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Green Peas: Nutritional Health Benefits, Risks & Recipes

Green peas, also known as garden peas, are small, round seeds that come from the pods produced by the Pisum sativum plant. Green peas are not a vegetable which many people think them to be; they are a part of the legume family just like lentils, beans, chickpeas, etc.

Green peas are nutritious and high in complex carbohydrates called starches. They are either enjoyed raw or cooked and can be added to anything from desserts, soups and stir-fries.

Types Of Green Peas

1. Snow peas - They are flat, small peas with an edible pod.

2. Sweet peas (green peas) - They are the most common type of peas which have a sweet yet mild flavour.

3. Snap peas - This type of peas has a much sweeter flavour and the entire pod can either be cooked or eaten raw.

Nutritional Value Of Green Peas

100 g of green peas contain 78.86 g water, 81 kcal energy and they also contain

  • 5.42 g protein
  • 0.40 g fat
  • 14.45 g carbohydrate
  • 5.7 g fibre
  • 5.67 g sugar
  • 25 mg calcium
  • 1.47 mg iron
  • 33 mg magnesium
  • 108 mg phosphorus
  • 244 mg potassium
  • 5 mg sodium
  • 1.24 mg zinc
  • 40 mg vitamin C
  • 0.266 mg thiamin
  • 0.132 mg riboflavin
  • 2.090 mg niacin
  • 0.169 mg vitamin B6
  • 65 mcg folate
  • 765 IU vitamin A
  • 0.13 mg vitamin E
  • 24.8 mcg vitamin K

Health Benefits Of Green Peas

1. Help in weight loss

The fibre and protein in peas keep your stomach full and reduce appetite, thus promoting weight loss. Protein slows down the emptying of the stomach and reduces the levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone [1] . And fibre helps promote satiety by slowing down digestion and encourages feelings of fullness.

2. Prevent cancer

The high antioxidant content and saponins, the plant compounds in peas, lower the risk of cancer and inhibit the growth of tumour [2] . In addition, green peas are a good source of vitamin K which helps lower the risk of prostate cancer [3] .

3. Aid in digestion

Green peas contain a fair amount of fibre, which benefits your digestive health in many ways [4] . Firstly, fibre is required to feed the good bacteria in the intestines to keep them healthy. This reduces the risk of developing gastrointestinal conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel syndrome, and colon cancer. Secondly, fibre adds weight to the stool and prevents constipation.

4. Promote heart health

Green peas contain essential minerals like potassium and magnesium which prevent high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease. Also, the high fibre content in peas lower bad cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart disease [5] .

5. Lower blood sugar levels

According to a review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, peas are low in glycemic index (GI) which is linked to lowering the risk of diabetes [6] . Also, peas are a good source of fibre and protein which prevent the rise of blood sugar levels. This keeps diabetes under control [7] .

6. Boost immunity

Green peas are an excellent source of vitamin C, which makes it one of the best foods to strengthen the immune system. The high antioxidant content in peas also protects the immune system from chronic diseases.

7. Promote eye health

Peas are loaded with vitamin A and carotenoid pigment lutein. Lutein is known to lower the risk of age-related eye diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts.

8. Enhance skin and hair health

The vitamin C content in peas encourages the production of collagen, which keeps the skin firm and glowing. Also, the antioxidants help fight the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals. Vitamin C is also an important mineral in preventing hair loss by keeping the hair follicles strong.

Green Peas In Ayurveda And TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine)

In Ayurveda, green peas are believed to reduce appetite, relieve nausea, enhance digestion, and lower inflammation. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, green peas are said to strengthen stomach and spleen, lubricate the intestines, improve digestion and help in balancing the fluids.

Potential Risks Of Consuming Green Peas

Though green peas have a myriad of health benefits, there is a disadvantage for this legume - they contain antinutrients.

Antinutrients are substances that interfere with digestion and mineral absorption. The two antinutrients found in peas are phytic acid and lectins [8] , [9] .

These antinutrients won't cause a problem until you eat peas in excessive amounts or eat them raw.

Green Peas Recipe

Green peas paratha recipe

Green peas sandwich recipe

Other delicious recipes using green peas

View Article References
  1. [1] Lomenick, J. P., Melguizo, M. S., Mitchell, S. L., Summar, M. L., & Anderson, J. W. (2009). Effects of meals high in carbohydrate, protein, and fat on ghrelin and peptide YY secretion in prepubertal children.The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism,94(11), 4463–4471.
  2. [2] Podolak, I., Galanty, A., & Sobolewska, D. (2010). Saponins as cytotoxic agents: a review.Phytochemistry reviews : proceedings of the Phytochemical Society of Europe,9(3), 425–474.
  3. [3] Plaza, S. M. (2003). The anticancer effects of vitamin K.Alternative Medicine Review,8(3), 303-318.
  4. [4] Dahl, W. J., Foster, L. M., & Tyler, R. T. (2012). Review of the health benefits of peas (Pisum sativum L.).British Journal of Nutrition,108(S1), S3-S10.
  5. [5] Lattimer, J. M., & Haub, M. D. (). Effects of dietary fiber and its components on metabolic health.Nutrients,2(12), 1266–1289.
  6. [6] Jenkins, D. J., Kendall, C. W., Augustin, L. S., Franceschi, S., Hamidi, M., Marchie, A., ... & Axelsen, M. (2002). Glycemic index: overview of implications in health and disease.The American journal of clinical nutrition,76(1), 266S-273S.
  7. [7] Gannon, M. C., Nuttall, F. Q., Saeed, A., Jordan, K., & Hoover, H. (2003). An increase in dietary protein improves the blood glucose response in persons with type 2 diabetes.The American journal of clinical nutrition,78(4), 734-741.
  8. [8] Gupta, R. K., Gangoliya, S. S., & Singh, N. K. (2015). Reduction of phytic acid and enhancement of bioavailable micronutrients in food grains.Journal of food science and technology,52(2), 676–684.
  9. [9] Vasconcelos, I. M., & Oliveira, J. T. A. (2004). Antinutritional properties of plant lectins.Toxicon,44(4), 385-403.

Read more about: green peas health benefits
Story first published: Monday, June 10, 2019, 16:45 [IST]
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