The quick growing, sweet and starchy green little balls called peas can do wonder if you include them in your meals. They are not just tasty but also possess many nutrients that make them a compulsory ingredient in your vegetable diet. People often assume them as an inexpensive green vegetable growing on the peas plant, is an ingredient that is served or used for garnishing in cheap restaurants. But it is not so, taking into account the various nutritious benefits that peas provide, they can be considered as a powerhouse of the nutritional values.
Green peas are also known as ‘Matar’ in Hindi, ‘Batani’ in Telugu, ‘Pattani’ in Tamil, ‘Pacha Pattani’ in Malayalam, ‘Vatana’ in Gujarati, ‘Moator’ in Bengali, and ‘Mattar’ in Marathi. Let us now discuss the health benefits of peas.
Health Benefits of Peas/ Green Peas Plant:
1. Weight Loss:
Peas are a low fat and a low calorie food type. Hence, they are mostly included in vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian diets, due to the ease in managing the body weight. Green veggies are already considered as a source of good health, but when talking about peas, they help in managing your weight effectively. Peas are relatively low in calories when compared to cowpeas and beans.
2. Stomach Cancer:
These tiny ingredients in your plate have the capacity to prevent dreadful diseases like stomach cancer. Its protective polyphenol content called coumestrol is known to prevent cancer which is abundant in peas.
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High levels of antioxidants in peas prevent several reactions in the body that may cause serious diseases. They are rich sources of many minerals such as iron, calcium, zinc, copper, manganese etc. which enhances the immune system of your body.
Peas are also helpful in anti-aging of the skin. The antioxidants which are present in it such as flavonoids, catechin, epicatechin, carotenoid, alpha carotene etc. are helpful in preventing the aging process of your skin and tends to provide a natural glow to the skin.
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5. Wrinkles and Osteoporosis:
Anti-inflammatory properties of peas coupled with the action of antioxidants helps in prevention of wrinkles and osteoporosis. Sometimes inflammation can be very tedious to handle and it is well dealt by the antioxidants present in peas.
6. Alzheimer’s and Arthritis:
Vitamin K present in peas helps you in the prevention of serious diseases like Alzheimer’s and arthritis. In Alzheimer’s afflicted patients, regular consumption of peas limits neuronal damage in the brain. Garden peas are considered to be the best source of vitamin K.
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7. Blood Sugar:
High fiber and protein content in peas makes sugar digestion slower. Peas do not contain any extra sugars like white sugar or chemicals and hence, it enables blood sugar regulation in the body. Pea proteins play a very important role in this action.
[ Read: Vitamin K ]
8. Good for Expectant Mothers:
Fresh pea pods are considered as an excellent source of folic acid. Folates are B-complex vitamins that are required for DNA synthesis inside the cell. Research studies suggest that adequate amount of folate rich foods in expectant mothers would help in preventing neural tube defects in the newborn babies. So, peas are good for expectant mothers and the health of new born babies.
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9. Improves Digestion:
The high dietary fiber content of peas makes them a good digestion aid. The fiber also improves the metabolism of the body in general by improving digestion.
10. Good for Eye-Sight:
Peas have adequate amount of anti-oxidant flavonoids like lutein, carotenes, zea-xanthin as well as vitamin-A. Vitamin A is one of the essential nutrients which are required for maintaining the health of mucus membranes, skin and eye-sight.
Peas: Skin Benefits
There is a strong connection between healthy body and healthy skin. Whatever you eat is reflected on your skin. Thus, adequate intake of nutrients, vitamins and minerals is vital for skin health. Some of the ways in which peas can be beneficial for your skin are as follows.
11. Benefits of Vitamin C:
Snow peas are a good source of vitamin C which is involved in the production of collagen, thus helping to keep our skin firm. Being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C protects the cells from damage caused by free radicals. Thus, eating foods rich in vitamin C such as snow peas enables your skin to fight oxidative damage.
12. Fights Inflammation:
Peas contain skin friendly nutrients such as vitamin B6, vitamin C and folate (folic acid). These nutrients can effectively counter inflammation and free radical damage that rob the skin of its natural stores of collagen and elastin-proteins that keep your skin firm, toned and in bounce back shape.
[ Read: Vitamin A ]
13. Treatment of Chilblains:
Chilblains are swellings and inflammations of the fingers and toes due to cold temperatures in winter. Green peas are a natural remedy for chilblains. For this purpose, boil green peas in water. Straining out the peas, mix 1 teaspoon sesame oil to this water and foment your fingers in it for some time. Afterwards, wash with this water. This will significantly lessen swelling, inflammation and discomfort.
14. Peas for Glowing Skin:
You can boil some peas and grind to make a paste. Apply this all over your body and face. Scrubbing with this paste will provide you with a glowing skin.
