Peas belong to the legume family. The more common varieties include sugar snap peas, snow peas and garden peas. The younger the green peas are, the sweeter and more tender they will be. Snap peas have been developed from garden peas to have low-fiber pods that can be snapped and eaten along with the immature peas inside. Snow peas are harvested as flat, tender pods before the peas inside develop. After shelling, peas can be eaten raw or cooked. To minimize the loss of nutrients peas should be cooked in a minimum of water.
Key Ingredients of Peas
Per Serving: 125 fresh peas, boiled, 85g Per Serving: 1cup, frozen peas boiled, 160g
Per Serving: 125ml, raw snow-peas, 77g Per Serving: 1 cup, raw snow-peas, 63g
Eat Your Peas!
Peas, like all fruits and vegetables are low in calories, high in complex carbohydrates, contain no cholesterol and almost no fat. Along with the minerals and vitamins, many antioxidants add the nutritional value of peas. Fresh peas are an excellent source of fibre, vitamin K, magnesium and manganese. They are a good source of Vitamin A, vitamin B6, folate and thiamin. Peas are a source of potassium and niacin. Peas are one of the highest sources of vegetable protein. Snow-peas are an excellent source of vitamin C but not quite as nutrient packed with the other vitamins and minerals. Both types of peas contain many antioxidants.
Peas supply a source of antioxidants to the body. Antioxidants are nutrients that play an important role in health maintenance. They neutralize harmful chemicals called "free-radicals" that cause cell damage in the body. Antioxidants have been strongly linked to the prevention of numerous diseases from heart disease to cancer, eye disease and regulation of the immune system.
Peas have added antioxidant ability because of the carotenoids Beta-carotene, Lutein & Zeaxanthin which convert to vitamin A for future use in the body. Carotenoids are a large class of natural plant pigments responsible for the bright green colour of peas. They exhibit strong antioxidant properties and may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and some types of cancer.
About 40% of the carotenoids we eat are converted to vitamin A; the rest function as antioxidants. Lutein and zeaxanthin are also antioxidant carotenoids that protect the eyes from damage and may reduce the risks of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble essential nutrient and antioxidant in peas. It must be renewed regularly since it is not stored in the body. Vitamin C is necessary to make and maintain collagen, the connective tissue that holds the body and organs in place. Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds, keeps gums healthy, helps to resist infection, aids in the absorption of iron and many other vital functions. It is associated with lowering the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
Peas are high in fibre, remnants of edible plant cells that resist digestion and absorption in the stomach and small intestines. Peas are a very good source of dietary fibre. There are two different types of fibre. Both types are needed in a healthy diet. Insoluble fibre is “bowel friendly” because it helps maintain regularity. Apples are high in Soluble fibre, that is “heart friendly” and may lower cholesterol and reduce the risks associated with diabetes by helping control blood sugar levels. All fruits and vegetables contain some of each type of fibre.
Peas are an excellent source of vitamin K, which ends up in the liver and forms the ingredients for blood clotting. Blood coagulation is not the only important function of Vitamin K, it is also necessary for the formation of new bone material and healthy bone structure.
Peas are a good source of folate. Folate is a water-soluble B group vitamin. Because the body doesn't keep excess amounts of the water-soluble vitamins in reserve, the body must replenish them daily. Folate plays a crucial role in every body function that requires cell division. This helps explain the importance in fetal development. Prior and during pregnancy, folic acid helps prevent neurological defects, such as spina bifida, in the fetus. All women of childbearing age need to have a regular source of folate.
The many tasks of folate include making blood cells, building muscles, healing wound and producing chemicals that keep the brain and nervous system functioning properly. Folate is essential for a healthy cardiovascular system. High folate content is thought to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Peas are also a source of potassium. Potassium is an essential mineral that helps to regulate the body's balance of fluid. It is essential for many metabolic processes and is instrumental in the transmission of nerve impulses, proper muscle function, and maintaining normal blood pressure.
Manganese is a trace mineral in peas that plays an important role in the formation of bone and connective tissue in the body and plays a role in healing wounds. Peas are an excellent source of manganese.
Magnesium is an essential mineral for the human body. Peas are an excellent source of magnesium, needed for the formation of protein and bone, making new cells, activating B vitamins and blood clotting.
Peas are an excellent source of thiamin, a water-soluble B vitamin, that the body requires to break down carbohydrates, fat and protein. It is also required for the proper functioning of the nerve cells.
Peas are a source of Vitamin B6, needed in the body to release energy in forms that the cells can use. It is instrumental in the functioning of the nervous and immune systems and the manufacture of red blood cells.