Mediterranean Diet 101

Peas Health Benefits

Peas are simple and year long available vegetable, that is often neglected with no reason. It can be found fresh, fresh frozen or canned. Fresh peas are the best and have best taste, but canned ones can be consumed in seconds.

Peas can be used as a side dish, as part of the various salads, with pasta, in the stews, soups etc.


Peas Nutritional Data

Peas are rich in vegetable protein, complex carbohydrates, digestive fibers, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other compounds that are beneficial for humans.

Amount of peas per serving varies, but usually it is between 70 and 200g. Usually, one cup of peas has between 135 and 150g.

Nutritional data of 100g of fresh peas is given in the following table:

Macronutrients Vitamins Minerals
Protein 5.4g Vitamin A 765 IU  Sodium 5 mg
Carbohydrates 14.5g Thiamine - B1 0.27 mg  Magnesium 35 mg
Fats 0.4g Riboflavin - B2 0.13 mg  Potassium 245 mg
Fibers 5.1g Niancin - B3 2.1 mg  Calcium 25 mg
Energy ~80 kcal Vitamin C 40 mg  Iron 1.5 mg
Lactose 0g Vitamin E 0.13 mg  Phosphorus 110mg

Note that absolute amounts of macronutrients and especially micronutrients like vitamins and minerals vary depending on growing location and conditions, pea variety, preparation method etc.

As one can see, peas are rich in vitamins A, E, C, B complex and other vitamins, not mentioned here. Also, they are great source of potassium and iron, with very low amount of sodium.

Peas contain no lactose and no cholesterol.

Complex carbohydrates and high fiber content makes one satiated for longer period of time without spikes in blood sugar levels - great for people on low and medium calorie diets.

Health Benefits of Peas

There are numerous health benefits of peas that are often overlooked. Due to its content of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, phytosterols etc. peas can help in many ways:

Weight management - although 80 kcal per 100g of peas is plenty when compared with lettuce (15 kcal per 100g) or cucumbers (12 kcal per 100g), peas will keep one satiated for longer period of time and thus prolong period between meals, reducing total amount of consumed calories. Reduced calories lead to gradual weight loss. Also, fibers in peas improves bowel health and prevent constipation - one cup of peas contain approximately 1/4 to 1/3 of recommended daily fiber intake.

Boost immune system - being rich in not only vitamins and minerals, but also antioxidants like phenolic acids (for example: caffeic and ferulic acid), polyphenols (for example: coumestrol), flavinoids (for example: epicatechin and catechin) etc. regular consumption of peas leads to stronger immune system - preventing and helping with various forms of cancers, degenerative illnesses, aging and leads to overall well-being.

Bone health - peas are also rich in vitamin K (100g of peas contain ~30% vitamin K RDA) - combined with B complex, vitamin K helps fix calcium (peas are not the best source of calcium!) in the bone tissue, preventing and/or postponing osteoporosis and other bone diseases.

Unfortunately, like all other plants (except certain mushrooms dried on the sun), peas contain NO VITAMIN D - hence, combine peas with sea food (fish is great source of vitamin D and omega-3 essential fatty acids) and some low fat and cottage cheese (great source of calcium) to create well balanced and very fulfilling meals with low and moderate amounts of calories.

Regulation of blood sugar - high fiber content and complex carbs slow digestion down leading to constant flow of nutrients into the blood stream without spikes in blood sugar levels and hence no insulin spikes. Also, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds help type 2 diabetes issues. Some even claim that even reversal is possible, but IMHO, many double-blind studies are required to prove that.

peas cheese pasta2Heart diseases - peas contain no cholesterol and macro- and micronutrients present in peas lead to lowering of blood cholesterol and to improving LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol - yes, cholesterol can be good!) ratio. Peas also help in lowering blood pressure and keeping blood arteries clean.

Of course, there are many other benefits that come from regular consummation of peas. So, be sure to include peas in your diet and eat it on a daily basis - just a half of a cup of peas per day can make the difference.

Easy Recipes with Peas

Here are just a few simple and quick recipes using peas as one of the ingredients. You can follow the recipes letter by letter, or you can adjust them to your needs and personal preferences. Bone Appetite! :)

Mussels Pasta Recipe - Cooking Frozen Mussels

mussels pasta recipe mMussels pasta recipe is quick and relatively easy recipe to make. Cooking frozen mussels is practically the same as cooking fresh mussels - fresh mussels taste better, but frozen ones are available all year long ...

Mashed Cauliflower with Peas

cauliflower and peas mMashed Cauliflower with Peas is great side dish for meatheads, but also can be full meal for vegans with or without added vegetable protein.

Peas, Pasta, Broccoli Salad

peas pasta broccoli mPeas, pasta, broccoli salad is very fulfilling salad and it takes it maybe 10-15 minutes to make it. Main ingredients are frozen peas, frozen broccoli and some whole wheat pasta. If you want, you can add some low fat or cottage cheese to increase protein content.

 For more quick and healthy recipes, with or without peas, feel free to check our Recipes.

Pea Protein Isolate

Pea protein isolate is type of vegan protein supplement that is often part of vegan protein blends or can be found as pure pea protein supplement.

Pea protein has protein Biological Value (BV) of around 65 (compared with eggs - BV 100) and PDCAAS of around 0.69 (eggs, again, 1.00).

However, combining pea protein with other plant based protein powders (hemp protein, rice protein etc.), increases BV of powder. Adding BCAAs and Glutamine leads to even better sport supplements.

Note: these powders are more expensive than protein powders derived from milk and eggs (whey protein, casein protein, egg albumen etc.), but contain very low amounts of potential allergens and contain no animal products.

Taste and texture of shakes made from plant based powders is not so good when compared with whey and/or casein supplements.

Pea protein isolate digests slower than whey protein - whey protein supplements are much better for Post Workout Meal (PWM) shakes, but if you have certain issues with whey protein or you are vegan, 30-50g of pea protein isolate (or plant protein blend) can significantly improve recovery and regeneration after workout.

Also, pea protein isolate digests faster than casein protein, but it can be used for daily snacks and even bed time protein shakes, especially when combined with peanut butter and some almonds, walnuts and other nuts.

Using pea protein isolate and peas in general, is a great way for vegans to increase their daily protein intake.

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