10 Pea Benefits and Pea Recipes

Pea, the seed of the Pisum sativum species , is an extremely beneficial legume for health, as it controls cholesterol and protects against diseases that affect the heart, in addition to improving the appearance of the skin and also increasing muscle gain when exercising.

Do you know the best? It has few calories and no contraindications, and can be consumed by children at the beginning of the introduction of food to pregnant women and the elderly.

10 Benefits of Pea Consumption for Health

1. Improves skin appearance

The consumption of peas favors the appearance of the skin because the legume contains almost 50% of the daily dose of vitamin C that is recommended for an adult. ( 1 )

This nutrient acts by stimulating the production of collagen , a protein that gives the skin firmness and elasticity , preventing the appearance of wrinkles and sagging.

This same vitamin helps to lighten blemishes and also protects against damage caused by sunlight, since it is photosensitive. Finally, it favors the proliferation of some types of enzymes that accelerate the healing process and therefore can prevent acne scarring. ( 2 )

2. Stimulates muscle mass gain

Peas can also be used as a protein source for those looking to gain more muscle.

The compound extracted from legume beans is as effective as Whey (protein extracted from whey) in increasing muscle mass.

In one study, researchers used 161 volunteers, who practiced weight training between 2 and 6 hours a week. Of those, 53 consumed 25 grams of pea protein isolate and the rest were split between whey and placebo consumers .

The results showed that the groups that consumed the natural supplement had a much greater muscle gain than the group that consumed nothing. Even the legume is mentioned as a supplement option for vegans, who do not consume anything of animal origin. ( 3 )

3. Protects heart health

Do you know another reason to start eating peas? As a natural source of dietary fiber , the legume helps protect heart health.

The fibers found in this food reduce the absorption of fat, as they form a type of gel that reduces the contact of this nutrient with the intestinal mucosa.

With this, it improves circulation , as the blood becomes more “fluid”, reducing hypertension and keeping cholesterol and triglyceride levels under control. ( 4 )

The vegetable is also rich in compounds known as carotenoids, natural colorings of yellow and orange tone, which together with another pigment called chlorophyll give the food a green tone. They are considered protective elements against degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular problems. ( 5 )

4. Regulates the bowel

Do you have problems with a bowel movement? Well know that the legume can help you solve this in a very simple way, because of those soluble dietary fibers already mentioned.

These fibers carry water to the intestinal tract as they are absorbent and are not digested by stomach acids. Thanks to this, their consumption prevents fecal dryness, which is one of the causes of constipation .

But that’s not all! Fibers also increase bowel movement, which “pushes” stool and gas, forcing them out of the body, which reduces swelling and discomfort.

Finally, peas are a source of resistant starch and prebiotic oligosaccharides, a type of sugar. These two compounds ferment and favor the multiplication of the intestinal flora, which is nothing more than the set of bacteria that protect the region against various types of infections. ( 4 )

5. Control diabetes

Those who suffer from diabetes, especially type 2, can also enjoy the benefits of peas, as the legume helps control blood glucose levels and thus prevents a series of complications from the disease.

The food is rich in dietary fiber and phytochemical compounds that have the ability to decrease the absorption of sugars , as they inhibit the release of an enzyme that “breaks down” carbohydrate molecules and is known as glucosidase.

The legume also stimulates the release of insulin, a hormone that reduces blood glucose, thus increasing the uptake and use of glucose as an energy source by the liver and muscles, as well as reducing glucose intolerance. This means that it reduces the negative effects of excess component in the body. ( 6 )

This, however, does not mean that just putting peas on the menu is enough to control the disease. Therefore, never abandon any treatment without first talking to your doctor.

6. Lose weight

Pea consumption increases satiety . And the merits go, once again, to the fibers of its composition. They make the person feel satisfied faster and for a longer period of time, eating a smaller amount. ( 4 )

Furthermore, the legume is a food with low energy content. Each 100 gram serving of it fresh has only 85 calories. ( 1 )

7. Prevents and treats anemia

The legume is an ideal food for growing children and also for adults, as it can help prevent and treat iron deficiency anemia, which is the most common type of the disease.

The disease is triggered by a deficiency in iron, a nutrient that acts directly on the creation of blood cells . Its scarcity decreases the amount of oxygen and nutrients circulating in the body, which causes symptoms such as weakness, pallor and headaches. ( 7 )

Pea is a food very rich in iron , each kilo of it has more than 27 mg of the mineral. And almost a third of the iron found in it is absorbed by the body.

