We recently got this question from Mike:
Dear Fooducate, I would appreciate an answer to a question that I have tried to get a reasonable reply to from various and sundry food experts to no avail about the dark green vegetables that are the nirvana of the foodies:
The humble pea never gets a favourable mention. It is a vegetable that is dark green and all kids/adults enjoy.
Is there some sinister pea disease or nutritional crime to attribute to the pea? I would love to feel that I was eating a vegetable super star when gobbling down those delicious peas.
I fear that yet again the anti-pea conspiriousy will prevent an answer. Keep up your good work. Thank you
Well Mike, for starters, peas are not the “dark green vegetables” most nutrition experts refer to. They usually mean the leafy kales, chards, and spinaches of the world. But fear not, peas have many nutritional benefits, as we shall explain.
What you need to know:
Peas are part of the legume family. They are packed chock full of nutrients. Boiling the peas actually increases the nutrient bioavailability. A 1 cup serving has less than 150 calories but comes with the following benefits:
- 9 grams of fiber (over a third of daily requirement)
- 9 grams of protein
- almost no fat
- 38% of the daily value for vitamin C
- 26% vitamin A
- 12% potassium
- 42% manganese
- 52% vitamin K
Peas are sweet too! You’ll get 9 grams of sugar (2 and 1/4 teaspoons) per serving. They also come with 7 grams of starch. The total carb count is therefore 25 grams (9 fiber, 9 sugar, 7 starch).
Is this a big deal?
Not at all. The high fiber count makes the sugar and starch a non-issue for most people.
At least by our book, peas are a wonderful food, whether eaten straight from the pod, or as part of a tasty dish.
What to do at the supermarket:
Fresh peas are rarely seen in supermarkets, but are available in farmers markets in the spring. You options are to buy frozen or canned. We recommend frozen peas because canned peas tend to be high in sodium. That said, even the frozen peas may have added sodium. Before use, rinse the peas in order to reduce the sodium count.