Green pea is a vegetable from the family of pisum sativum . It is a seasonal plant with several peas in a single pod. Each plant bears many pods and the plant is grown in farms and fields as well.
Green peas are sweet in taste and starchy in texture.
Green peas form an important part in regular diet. Green peas provide energy and various vitamins and minerals that are essential to human health. Green peas are nutritious leguminous vegetables which contain phytonutrients, anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. This nutrition combination promotes good health. They are a good source of vegetable protein.
Cultivation of green peas
Green pea plant is known to humanity since six thousand years as a wild plant from the Mediterranean region. Over a period of many centuries they have spread to almost all continents and are now grown in many countries. The top green pea cultivators are China, India, United States, France and Egypt. Of these, China is the top producer and the next is India. China produces about 2.5 million tons and India 2.3 million tons of green pea annually.
The plant grows in tropical areas of high altitudes with cool temperature. The pea bearing pods in the plant matures in just about 60 days and you can harvest them. Since the plant can grow only in cool temperatures it is cultivated only once in a year during the particular season which is conducive to the cultivation.
100 gm. of raw green peas provide 81 calories of energy, 14.45 gm. of carbohydrates, 5.1 gm. Dietary fiber, 5.42 gm. Protein and only 0.4 gm. Fat.
The estimated level of vitamin C is 40 mg – the is equivalent of 40% RDA, vitamin K 24.8 microgram (24% RDA), thiamine B1 0.266 mg (23% RDA) and significant amounts of riboflavin B2 0.132mg (11% RDA), Niacin B 32.09mg (14% RDA), vitamin B6, 0.169mg (13% RDA), Folate B9, 65 microgram (16% RDA),vitamin A38 microgram, beta carotene 449 microgram and lutein and zeaxanthin combine2477 microgram.
The minerals found in green peas are; Manganese 0.41 mg (20% RDA), Copper 0.176 mg (20% RDA), Phosphorous 108 mg (15% RDA), zinc 1.24mg (13% RDA), Iron 1.47 mg (11%), Magnesium 33 mg (9%) and calcium 25 mg (3%).
Health benefits of green peas and how to include them in your diet
The health benefits derived from green peas are many. In addition to being a commonly used vegetable in every day food, the vitamins and minerals in peas prevent major diseases like heart attacks and loss of vision and a bunch of other health issues.
Lutein present in green peas protects the cells in the body. When consumed regularly the lutein lowers the atherosclerosis rate.
Atherosclerosis is thickening and loss of Elasticity of the walls of Arteries that occurs with formation of atherosclerotic plaques within the Arterial Intima.
Source – Medical dictionary.
The fiber content in green peas along with lutein, can reduce the buildup of plaque in artery walls to a great extent. In addition, it also lowers the cholesterol levels in blood.
The reasonably good quantities of vitamin A in green peas and the lutein which is a natural pigment, provides enormous benefit to the eyes. Both vitamin A and lutein with their anti-oxidant activity protect the eyes from development of cataract. It also prevents macular degeneration to which elderly persons are prone to.
Enhances Haemoglobin level
100 gm. of raw green peas provides 1.47 mg of iron. This is a very important and vital mineral required in delivering oxygen to the tissues and carbon dioxide from the tissues to lungs. It also increases the haemoglobin levels. The iron need of each person vary according to age and gender. Both men and women above 50 years of age need only 8 mg of iron per day. Women between 19 and 50 years of age need 18 gm per day. Pregnant mothers need more amounts of iron to maintain the level of haemoglobin for the mother as well as the unborn baby.
Potassium which is present at 24% RDA in 100 gm. of peas is very useful in preventing osteoporosis. It also improves bone health and prevents bleeding by helping blood clot.
Reduces blood sugar level
Phenolic acids such as caffeic acid and ferulic acid, carotenoids and antioxidants catechin and epicatechin found in green peas help in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetics. As the nomenclature, pisum sativum, suggests green peas exclusively contains very powerful anti-inflammatory phytonutrients called Pisumsaponins I & II and Pisomosides A & B. These are highly beneficial in regulating blood sugar levels, thereby reducing the risk of type 2 diabetics.
How to consume green peas?
Green peas are healthy when they are fresh from harvest and you can refrigerate them for a few days. You can safely frozen green peas for months. Green peas mix well with complimentary vegetables like, carrot, cabbage, potato, onion etc. You can boil or steam cook peas to consume them and make them more tasty.
You can also use dried green peas. But after drying, the sugar in them gets converted to starch.