8. Protect the vision

The vitamin A present in peas helps in the formation of light-sensitive elements, which are located inside the eye and are activated in places with low light. It also prevents the degeneration of the tissue that lines the eye and absorbs light.

A deficiency of this vitamin can cause blindness , partial or total. Therefore, it is important to keep foods rich in it in the diet, especially for children, who are in the development stage, and the elderly, who are suffering from normal age degeneration. ( 5 )

9. Acts against cancer

Peas are able to contribute to the prevention of various types of cancer. This is because a type of flavonoid known as apigenin has antiproliferative properties.

This means that it prevents cells from starting to multiply out of control, which causes tumors to appear .

It also regulates a process called apoptosis, which is the programmed death of cells. Cells have a continuous birth and death cycle, promoting tissue renewal. Dysregulation of this process causes disease. ( 8 )

But keep in mind that “cancer” is a common name for several diseases, which are multifactorial. In other words, it has several causes and one of them is poor diet. Therefore, to further reduce the risks, always maintain a healthy diet and follow up frequently if you have a family history of the disease.

10. Prevents degenerative diseases

The antioxidants present in peas prevent the free action of free radicals, small unstable molecules produced by the degradation (oxidation) of cells. They stick to healthy cells, causing them to oxidize and release more unstable molecules, which in turn stick to other parts.

This unrestrained process results in degenerative diseases, such as neurological and cardiac problems , as the body becomes more fragile. So always add antioxidant foods to your plate.

Simple and tasty recipes

Pea soup

Ingredients 

  • 500 grams (one packet) of dried peas
  • ½ chopped onion in small cubes
  • 500 ml of chicken or vegetable broth
  • bay leaf
  • 100 grams of cubed bacon (optional)
  • Croutons.

Preparation mode

Soak the peas for at least 4 hours to remove the anti-nutrients and make it easier to cook. Then saute the bacon, if you wish to use it, in the oil with the onion until golden brown.

Drain the peas and place in the pan where you made the stew, to get all the flavor. Add the stock and bay leaf and cook for 15 minutes in a pot with a lid.

When the beans are very tender, blend everything in a blender, return to the pan and boil for 5 minutes. Finally, just turn off, season with salt and pepper and add the croûtons (baked and crunchy bread cubes).

pea salad

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup of frozen or dried peas
  • 1 manioc or diced potato
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 tomatoes
  • Olive oil and vinegar to taste
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Water (if you choose to use dried peas).

Preparation mode

The first step is to choose the pea. If you choose dry, it will be necessary to cook the beans until they are soft. If you are going to use the frozen version, sauté everything in olive oil, never let it defrost naturally to avoid getting a strange consistency.

Place the beans in a bowl with the manioc or potato, onion and tomato without the seeds. Season with salt, black pepper, oil and vinegar. Serve cold.

Pea sautéed in butter

Ingredients 

  • 400 grams of frozen peas
  • 1 onion cut into cubes
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • A drizzle of oil.

Preparation mode

Saute onion and garlic in butter until translucent. Then add the peas, season with salt and pepper and let them defrost completely and the dish is ready to be served.

Tip: To avoid burning the butter, add a little olive oil or some other vegetable oil to the time of sauteing.

Fresh or Pickled Peas: What’s the Difference?

The main difference between fresh peas, which can be found frozen, and canned ones is in relation to nutritional properties and this is something that should be considered when buying.

In the fresh version, for example, good amounts of dietary fiber, carbohydrates and protein are found, in addition to higher levels of minerals such as calcium (29.9 mg), iron (5.68 mg) and magnesium (39.5 mg). ( 1 )

In canned peas the values ​​are much lower, being iron (1.56 mg), magnesium (23 mg) and calcium (20.9 mg) with the addition of having 383 mg of sodium per 100 gram serving, while the frozen has only 5.98 mg. ( 9 )

The fresh legume also has greater amounts of vitamin A, the B complex, such as folate, C and D , as a large part of the essential nutrients is lost in the preparation of the preserve. ( 1 )

Calorie rates, however, are very similar, at 85 calories per serving for fresh peas and 93 for the canned version. ( 1 , 9 ). What’s more, the fresh legume maintains the color and flavor better, which improves the quality of the dishes, another reason that makes it a better choice.

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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