Peas belong to a group of foods called legumes. Plants in the legume family produce seeds, or beans, in their pods. Legumes include lentils, soybeans, chickpeas and all other types of beans. Green peas are rich in complex carbohydrates called starch, so they are considered a starchy vegetable along with potatoes and corn.
Green peas are very nutritious. They are very low in calories, with 62 kcal per ½ cup (170 g). About 70% of these calories come from carbohydrates, and the rest is covered by protein and a small amount of fat.
Green peas have numerous health benefits, which are:
Excellent source of protein
Green peas are one of the most protein-rich vegetables, which, along with their high fibre content, seems to be the main reason they are so filling.
Protein increases the levels of appetite-suppressing hormones in the body, which, together with fiber, slows digestion and promotes a feeling of fullness.
Controlling blood glucose levels
Green peas have a number of properties that help control blood glucose levels. Firstly, they have a relatively low glycemic index (GI), which indicates a rise in blood glucose levels after a meal. Green peas are also rich in fiber and protein, which are effective in controlling blood glucose levels.
This is because fiber slows down the rate of carbohydrate absorption and encourages a slow and steady rise in blood glucose levels rather than a rapid rise.
The effect of green peas on blood glucose levels is known to reduce the risk of several diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.
The fiber in green peas facilitates digestion
Green peas contain a very high amount of fiber, which has been shown to have many digestive health benefits.
Firstly, fiber feeds the good bacteria in the gut, keeping it healthy and preventing the overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria. This can reduce the risk of developing common digestive disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and colorectal cancer.