If you were anything like this writer as a child, dinner went down like this if peas were on the plate: you’d move the peas around the other foods of your meal with your fork to make it look like there weren’t so many there; you’d hide a couple underneath the mashed potatoes to make it look like you had consumed some; you’d somehow get a bunch into your napkin when your parents weren’t looking and sneakily throw the hidden stash away; you’d be threatened with “If you don’t eat all your peas, you are going to bed hungry, missy,” to which you put up a cranky fight (because you had not finished your meal and you were not about to lose this battle) and marched off to your bedroom, pleased with yourself for standing up to your parents and sticking to your guns. But you’re older now, more wise, with a more seasoned and sophisticated palate to rescind your old stance on the little green guys. And with so many nutritional benefits, making sure to add them to your diet is a natural way to fuel your body with everything it needs to stay healthy.
Pea Is for Protein It’s no wonder more and more companies like Aloha are looking to peas for protein powders as a substitute for dairy and soy products as a healthy way to avoid the side effects and/or allergies some have to other products on the market. One cup of these little guys yields about 8 grams of protein, which is about the same amount you’d get in a protein bar, minus the additives.
Full of Folates Peas are also high in folates (serving up 24% of your recommended daily intake in one cup), which help to repair red blood cells in the body as well as the function of iron in the body—not to be confused with folic acid, which is synthesized in labs to be added to supplements and fortified foods. Folate deficiency is the most common vitamin deficiency in developed countries; it is rare that folate is found naturally in foods, adding more weight to the pro-peas debate. Deficiency is a result of by low intake (there are a lot of people who won’t eat anything green, i.e., kids like me who wouldn’t eat their peas who grow up to be adults who don’t incorporate many greens into their diet), malabsorption (sometimes due to Celiac disease or inflammatory bowel problems) and even alcoholism. By adding one little vegetable into your diet regularly you’ll be able to naturally increase your folate intake to help keep your blood healthy.
K, Thanks Another way peas can help keep your blood in tip-top shape is by their rich source of vitamin K, which is needed to help blood clot and prevent excessive bleeding, peas can also help in maintaining healthy bones. By helping to transport calcium throughout the body, vitamin K may also assist in maintaining bone health, though research is still being conducted to confirm this theory. Either way, that one cup serving of peas serves up 45% of the recommended daily intake of this necessary vitamin.
C Stands for Cut the Crap Providing a whopping 97% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C per serving, you can ditch that morning glass of orange juice to reduce your sugar intake. According to Dr. David Perlmutter, one 12-ounce glass of OJ contains 9 teaspoons of sugar, about the same amount of sugar found in can of Coke. So you’ll be saving yourself some money—and your health—because you’ll get just about all the vitamin C you need for the day in that one cup of peas (along with all the other amazing benefits found in that one cup listed above).
Food for Thought While not necessarily pea-specific, consuming a diet full of naturally green foods has been linked to the slowing of cognitive decline, helping to keep the mind sharp as you age as well as helping to lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.