It’s strange, but peas don’t get mentioned often in the health news as one of those healing foods that can help ward off disease. But, they should. They are packed with a variety of nutrients, including phytochemicals that exert cancer-fighting, cholesterol-lowering, and prebiotic effects.
Maybe the lack of enthusiasm related to peas stems from the fact that they’re a vegetable your grandmother used to serve with roast beef—and nobody associates those meals with good health. But, these little tasty seeds harvested from the pea plant are not only an excellent tonic for your digestive system, but they could also protect you from the damaging effects of high cholesterol and even cancer.
Researchers from the University of Florida noted that peas have long been a staple of the human diet because of their starch and protein. But, not much has ever been written about the health benefits associated with pea consumption. So, the researchers decided to address that void.
When they analyzed the nutrients found in green and yellow peas, they found:
• Fiber from the seed coat and the cell walls of peas helps boost gastrointestinal function and reduce the digestibility of starch in peas
• The amylose content of pea starch contributes to its lower glycemic index
• Pea protein may yield peptides with bioactivities, including antioxidant activity
• The vitamin and mineral content of peas may play important roles in the prevention of deficiency-related diseases, specifically those related to iron or folate
• Peas contain a variety of phytochemicals that have antioxidant and anticancer activity
• Peas contain saponins, which may help keep cholesterol in check, and exert beneficial prebiotic effects in the large intestine
There’s an ongoing effort to discover superfoods around the globe, and peas may just qualify. There’s also a growing belief that local food, grown near where it’s sold and eaten, is much more nutritious than food that has traveled great distances.
Sources for Today’s Articles:
This Commonly Forgotten Vegetable Could Be a Superfood
Dahl, W.J., et al., “Review of the health benefits of peas (Pisum sativum L.),” Br J Nutr. August 2012;108(1): S3-10.