Fresh green peas! I love the Spring-green color and fresh aroma…Don’t you?
Peas are actually a legume. They grow in a pod, which, unless picked VERY young, is inedible. WHfoods, one of my favorite websites tells us:
Green peas provide nutrients that are important for maintaining bone health. They are a very good source of vitamin K1, which activates osteocalcin, the major non-collagen protein in bone. Osteocalcin anchors calcium molecules inside of the bone. Therefore, without enough vitamin K1, osteocalcin levels are inadequate and bone mineralization is impaired.
Green peas also serve as a very good source of folic acid and a good source of vitamin B6. These two nutrients help to reduce the buildup of a metabolic byproduct called homocysteine, a dangerous molecule can obstruct collagen cross-linking, resulting in poor bone matrix and osteoporosis. One study showed that postmenopausal women who were not considered deficient in folic acid lowered their homocysteine levels simply by supplementing with folic acid by itself.
Help Your Heart by Passing the Peas, Please
In addition to affecting bone health, homocysteine contributes to atherosclerosis through its ability to damage the blood vessels, keeping them in a constant state of injury. Therefore the folic acid and vitamin B6 in green peas are supportive of cardiovascular health as well. In fact, folic acid is so important for cardiovascular function that a major 1995 study concluded that 400 micrograms per day of folic acid could prevent 28,000 cardiovascular deaths per year in the United States.
The contributions of green peas to heart health do not stop there. The vitamin K featured in green peas is instrumental to the body’s healthy blood clotting ability.
Contributions to Energy and Overall Wellness
Green peas are one of the important foods to include in your diet if you oftentimes feel fatigued and sluggish. That is because they provide nutrients that help support the energy-producing cells and systems of the body.
Green peas a very good source of thiamin-vitamin B1 and a good source of vitamin B6, riboflavin-vitamin B2 and niacin-vitamin B3, all of which are nutrients that are necessary for carbohydrate, protein and lipid metabolism. Green peas are also a good source of iron, a mineral necessary for normal blood cell formation and function, whose deficiency results in anemia, fatigue, decreased immune function, and learning problems. In addition, green peas are a very good source of vitamin C, which protects many energy-producing cells and systems in the body from free radical damage. Body tissues with particularly high vitamin C requirements include the adrenal glands, ocular lens, liver, immune system, connective tissues, and fats circulating in the blood.
Peas Promote Optimal Health
Green peas provide nutrients, including vitamin C, which are instrumental in helping to prevent the development of cancer. A high intake of vitamin C has been shown to reduce the risks for virtually all forms of cancer, including leukemia, lymphoma, and lung, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers as well as sex hormone-related cancers like breast, prostate, cervix, and ovarian cancers. Vitamin C is your body’s first and most effective line of antioxidant protection. Vitamin C protects cell structures like DNA from damage; it helps the body deal with environmental pollution and toxic chemicals; it enhances immune function, and it inhibits the formation of cancer-causing compounds in the body (such as the nitrosamines, chemicals produced when the body digests processed meats containing nitrates).
Toasted Quinoa Salad with Peas
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water or vegetable broth
1 cup *fresh or frozen
1 red pepper, diced
1. Rinse quinoa before cooking to remove the coating of a bitter substance called saponins.
2. Dry toast in a skillet until grains begin to pop.
3. Bring water or broth to a boil.
4. Stir in quinoa, cover and simmer 10-12 minutes.
5. Add peas and red pepper
6. Continue to simmer (about 3 minutes) until peas and red pepper are heated through and all of the liquid is absorbed.
*If you use fresh peas, they need to be parboiled for about 15 minutes.
Nutrition facts: 4 servings: 215 calories: 38g carbs, 9 g protein, 3g fat,