[ Read: Foods rich in vitamin C ]
15. Soothes Burns:
To soothe the burning sensation, you can apply a paste of fresh green peas on the burnt area.
Peas: Hair Benefits
Like the rest of your body, supply of vital nutrients to the hair follicles is essential for the optimal growth and health of hair. Peas are good source of these nutrients which provide the following benefits to your hair.
16. Benefits of B Vitamins:
As stated earlier, peas are a good source of B vitamins such as folate, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. These vitamins aid in the creation of red blood cells which carry oxygen and nutrients to all body cells including those of your scalp, follicles and growing hair. Deficiency of these vitamins can cause shedding, slow growth or weak hair that is prone to breaking.
17. Prevents Hair Loss:
Vitamin C is an important mineral as it is involved in collagen formation which is required by the hair follicles for optimal growth. Even minor deficiencies of this vitamin can lead to dry, brittle hair that breaks easily.
How to Select and Store?
Selection: Green peas are available in winter from December till April. Mature seeds, split and dried green peas are available all the year round. Peas are sold either in fresh, frozen and canned form. When shopping for green peas, choose fresh, firm pods which are full, heavy in hands and brimming with seeds. They should have a velvety and smooth skin and their color should be a lively medium green. Avoid wrinkled, over matured or yellow colored pods. They should not be puffy, water soaked or have a mildew residue. Ensure that the pods have peas of sufficient number and size; and there is not much empty space in the pod. You can check this by gently shaking the pod and noticing if there is a slight rattling sound. Unlike green peas, snow peas have flat pods. When purchasing snow peas, you can see the shape of the peas through the non-opaque shiny pod. Choose the smaller ones as they are sweeter. The quality of snap peas can be checked by snapping one open to see whether it is crisp. They should be firm and plump with a bright green colour.
Green peas are at their best soon after their harvest as most of the sugar content rapidly gets converted to starch. They should be placed in the vegetable compartment inside the refrigerator set at high relative humidity where they can last for 2 to 3 days. Refrigerating them preserves their sugar content and prevents it from turning into starch. Unwashed, unshelled peas should be stored in the refrigerator in a bag or unsealed container where it will last for several days. Fresh peas can also be blanched for 1 to 2 minutes and then frozen. Frozen peas can last for 6 to 12 months.
- Peas can greatly complement vegetables like potato, carrot, beets, onion, artichokes etc in preparing several dishes.
- Fresh peas can be added to green salads. They can be mixed with chicken, diced onions and almonds to make a delicious and colourful chicken salad.
- Pea soup is a flavourful dish. Its distinctive flavour should not be overpowered by seasonings. Generally cloves, bay leaf, nutmeg, garlic salt and celery salt are used to flavour whole yellow pea soup. Split pea soups are flavoured with herbs and spices like nutmeg, rosemary, marjoram, bay leaf, cloves, curry powder etc.
So, now you know which green veggie you should eat regularly to stay fit, young and healthy. Let’s now discuss about the nutritional facts of the Peas
Pea Nutrition chart:
|Green peas (Pisum sativum),|
fresh, raw, Nutrition value per 100g
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.40 g||2%|
|Dietary Fiber||5.1 g||13%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.104 mg||2%|
|Vitamin A||765 IU||25.5%|
|Vitamin C||40 mg||67%|
|Vitamin E||0.13 mg||1%|
|Vitamin K||24.8 µg||21%|
In about 100 grams of peas there are 81kcal, 14.45 grams carbs, 5.42 grams proteins, 0.4 grams fat and 5.1 gram dietary fiber. It also contains folates 65 micrograms, niacin 2.09mg, thiamine 0.266mg and Vitamin C 40mg as some of its important vitamin contents. Other nutrients found in a cup of peas are sodium 5mg, potassium 244mg, copper 0.176mg, iron 1.47mg, magnesium 22mg, zinc 1.24mg and calcium 25mg. You can depend on the nutrients present in peas to maintain a good nutritional diet.
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Tips for Usage (Cooking/Eating)
Peas can be eaten both raw and cooked. Before removing the peas from the pod, they should be briefly rinsed under running water. They can be easily shelled by snapping off the top and bottom of the pod and gently pulling off the thread that lines the seam of most peapods. The pods should be gently opened to remove the seeds which need not be washed as they were encased in the pod. Given below are some tips to enjoy these delicious vegetables.
Peas are available easily, even in frozen forms that make the job of peeling and storing easier. There are various ways in which peas can be eaten. Boiled peas with salt, peas pulao, peas –paneer, peas – pasta salad, roasted peas salad, peas soup and fish peas are some of the most famous and healthy recipes of Peas.