If you have been to the UK and have had the famed British dish of fish & chips, you will find that the Brits do enjoy their mushy peas alongside their crispy fries and their golden crusted fish. To some, they might find it the perfect accompaniment as a side and to others, completely frown at the sight of it since the moist and mushy texture of these peas just rubs them the wrong way. But love them or hate them, it is not in us to deny how nutritiously packed these green peas are. While the British mushy peas are whipped up only with dried marrowfat peas, let us uncover the wondrous health benefits of green peas as a whole.
What Are Green Peas?
For those who have lived off frozen food, they might have never seen green peas in their original shape and form. As an introduction, green peas are the little rounds seeds that pop out of the pods cultivated by the pisum sativum plant. But while we might assume these cute little peas and pods to belong to the vegetable family, they are actually a member of the legume family tree like that of lentils, chickpeas and peanuts (essentially, they are plants which sprout pods with seeds in them). But while we understand peas to only be in the healthy colour of green, there are actually yellow peas, black-eyed peas (we know, we chuckled when we first found out) and purple peas on top of the common green ones. Since green peas are known to be high in the complex carb of starch, they have been lumped together in the category of starchy vegetables together with potatoes, corn and squash.
Green Peas Control Your Blood Sugar
A high blood sugar levels might go onto serious conditions like diabetes and heart diseases and that has us scrambling towards maintaining our blood sugar levels within the healthy range. A primary reason why our blood sugar spikes is due to the food we eat. In a nutshell, those foods with a high glycemic index would cause your blood sugar to jump after consumption. Green peas are the very opposite of that and a diet with green peas and other food with low glycemic indices would help you control your blood sugar better. Fibre is also another component to how the blood sugar levels in our body rise and fall — when you take in food with a high fibre count, the rate in which carbs are absorbed is much slower and that causes your blood sugar levels to move up or down at a steady pace.
Green Peas Help Digestion
As mentioned, the high fibre in green peas helps ensure your blood sugar levels do not bounce or plummet wildly but that is not all. The high fibre actually helps to maintain the good bacteria in our intestines and this keeps the unhealthy bacteria from taking over your intestines when they overpopulate. Wondering what an overpopulation of bad bacteria might spell out for you? You might just contract gastrointestinal conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome and colon cancer. The fibre in green peas is also known to be insoluble and this acts as a combining agent in your digestive tract for your stool to be softer and easier to pass.
Green Peas Protect You From Diseases
Because of how green peas contain a few fancy nutrients that have been known to be heart-healthy like magnesium, potassium and calcium, diets with green peas in them are thought to be great for avoiding high blood pressure. The flavonols, carotenoids and vitamin C in green peas also prevent damage to your cells and that makes the likelihood of contracting heart disease much lower.
Cancer is also another risk that green peas are said to reduce — this happens when the antioxidant content in green peas react with the body to subside any inflammation in the body. Green peas have also a few nutrients that have been identified as cancer-preventing like vitamin K, which helps prevent prostate cancer.
Final Round Up
Nothing in the world is complete and perfect and the same can be said for green peas. Despite how they are great in boosting the beneficial nutrients in our body, green peas are known to contain antinutrients that cause issues with our digestion or ability to absorb minerals. The two antinutrients in green peas are phytic acid and lectins. What phytic acid does to our body is to affect minerals like iron, calcium and zinc from being absorbed by our body. On the other hand, lectins are what usually cause flatulence and bloating when we consume too many green peas.
What nutritionists advise is to not completely eradicate green peas from your diet since they benefit our body more than they cause harm, but instead to keep our portion sizes to a reasonable amount. That means one should not exceed half a cup of green peas since any more would cause you to exhibit those uncontrollable side-effects. Due to how green peas are such a favourite snack to munch on while watching television, always put a comfortable serving size in a bowl instead of dipping your hands into a bag of green peas — not only will you go over your daily caloric count but your friends and family around you will thank you for the clean breath of fresh air.