Okay, okay...Mom, you were right! Those green peas that I used to try to feed to Brandy (our dog growing up), hide in my shirt or even spoon onto Bryan's (my younger brother) plate when no one was looking WERE actually good for me!
Green Peas are being called the "New It" food and a "Vitamin Powerhouse." Righteously so...they are a nutrient dense, phytochemical rich AND budget friendly! I never would have guessed they are a secret to weight loss, building muscle all the while fighting heart disease! Curious to how they can do this? Let's dive into this, shall we?!?
Whether you're trying to lose or maintain weight, these little green goodies can help! They are full of fiber which is the part of food that is not affected by the digestive process in the body. Only a small amount of fiber is metabolized in the stomach and intestine, the rest is passed through the gastrointestinal tract and makes up a part of the stool. Diets high in fiber can lower your risk of heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes. There are two types of dietary fiber, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber (type found in peas) retains water and turns to gel during digestion. It also slows digestion and nutrient absorption from the stomach and intestine. Soluble fiber is found in foods such as oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, peas, and some fruits and vegetables. Insoluble fiber appears to speed the passage of foods through the stomach and intestines and adds bulk to the stool. It is found in foods such as wheat bran, vegetables and whole grains. So make sure you get enough of both types of fiber.
This green legume is loaded with essential vitamins such as Vitamin A, B-1, B-6, C &K.
Antioxidants like Vitamin A are responsible for maintaining healthy vision, neurological function, healthy skin, building strong bones, regulating gene regulation, maintaining healthy clear skin, facilitating cell differentiation, and supporting immune function. Thiamine aka "Vitamin B-1" is necessary for turning food into energy. All B vitamins, including vitamin B6, play an important role in a range of physical and psychological functions. They are most known for helping to maintain a healthy metabolism, nerve function, liver function, skin health, eye health, as well as help to boost levels of energy. Vitamin C is necessary for the growth, development and repair of all body tissues. It's involved in many body functions, such as absorption of iron, the immune system, wound healing, and the maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth dysfunction, high blood pressure, blood vessel changes that precede heart disease, collagen formation. It has also been though to reduce risk of cancer and asthma. Lastly...Peas are a great source of Vitamin K, which helps your blood clot and prevents bleeding. When babies are born parents are asked if they would like their newborn to receive a Vitamin K injection at the time of delivery. Did you know that newborns are born with a very small amount of Vitamin K and without that injection they are at risk of suffering from Vitamin K deficiency which can cause brain injury and/or death? It's crazy to think of the impact of vitamin deficiencies.
Another amazing benefit of peas are that they are packed with plant protein. They are an amazing protein rich alternative if you are a vegetarian and are also soy, gluten and dairy free. In fact...don't be surprised if you see "Pea Based Milk" sold in your dairy section along with "Pea Based Faux Meat" next to your Tofu and Tempeh section in the grocery store. Believe me, its coming!! I'm sure my kids will be super stoked when I bring those items home!
So the next time you're at the store, you may want to add this Green Powerhouse to your list and enjoy the healthy benefits they can offer!