When you think of green peas, what’s the first thing that springs into your mind? If it was that green goop often served with fish and chips then it’s time you saw them in a different light.
Green peas are loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients which is pretty cool for a “starchy vegetable” with two particular anti-inflammatory nutrients found almost exclusively in peas. They are rich in antioxidant vitamins and minerals with vitamin C & E and the mineral Zinc worthy of a special mention. It doesn’t stop here as hidden within these delightful little morsels is the fatty acid Omega-3 which is a wonderful surprise.
Green peas are right up there with the best of them when it comes to providing substantial amounts of protein and fibre 8-10 grams per cup respectively. Protein and fibre regulate the pace of digestion by regulating the breakdown of starch and sugars throughout the digestive track, this controlled regulation helps to maintain steady blood sugar levels. They do this by lowering our fasting blood sugar levels as well as our fasting insulin levels.
Regular consumption of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients can help prevent both chronic, oxidative stress and chronic inflammation which are well known risk factors for type II diabetes and autoimmune conditions. Green peas provide good amounts of vitamin B1, folate, B2, B3 and B6 which work to keep homocysteine levels down (homocysteine raises the risk of cardiovascular disease).
Peas are actually a Legume, though unlike other legumes they are often sold and cooked fresh, they are widely recognised as one of the first food crops to be cultivated by humans.
Choosing your Peas
With roughly 5% of peas grown being sold fresh it’s understandable that finding fresh peas could potentially prove challenging. Frozen peas are the next best thing, as the freezing process aids in retaining their colour, texture and flavour. Avoid buying canned peas as these have a much higher sodium content. Where possible always aim to buy organic non GMO foods.