Health With Green Peas
During winter season we usually see heaps of green peas in vegetable markets. They are sweet and blend very well with seasonal vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower etc. In winters, it is common to find them in many vegetable dishes, to which it adds lots of flavour. We often neglect them thinking it to be a hassle to peel the pods and take out the seeds, unaware of the fact that they contain a number of health benefits. They are a good source of immune supportive Vitamin C, bone-building Vitamin K and manganese, heart healthy dietary fiber and folate energy producing thiamin (Vitamin B1) and vision supportive Vitamin A. They are low in calories and rich in a number of protective unique phytonutrients essential to health. It is advised to take at least three cups of peas per week to obtain maximum health benefits. Although fresh green peas are available only during the winter season, dry split seeds are available in the market throughout the year.
■ The soluble fiber in peas is very good for intestinal health as they bind with cholesterol, thus helping excrete it. They also help maintain a constant and regular energy supply by slowing down the appearance of glucose in blood.
■ Peas contain plant sterols (phytosterols) which help lower the cholesterol levels in the body
■ Being low in calorie and high in nutrients they make an excellent snack for those trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. The dietary fiber in peas helps prevent constipation as well as other gastro intestinal issues.
■ Green peas are considered a nutritious vegetable as they contain phytonutrients, minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants in abundance.
■ The wide variety of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrient found in green peas play a primary role in the cancer preventive benefits. Consumption of green peas along with other legumes decreases the risk of stomach cancer.
■ Green peas contain folic acid in the form of Vitamin B complex vitamins . About 100g of peas fulfil the daily requirement of folates to the body. They are especially good for expectant mothers as they help prevent neutral tube defects in new-born babies.
■ Green peas are an excellent source of iron which helps transport oxygen from lungs to the rest of the body. Regular consumption of iron is necessary for proper blood cell formation and help prevent anaemia.
■ Vitamin C present in peas is good natural water soluble anti-oxidant. This helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful free radicals from the body.
■ Vitamin A in fresh green peas is an important nutrient that is required to maintain healthy mucus membranes, essential for vision and for the skin too. Consumption of natural foods rich in flavonoids helps protect us from lung and oral cavity cancers. Fresh green peas contain adequate amount of anti-oxidants flavonoids such as carotenes etc.
■ Magnesium, a mineral found in peas, help lower the high blood pressure and protect against heart disease.
■ Vitamin K found in peas help in bone mass building function. They also help in controlling the Alzheimer’s disease by limiting the neuronal damage in the brain.
■ Green peas with its content of Vitamin B1, B2 and B6 it is also believed to protect our cardiovascular health.
■ Peas are also rich in B- Complex vitamins such as niacin, thiamin etc. and rich in minerals like calcium, zinc, copper, iron and manganese.
■ One should look for fresh pods brimming with seeds avoiding the wrinkled and yellow-coloured pods.
■ Peas are best eaten as soon as they are brought and when fresh as the sugar content in them rapidly converts into starch.
By Nibhanapudi Suguna