Come winter and most Indian households will have an abundant supply of fresh winter green peas! Being in season, these green peas are seen as an accompaniment in any and every Indian household recipe! Be it, green peas with potatoes, paneer, rice, carrots and anything that fancies a mother’s imagination!
In most families, there are some members who absolutely love green peas and enjoy them in every dish, and then there are a few who turn their noses at the sight of these tiny green balls of goodness.
Whether you like green peas or not, consuming them often is a great idea. Because these tiny green vegetables are surprisingly packed with nutrition. They also have some great health benefits that ensure the next time, you will not pick them out of your food and place them at the side of your plate.
Let us discuss what green peas contain and the health benefits they possess.
About green peas
Green peas, though technically considered as a vegetable actually belong to the legume family along with other varieties of dals and peas that are usually dehydrated and consumed after cooking.
Green peas are in season during the winter. These are usually young pods and the green peas are actually the seeds of the pod. Because they are young, the peas are soft and can be consumed directly.
These fresh peas are soft to eat and can be eaten raw or even cooked and added to recipes. The same peas can also be dried as a whole and then extracted and used as dried green peas. These dried peas must be rehydrated by soaking and cooking them before consumption.
Young pea pods instead are easy to snap out of their pods and are smaller and sweeter to eat. As the peas mature, the pods become tougher, the peas become bigger in size are become less sweet to eat. These peas when extracted from the pods fresh, can be eaten raw and can be cooked into various recipes. These peas can also be frozen, stored and used at a later time.
Why green peas are so good for you?
It may be hard to believe, but this small-sized food is packed with nutrition. Green peas are also surprisingly low on calories as well. About 100 grams of fresh green peas contain anything around 50 calories.
Nutritionally, carbohydrates form a major chunk of the nutrition. Proteins come as a second along with a good amount of fibre and other wide range of vitamins and minerals.
The nutritional content in green peas
We now know that green peas are very good for you. Let us know its approximate nutritional value to help us understand this superfood better.
Green peas contain the highest amounts of carbohydrates. Then next it contains about equal quantities of protein and fibre.
Green peas are also rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin K and Vitamin C and Vitamin B complex. It also is full of minerals like manganese, iron and phosphorus.
Yet another major nutritional advantage is that green peas are packed with polyphenol antioxidants that have many health benefits.
All in all, green peas are low in calorie, high in proteins and fibre and contain a wide range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and so is a great food option. This is even more in the case of vegetarians and vegans who do not consume any proteins obtained from animal sources.
Why green peas are super healthy?
We now understand all the nutritional benefits that are derived from the humble green peas. But that’s not all, these tiny foods are known as superfoods for a reason. Regular consumption of this vegetable is also known to have many beneficial effects on the body too. Let us have a look at some of the many health benefits green peas offer.
1. Helps with weight management
Green peas are low in calories and high in fibre and protein. Making this an ideal food for people watching their weight. Green peas contain a substantial amount of insoluble fibre, that helps to keep the stomach feel full for longer. It also promotes more consumption of water helping with digestion as well. The fibre also helps to keep the gut healthy, as it adds bulk to stool formation.
2. Aids heart health
Green peas are helpful in maintaining heart health, as they contain some vital minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium. These minerals are essential for optimum heart health. Potassium helps to lower blood pressure, and calcium inhibits the development of heart diseases. Magnesium is essential for the transport of potassium and calcium.
All of these minerals help maintain heart health.
Additionally, the high fibre content of green peas also goes a long way to maintaining good heart health.
3. Helps to regulate blood sugar levels
Green peas have a low Glycemic Index. This means that consumption of green peas does not cause a sudden surge in blood sugar levels. This helps to regulate and maintain a healthy blood sugar level.
One of the reasons for this is the high fibre content in green peas. People who need to maintain their blood sugar levels can easily snack on some fresh green peas, which will help them feel fuller and satiated for a longer duration of time and also prevent a dangerous blood sugar spike.
4. Improves the immune system naturally
Being packed with essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc, etc. along with a healthy amount of antioxidants, green peas are the ideal food to strengthen the immune system naturally.
This comes useful, especially in the cooler season, when incidentally green peas are most abundant. Since colder seasons come along with health concerns like seasonal colds, coughs, fevers and other viral illnesses. A natural immunity booster can be greatly helpful.
5. May reduce the risk of cancer
We know that green peas help to boost immunity, and so they also naturally reduce inflammation. These properties may help in reducing the risk of cancer.
Also, there are some studies being conducted that support certain plant compounds such as ‘saponins’ to have anti-cancer effects. Green peas also contain saponins, which may help support the possibility that green peas consumption may reduce the risk of cancer.
Things to note about green peas
While we know that green peas are a superfood and an apt ingredient in many recipes, there may be certain factors that need to be remembered.
Green peas, though used as a vegetable are actually legumes. And so they may cause bloating after consumption. Which may become a concern for those with gut conditions like an ‘Irritable Bowel Syndrome’. Also, certain components of green peas like lectins and phytic acid are known to interfere with the healthy digestion of food and may come in the way of mineral absorption.
The best way to deal with this is to preferably consume peas in cooked form, and limit the portion size. Thus the slight flipside to green peas can be easily managed.
Should green peas be consumed?
Absolutely! This pack of healthy can easily be consumed on a regular basis to attain maximum benefits from this superfood.