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Green Peas: A Protein-Packed Star Spring Veggie to Enjoy for Good Health!

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Pea protein is one of the new, most popular types of protein on the market today. Though it’s not a complete protein source, pea protein is high in amino acids, is more alkaline than whey or soy, is non-allergenic, and is also very low in carbohydrates. But like all protein powders, pea protein is still a processed product to some degree, so why not go for the whole green peas, that pea protein is made from instead?

Peas are one of the most overlooked sources of plant-based protein, providing 8 grams in one cup, and can be more tolerable than beans and other legumes for many people. They’re also sweet, they mix well with nearly anything, and provide your body with a variety of vitamins and minerals that many people aren’t aware of. 

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Since peas are in season in the spring, it’s the perfect time to work more of them into your diet. Whether you choose pea soup, sprinkle them in a salad, blend them into a smoothie (they’re really sweet once frozen!), use them in a dip, or just cook them into an entree of your choice, peas are a win.

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Check out what these green gems have to offer:

Regulate Your Blood Sugar

All beans and legumes are a good source of plant-based protein and also a good source of fiber. Both of these factors help regulate your blood sugar and also contribute to a strong, healthy body. Peas are exceptionally great for your blood sugar because they’re a bit lower in starch than beans, and their natural sugars are offset by their fiber and protein content to help them digest slower. They are also fat-free and a great choice for diabetics for this purpose since they promote a healthy heart.

A Great Source of ALA’s

Though peas are fat-free, they still contain a nice dose of alpha-linolenic acid with 30 milligrams per cup. ALA is one form of omega-3 fatty acids and contributes to a healthy heart. Peas are one of the only beans and legumes to contain traceable amounts and have been shown to fight heart disease. Other foods that are good sources of plant-based omega 3’s include: flax, chia, blue green algae, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, and acai berries. Many fruits and vegetables also contain traceable amounts of these important fats as well.

Anti-Inflammatory

Peas’ bright green color is a natural indicator of their high chlorophyll content. Chlorophyll is the green pigment found in plants that’s produced through sunlight when the plants grow. It’s the most natural detoxifying and anti-inflammatory nutrient you can give your body and peas are a great option in addition to other green veggies and leafy greens. They’re also a good source of vitamin C, another natural anti-inflammatory agent you need to stay healthy. Peas contain almost 100 percent of your daily vitamin C needs in just one cup.

Prevent Stomach Cancer

All beans and legumes are great to benefit your digestive system to keep you healthy, and peas offer up a special protection against stomach cancer because they contain a polyphenic compound known as coumestrol that’s been shown to prevent stomach cancer. Peas contain 10 milligrams of coumestrol in just 1 cup. While you shouldn’t rely on them alone to prevent cancer, they’re great to include in an overall healthy diet.

Immunity

Peas are a great source of zinc, which is an important for your immune system to thrive. They contain about 12 percent of your zinc needs in just 1/2 cup, along with vitamin C as mentioned above. Both vitamin C and zinc are important for immunity and can help ward off everything from inflammation to a cold. Besides peas, other great sources of zinc include: pumpkin seeds, almonds, beans, legumes, oatmeal, and cashews. Zinc is also helpful for the regulation of insulin in the body when you eat carbohydrates, so be sure you include some into your diet throughout the day. Here’s a complete guide to zinc intake on a plant-based diet if you need additional resources and recipes.

Vitamin K for Bone and Blood Health

Vitamin K is just as important for your bones as calcium and vitamin D. It’s also important for healthy blood flow and assists with blood clotting during an injury. Leafy greens and green peas are two of the best sources of vitamin K. In fact, green peas contain 44 percent of your daily vitamin K needs in just one cup. Learn more about vitamin K here and get some delicious recipes!

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Now, what are you waiting for? Pick up a batch of fresh or frozen green peas and try them in our recipes. Their sweet taste and creamy flavor will win you over in no time!

Lead Image Source: Caroline/Flickr

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