spikes. For this reason peas are recommended for diabetics.
Vitamins and Minerals
Peas aren’t called a superfood for nothing. From just one serving you can get your daily dose of vitamin A. However, peas also contain high levels of vitamin K, B1, C and folic acid, plus decent amounts of vitamin B3 (niacin), B6 and B2.
The nutritional chart of green peas couldn’t be complete without minerals as they include significant amounts of manganese, iron and phosphorous but also contains somewhat lower amounts of magnesium, copper, zinc, potassium and sodium.
Surely we need balanced amounts of all macronutrients, but it’s equally important to get them from varied sources. Taking into account the valuable addition green peas can be in our diets, they should be in anyone’s list of “must have” vegetables.