AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health

Sweet, delicious, and full of health benefits, many of which are only now coming to light, fresh green peas are sometimes a rare commodity in much of the Western world, given their short growing season, and their exotic nature doesn’t end there.

While they’ve always been known to contain high levels of vitamins and minerals, potentially cancer-fighting compounds called phytonutrients are the new focus in research on green peas, and these compounds are well worth hearing about if you’re thinking about taking your pea consumption up a notch in the name of good health.

Need a good reason to eat your peas? Here are two great ones, just to be sure!

Green Peas are Full of Fat – The Good Kind!

Green peas contain a wide variety of compounds, some quickly identifiable and some lurking discretely inside. The simple taste of green peas gives away sugar and starch instantly, but there is also a surprising range of healthy fats and fat-soluble nutrients, making them a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids given their high levels of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

A single cup of green peas contains a whopping 30 milligrams of ALA, along with 130 milligrams of linoleic acid, also known as omega-6 fatty acids, and good amounts of fat-soluble nutrients such as beta-carotene and vitamin E, as well.

Phytonutrients: Antioxidizing Superstars

Fatty acids and vitamins are great, but you’re not likely short on sources for those nutrients. On the other hand, green peas do offer a very unique health benefit in the form of phytonutrients called saponins.

Only recently discovered, these phytonutrients are antioxidizing by nature, offering your body a range of healthy compounds, including ferulic and caffeic acid, and flavanols such as catechin and epicatechin, all ingredients very similar to those found in broccoli.

Research into the long-term effects of a diet high in these compounds is ongoing, but early studies indicate that they may have far-reaching capabilities in the realm of cancers of the stomach, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, making them a worthwhile addition to any diet, any time.

They’re Great for Agriculture, Too

In a final point concerning green peas that is not directly related to your health, but rather that of the very Earth itself, green peas are one of the simplest, least invasive, and most soil-friendly crops to grow, making them an excellent option for everything from home gardens to large-scale food programs aimed at underdeveloped nations.

The reason for this Earth-friendliness is found in many aspects of green pea growth, with agricultural research showing that their very presence serves to boost soil with added nutrients, nitrogen most important among them. This effect stems from the reaction between bacteria found naturally in soil and the unique composition of green pea roots, relieving the need for farmers to use chemical fertilizers.

The Availability of Green Peas

From the standpoint of pure taste, I can’t possibly recommend that you eat anything other than fresh green peas, but that’s not to say that there aren’t quality frozen options out there. Given their short shelf life, only about 5 percent of the world’s green peas are sold fresh, making them difficult to come by outside of their growing season, generally from May through July.

Despite the difference in taste and texture, none of the beneficial ingredients of green peas are lost when frozen, although they may be high in sodium if the manufacturer decided to prolong their shelf life a step further; luckily, there are always low-sodium options available.

Between their great health benefits and agricultural prowess, each one of us has every reason to make green peas a much bigger part of our diet!

Categories: Nutrition

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