14 Best Benefits Of Cowpeas (Lobia) For Skin, Hair And Health

Loaded with nutrients, these beans improve weight loss, delay aging, and do more good to you.

Medically reviewed by Reda Elmardi, RDN Reda Elmardi Reda ElmardiRDN facebook_iconinsta_icon
Written by , B.Desgn, ISSA Certified Specialist In Fitness & Nutrition Tanya Choudhary B.Desgn, ISSA Certified Specialist In Fitness & Nutrition twitter_icon Experience: 2 years
Edited by , BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Ravi Teja Tadimalla BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Experience: 8 years
Fact-checked by , BPharm, Certified Health & Wellness Coach Moksha Gandhi BPharm, Certified Health & Wellness Coach Experience: 2 years

Cowpeas, unlike their name, are a variety of beans and not peas. Also known as black-eyed peas, southern peas and crowder peas, these are oval in shape with a black spot on each. Usually available in different varieties of colors like creamy white, red, black, brown, etc, these are highly nutritious and add a rich fleshy taste and texture to your meals! Due to its high tolerance of heat, drought, and loose sandy soil, these can be commonly grown and found in dry, arid regions of Asia and Africa. The different subspecies of cowpea beans are called yardlong beans, catjang peas, China beans, and field beans.

protip_icon Know Your Ingredient: Cowpeas

What Is It?
Kidney-shaped, annual, herbaceous legume with a black eye spot.

What Are Its Benefits?
May help maintain blood cholesterol levels, improve blood lipid profiles, and promote skin and hair health.

Who Can Consume It?
Since cowpeas are rich in nutrition, they are safe for everyone in moderation.

How Often?
You can consume cowpeas daily to reap their benefits.

Always soak cowpeas before cooking to lower the raffinose content and prevent symptoms like abdominal pain, gas, and bloating.

Cowpeas, just like other beans and legumes, are highly nutrient-dense and provide you with many essential vitamins and minerals! They not only help you feel full and satiated with a nutritious meal every time, but are also good for your hair and skin health as well! To help you know more about cowpeas, their benefits, and how you can include them in your meals, we have summed it all up for you in the following sections!

protip_icon Did You Know?
First written mention of cowpeas in the United States dates back to 1798. It is assumed that they gained their name from being widely used as cow fodder.

Health Benefits of Cowpeas:

Check out here some of the top cowpeas benefits for your health.

1. May Help To Maintain Standard Cholesterol Levels

Cowpeas can keep our cholesterol level remarkably low. It is an excellent source of soluble dietary fiber and protein, which play a significant role in decreasing the amount of bad cholesterol present in the plasma of our blood. They also contain steroid compounds called phytosterols. These are very effective in maintaining the standard cholesterol levels in our body (1).

2. May Improve Blood Lipid Profile

The glycemic index of cowpeas is also quite lower than many other foods. A number of researches have proved that a low-glycemic-index-diet is extremely beneficial for our blood lipid profile. Hence, it is another way through which the beans can keep our blood cholesterol under control (2), (3), (4).

3. May Remove Free Radicals

Cowpeas, especially the creamy white, light brown, black and red ones, are loaded with antioxidant agents – vitamin A and vitamin C. Therefore, consumption of these beans may help to get rid of detrimental free radicals, which can eventually stop the growth of cancerous cells (5).

4. May Regulate Blood Sugar Levels

Being high in soluble fiber, cow pea works as a great solution for diabetic conditions. Research suggests that it may help to regulate blood sugar levels and lower the risk of diabetes mellitus (6).

5. Treats Cardiovascular Ailments

Cowpeas in a heart-shaped bowl to represent cardiovascular health
Image: Shutterstock

Research suggests that the secondary metabolites flavonoidsi  A group of natural compounds in plant-based foods that have antioxidants and protect cells from oxidative damage. present in cow peas may be effective in treating various cardiovascular issues, though further studies are warranted (7). By including the veggie in your regular diet, you can easily cut down the risks of developing several heart diseases (8).

6. Lignin Content In Cowpeas May Keep Fatal Diseases Away

Another good component found in cowpeas is lignin. It is basically a group of phytoestrogensi  Compounds naturally found in plants that are structurally and functionally similar to estrogen, a female reproductive hormone. that keep a number of fatal diseases like cancer (some specific types), stroke, hypertension, osteoporosisi  A condition in which bones become weak and brittle due to low bone mineral density and bone mass caused by vitamin and calcium deficiency. , etc. at bay (7). However, further research is warranted to establish the association between cowpeas and lowered risk of some fatal diseases.

7. May Help To Treat Stomach and Pancreatic Problems

Woman holding stomach due to pain
Image: Shutterstock

Very few foods are capable of dealing with spleen, stomach and pancreas related problems like cowpeas. They can tone these organs properly and facilitate their functions. In addition, these beans can calm the working of the bowel in your body (9).

8. May Help With Urination & Bowel Related Conditions

Cowpeas may be useful in eliminating urination problems, such as uneasiness or obstructions. Leucorrhea or abnormal vaginal discharge may also be managed by eating cowpeas regularly (9).

9. Good for Weight Loss

Cowpeas overflowing from a sack
Image: Shutterstock

Like other beans, cowpeas are a low-fat, and low-calorie food, which is extremely beneficial for weight loss. The sodium content of the vegetable is also very low. Moreover, cowpeas are absolutely cholesterol-free. All these make the item a great nutritious option for overweight people to shed off excess weight and slim down (10).

protip_icon Trivia
The African continent, primarily Nigeria and Niger, accounts for about 66% of the world’s cowpea production.

