Are peas a superfood? Nutritionist reveals the 3 reasons why the tiny green vegetable is the only one you need to eat
- High levels of protein and fibre means peas can boost your energy levels
- As well as being boiled peas can also be fried or added to a smoothie
- Peas contain vitamin K, an overlooked vitamin which is vital for bone health
Ever thought of adding peas to your smoothie?
They might surprise you according to nutritional therapist Jackie Lynch, author of Va Va Voom: the 10-Day Energy Diet.
Here, she tells Get the Gloss why she’s going big on those little greens right now:
If you’ve avoided peas as a rather ordinary starchy vegetable, think again, because they’re amazingly nutritious, full of vitamins, iron, fibre, antioxidants and protein.
They’re also a gorgeous spring vegetable at their peak right now, so it’s time to walk away from the freezer cabinet and discover the fabulous flavour of fresh peas.
Peas are actually a member of the legume family along with beans, chickpeas and lentils which explains why they’re one of the few vegetables that are a pretty good source of protein.
There may be more than meets the eye to the common garden pea – nutritionist Jackie Lynch says they are packed with protein, fibre, vitamins and iron
It’s no surprise that vegan protein powder manufacturers often use pea as a base.
Fresh (or frozen) peas go brilliantly in smoothies and add a sweet, crisp flavour that’s a step up from the ‘dead sock’ aftertaste of pea protein powder.
3 great reasons to eat plenty of peas
What are superfoods?
There is no official definition for a superfood but the word generally refers to healthy foods or ingredients which are popular and said to have many health benefits.
Some people eat superfoods because they want to slow ageing, get fitter, feel happier or boost their intelligence.
Superfoods tend to come and go in trends.
The NHS is sceptical about the benefits of eating large amounts of one superfood, and instead promotes eating a healthy, balanced diet.
10 of the most popular superfoods are:
- Goji berries
- Oily fish
- Pomegranate juice
- Green tea
Source: NHS Choices
Peas are an excellent source of vitamin K, a much-overlooked nutrient which is vital for our bone health.
We need vitamin K to produce osteocalcin which strengthens our bones by hardening the calcium which is used in the bone renewal process.
They’re packed with the antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc as well as other protective plant compounds called polyphenols.
These help to keep your immune system in great shape, so you’re less likely to come down with niggling colds and infections.
Peas also contain a number of nutrients which support heart health: they’re an unexpected source of omega 3 fatty acids which support a healthy vascular system and reduce the risk of blood clots.
They’re also rich in B vitamins, which play a crucial part in regulating high levels of homocysteine which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Combined with the naturally anti-inflammatory properties they contain, eating peas regularly could be a great way to be kind to your heart.
How peas boost energy
As well as being rich in protein, peas are a great source of fibre, which is the ideal combination to maintain stable blood sugar levels.
This can keep you going for longer and help you avoid those energy dips which leave you feeling tired and irritable. Peas are also a surprisingly good source of iron.
Healthiest ways to eat peas
Instead of boiling peas in a large pan of water, try shallow frying them in three tablespoons of water for about three minutes.
The minimal contact with the water and the short cooking time will help to avoid the water-soluble B vitamins and vitamin C from leaching out of the peas.
Adding a handful of peas to a smoothie is a great way to boost protein and fibre levels, which will help to neutralise the impact of the sugar in the fruit.
It’s also a much more natural protein boost than a commercial powder with all the associated additives.
Adding fresh peas to a green salad is a great way to enjoy them while they’re in season as they’ll add a natural sweetness to the leaves, making it a far more interesting option.
This article originally appeared on Get the Gloss and has been reproduced with their permission.
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