Food and Nutrition


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Ongoing Research Proves the Power of Peas

"Research to date has shown the power of peas to have a role in many health benefits in humans...."

In this recent review, the authors look at the demonstrated benefits of peas as well as the potential health benefits beyond their basic nutritional status. Bioactive proteins and peptides in peas have potential anticancer and immunomodulatory properties. The carbohydrate components of peas are a slowly digestible starch and relatively high fiber content, which make it a low-glycemic index food for prevention and management of type 2 diabetes. The fiber also contains a special family of sugars called oligosaccharides, or prebiotics, which promotes beneficial gut microbes. Vitamins and minerals in peas show concentrations of high potassium levels, as well as iron, magnesium, and manganese along with folate, an important B vitamin. Because of the phytate content in peas and legumes generally, the absorption of minerals can be limited, but with advanced food processing techniques these minerals can become more bioavailable.

Research to date has shown the power of peas to have a role in many health benefits in humans, including epidemiological, in vitro, and interventional studies. One of these benefits includes cardiovascular health in controlling blood pressure cholesterol levels, particularly from the fiber content. Another benefit could improve weight management by satiety levels from the protein and fiber in peas, but more research needs to be done. Gastrointestinal function is improved by the consumption of peas, again due to the fiber content but also the beneficial effects of prebiotics on the micro-flora environment in the gut. The phenolic compounds in peas also have shown beneficial antioxidant activity. We know peas have great nutritional value even though more research needs to be done to investigate specific health benefits, but in the meantime we can strive to meet the federal daily guidelines of 3 cups of legumes every week.

Dahl WJ, Foster LM, Tyler RT. Review of the health benefits of peas (Pisum sativum L.). Brit J Nutr 2012;108:S3-S10.


Summarized by the NDSU Extension Service.

Filed under: healthy, pulse crops, split peas

Development of many of the materials on this website was made possible, in part, with funding from the Northern Pulse Growers Association.

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