Benefits of Cowpea for Skin

Smiling woman with healthy and glowing skin
Image: Shutterstock

10. Delays Signs of Aging

As mentioned earlier, cowpeas are rich in antioxidants. They contain vitamin A and vitamin C, which are two most beneficial elements for our skin. Both of these can prevent our skin cells from getting damaged by free radicals. They can repair our skin and rejuvenate it accordingly. The anti-oxidative properties of cowpeas also remove various symptoms of aging like wrinkles, spots, etc. As a result, we get smooth, healthy and glowing skin (5), (11), (12).

11. Keeps Skin Healthy

The high protein content of cowpeas is also very good for our skin. It accelerates the process of skin repair and helps in keeping it healthy (7), (13).

Benefits of Cowpea for Hair

Woman with shiny and thick hair
Image: Shutterstock

Check out the benefits of cowpeas for your healthy hair.

12. Offers Health & Shine to Hair

Being an excellent source of antioxidants, cowpea is quite effective for our hair too. From maintaining the health of our tresses to making them shiny, these small beans can do almost each and everything.

13. Fights Hair Loss

Cowpeas work as a great solution for hair loss (7), (14). If you are suffering from the problem of frequent hair loss, increasing the intake of cowpeas can help you fight against it significantly.

14. Boosts Hair Growth

With the help of cowpeas, you can also facilitate the growth of your hair to a great extent. The vegetable is high in protein, which is one of the most vital components of our hair. So, regular consumption of it can boost the amount of protein in our body and help our hair grow faster.

Let us find out how to include this nutritious ingredient in your daily diet.

How To Add Cowpeas To Your Diet

Cowpeas have a mild, nutty aroma and a rich creamy and earthy flavor. Here is how you can include cowpeas in your diet:

  • Add them to salads or stews.
  • Stir-fry or steam the beans.
  • Eat them raw.
  • Mix them with pasta.
  • Prepare cowpea soup.
  • Grind cowpeas to whip up a spread for your sandwiches.
  • Mix them with meat, spices, and vegetables to make curries.
  • Make fritters and kebabs with them.
  • Blend them with vegetables and spices to make a dip for nachos or pita bread.
  • Use cowpea powder as a gluten-free substitute for cake flour when baking.

It is best to soak the beans in water for at least 4 to 6 hours to make the cooking process easier.

Infographic: Important Health Benefits Of Cowpeas

Cowpeas are a variety of beans commonly consumed in Asia and Africa and are highly nutritious. The many benefits of cowpeas not only helps keep your body healthy but also your hair and skin. To know about the most important health benefits of cowpeas, check out the infographic below!

important health benefits of cowpeas (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

The benefits of cowpeas can be attributed to their beneficial nutrients. If included regularly as a part of the diet, cowpeas help maintain cholesterol levels, improve blood lipid profile, regulate blood sugar levels, and help in treating cardiovascular ailments. They even help manage stomach and pancreatic problems and conditions related to the urinary tract and the bowels. These peas also benefit the skin by reducing the signs of aging. Try including cowpeas in your diet to reap the array of benefits they offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are cowpeas acidic?

Yes. Cowpeas have a low pH value and are acidic.

Can cowpeas be eaten raw?

No. Cowpeas are usually eaten boiled or roasted.

Do cowpeas cause bloating?

Consuming cowpeas may cause abdominal discomfort and bloating for some people (15).

Key Takeaways

  • Cowpea is a good source of fiber and protein.
  • It contains antioxidants that can enhance intestinal well-being, promote healthy skin, and prevent anemia.
  • Amino acids like lysine and methionine present in it can prevent hair loss and encourage hair growth.
  • They are rich in protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates that make one full quickly and for longer periods, which aids weight management.

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Learn about the amazing nutrition facts and health benefits of black eyed peas! Watch the video below to discover how this delicious legume can help you stay healthy and fit.


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Cowpea protein reduces LDL-cholesterol and apolipoprotein B concentrations but does not improve biomarkers of inflammation or endothelial dysfunction in adults with moderate hypercholesterolemia
  2. Glycemic and physiochemical properties of five common cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) cultivars in Nigeria
  3. A High Legume Low Glycemic Index Diet Improves Serum Lipid Profiles in Men
  4. Cholesterol-Lowering Properties of Whole Cowpea Seed and Its Protein Isolate in Hamsters
  5. Antioxidant Activity of the Extracts of Some Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L) Walp.) Cultivars Commonly Consumed in Pakistan
  6. Influence of Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) Peptides on Insulin Resistance
  7. Cowpea: an overview on its nutritional facts and health benefits
  8. Health Benefits of Plant-Based Nutrition: Focus on Beans in Cardiometabolic Diseases
  9. Nutritional Values and Medicinal Health Aspects of Brown Brown-Black and White Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L. Walp.) Grown in Okene Kogi State Nigeria
  10. Bean Consumption Accounts for Differences in Body Fat and Waist Circumference: A Cross-Sectional Study of 246 Women
  11. The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health
  12. Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging
  13. Role of food’s protein on skin health
  14. Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use
  15. Flatulence and other discomforts associated with consumption of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata)
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Reda Elmardi

Reda ElmardiRDN

Reda Elmardi is a registered dietician, certified nutritionist, and certified strength and conditioning specialist trainer. He has more than 10 years of experience and has been an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist Trainer since 2015. He shares sports nutrition tips and gives guidance on exercises, sports, and martial arts through his website. Reda is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt,...read full bio

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