The humble Pea, prevent Anemia, reduces Asthma symptoms and Immune booster

Peas in pods.

Peas in pods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This often taken for granted little legume is actually a tiny powerhouse of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, carotenoids such as lutein, flavanols, folic acid, iron, omega-3 fats, phenolic acids, phytonutrients including an important polyphenol called coumestrol, a wealth of protein and saponins

WELLNESS

Peas are not just for making eyes in your mashed potato snowman anymore.  Nutrition-savvy individuals have graduated the humble pea from its role as decoration or edible plaything and revere it now for its outstanding health benefits including but not limited to the treatment of the following diseases and conditions

Alzheimer’s disease Vitamin K can help limit brain damage in those afflicted with this neurodegenerative disease

 Anemia In order to prevent anemia, which is essentially a deficiency of oxygen-transporting red blood cells, folks, women especially, should make sure to regularly ingest adequate amounts of iron

 Anti-cancer properties Coumestrol is being actively researched as a promising protector against stomach cancer (aka gastric cancer).  Carotenoids reduce cell damage due to the burning of oxygen in the body.  Flavonoid-rich foods like peas are known to protect one from developing lung cancer and oral cavity cancerAnti-oxidant Vitamin C, combats cell-damaging free radicals, repairs tissue and significantly reduces your chances of developing a whole slew of cancers including cervical cancer, esophageal cancer, oral cavity cancer, pancreatic cancer, rectal cancer and stomach cancer. Vitamin K, lutein and phytoserols can also reduce your risk

Arthritis The phytonutrients in peas have anti-inflammatory properties, which are particularly effective in assuaging arthritic inflammation

Asthma Vitamin C successfully reduces common asthmatic symptoms such as wheezing

Bone & teeth health Vitamin K is critical for building bone mass.  Vitamin C is essential for healthy gums.  Vitamin C’s other impressive bodily tasks include repairing bones, cartilage, ligaments and tendons.   The omega-3 fatty acids found in peas also facilitate good bone health

Diabetes The high fibre content in peas slows down sugar absorption.  The anti-oxidants and phytonutrients inherent in peas actually prevent insulin resistance, otherwise known as Type 2 Diabetes

Digestive health Due to its rich fibre content, peas clean out the intestines and colon of toxic materials and can relieve constipation.  Vitamin A promotes healthy mucous membranes, which ensure proper functioning of the digestive system

 Eye health Lutein staves off cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.  Vitamin A supports healthy eye tissue and facilitates higher visual acuity.  Carotenoids like beta-carotene also promote healthy eyes

Heart health Peas’ wealth of fibre and phytoserols can help lower cholesterol.  Vitamin C is known to lower blood pressure and fight atherosclerosis.  Folic acid lowers homocysteine levels in the blood, which is grand news as high homocysteine is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. And fantastically, peas are a cholesterol-free food

 Immune system health Vitamin C is a champion immune system booster and can prevent almost innumerable infections and diseases (from the common cold to the HIV virus) and lessen symptoms and recovery time from those already afflicted.  A lack of iron can cause exhaustion and exhaustion compromises your body’s ability to fight off infections

 Pregnancy Adequate intake of folic acid by mothers-to-be is highly recommended by doctors in order to prevent neural tube birth defects in newborn babies.  Proper iron intake can lessen the chance of a premature birth

 BEAUTY

 Anti-oxidant properties Due to their high levels of anti-oxidants including Vitamin C, carotenoids, flavonoids, phenolic acids and polyphenols like coumestrol, eating peas on a regular basis can prevent signs of premature aging such as fine lines and wrinkles.  These anti-oxidants will promote healthy, radiant skin, strong hair follicles and shiny locks and resilient nails less likely to chip or break

Iron Iron is essential for healthy skin, hair and nails

 WEIGHT LOSS

 Fibre One cup of peas has an amazing 7 grams of fibre!  Fibre will keep you feeling full and sated and less likely to grab blindly for empty calorie snacks between meals.  Also, that plethora of fibre will keep your body and bowels flushed out and result in more steady weight loss

 Nutritional intake One cup of peas has only 100 calories and yet is pleasantly sweet, tasty and satisfying.  That same serving has a mere 0.3 grams of total fat

 COOKING

 A lovely appetizer would most certainly be a steaming hot bowl of low-fat yet lusciously creamy and satisfying Green Pea Soup.  Merely heat a teaspoon of high quality olive oil in  a large pot over medium-low heat.  Add one large sliced onion and cook until softened, about five or so minutes.  Add 2 ½ cups of  chicken or veggie broth, ¾ teaspoon of tarragon, salt and pepper to taste and bring to a rollicking boil.  Add a bag of frozen sweet peas, bring down to a simmer and cook through until the peas are thawed.  Puree the mixture in a blender of with a boat motor until velvety smooth, and serve in pretty bowls with a dollop each of low-fat plain yogurt or sour cream, or chilled and served with mint in summer

As a simple side accompaniment:  Sweet Green Peas with Prosciutto.  In a large skillet over medium heat, add 4 tablespoons of quality EVOO, a handful of chopped prosciutto and one small minced onion.  Sautee gently for about 5-8 minutes, or until onions are softened and the prosciutto starts to crisp up.  Then add a pound of green peas and a tablespoon of water and cook until heated through.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, and serve

Choose young peas in their pods, split open and fill with your favorite filling as a great little healthy finger food option

Being pretty on the inside means you don’t hit your brother and you eat all your peas – that’s what my grandma taught me. ~Lord Chesterfield

Peas in a Pod

Peas in a Pod (Photo credit: MrWoodnz)

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