All About Peas

If you are still taking medications for various diseases and don’t know how to treat yourself with folk remedies using what has grown in your garden? Then this article is for you. Today we are going to talk about the beneficial properties of peas because they are considered a treasure trove of nutrients. Although, we should not forget that there are still contraindications to its use. But first things first!

Peas have long been considered not only healthy but also medicinal legumes.

It was even credited with healing properties and was used in ancient times for magical rituals and witchcraft.

All Europeans try to use it in their dishes. Initially, it was a wild plant and was considered a symbol of prosperity by Eastern people. Then it began to be grown in many countries around the world.

Peas were always eaten, everywhere and by almost everyone. In the Middle East, archaeologists have discovered the remains of pea dishes that are as old as 10,000 years old.

Despite this popularity, peas appeared in our area only in the 18th century, and they were served at court as a delicacy. But in Greece, for example, peas were the food of most ordinary people.

Scientists believe that peas originated in the Middle East and the Mediterranean, where they were already in use 10,000 years before Christ. Peas were also widely known in ancient Egypt.

From the place of its origin, this valuable plant crop began to gradually spread throughout the world. On the territory of modern Georgia, peas appeared 5,000 years before Christ; in Afghanistan and Pakistan – 2,000 years before Christ; in the Ganges basin, they began to be sown about 1,500 years before Christ.

Pea beans were usually dried after ripening and eaten throughout the year until the next harvest. However, in the 1600s, “green” peas became popular in France and England, meaning that the beans were not fully ripe and were consumed immediately after harvest.

Gradually, the popularity of peas is reaching North America.

Pea composition, calorie content, and benefits

Depending on the variety, growing conditions, and growth, peas contain such useful substances as water, protein, starch, sugar, fat, fiber, ash, mineral salts, and nitrogen-free extractives.

The usefulness of peas is simply impossible to deny because they contain vitamins of group A, B, B1, B2, B5, B6, B9, PP, H, E., And no other legume can be compared with it in terms of the amount of useful micro- and macroelements.

How many calories do peas contain? Carbohydrates make up a quarter of the total composition of green peas. In percentage terms, this is approximately 67%. The third part, equal to 26%, is taken up by proteins. Also, peas contain 6% of vegetable fats, which occupy the smallest share.

The standard calorie content per 100 grams of green peas is 298 kcal. Fat – 18 kcal, Protein – 82 kcal, Carbohydrates – 198 kcal.

Types and varieties of peas

Peas can be divided into three main groups. Shelling peas – their peas have a flat and smooth surface. They are harvested while the peas are still green and sweet. If these peas are allowed to become overripe, they lose their flavor and instead of having a sweet taste, they become very starchy.

Dry peas of this type are usually used to make soups. Dry peas can be whole or split.
While the first type must be soaked, the second type cooks quickly enough without soaking.

The next type is the brain pea and it is even sweeter than the previous one because it contains up to 10% sucrose and fructose. This group got its name because the ripe peas are wrinkled and look like a small brains. Brain peas are mostly canned and frozen, not dried, as dry peas do not become soft during heat treatment. Light varieties are chosen for canning and dark varieties for deep freezing.

Sugar snap peas differ from their counterparts in that their pods do not have a “parchment” layer inside. Due to this, it remains tender, even when it reaches a quite decent size – about 8 cm in length. Therefore, sugar snap peas are usually used together with the pod.

During drying, sugar snap peas shrivel up due to the high moisture content of fresh peas.

Harm and benefits of peas for human health. “Pros and cons”

Medical and public opinion speaks of the benefits of peas. We are pleased with the unique taste of both boiled peas and fresh or pickled peas. The legume is healing and preventive. Dry peas are also used in cosmetics. Nourishing masks and creams are made from its flour.

If we talk about the disadvantages of the legume, we should mention a rather unpleasant reaction of the body to the increased number of coarse fibers and fiber that are part of the pea. When we eat peas, we feel discomfort, which is associated with an increased concentration of gases in the rectum. When they come out, they are accompanied not only by a specific sound but also by a smell.

At the same time, peas are protected by the fact that they contain a powerful cocktail of amino acids. Some of them are very similar to animal proteins. That’s why vegetarians replace meat with a legume.

The role of peas is invaluable for those who are obese. A diet based on peas is rich and nutritious. The extra pounds go away, and the person still remains full and satisfied, although the portions of food eaten are noticeably reduced.

Prevention of anemia by eating dishes with a lot of peas is also useful and effective.

Eating peas can be harmful to the body only if you eat them raw and in large quantities. The consequences can be very different. For example, irritation of the mucous membrane or disorders of the digestive system. But it should be noted that if you use it correctly, there will be no negative consequences for your body, on the contrary, you will be able to enjoy its taste and get a large number of vitamins.

Considering all of the above, we can safely say that peas are more useful than harmful.

Deterioration of the condition due to legumes can occur only in a few individual cases. The reason may be an allergic reaction or an exacerbation of a certain disease.

Contraindications for eating peas

There are a number of diseases for which it is not recommended to eat peas. For example, it is not advisable to eat peas with gout. Also, in case of acute nephritis or inflammation of the intestines or stomach. Doctors do not recommend eating peas for those who have poor blood clotting.

As mentioned earlier, people with allergies should not eat peas. In this case, even the use of pea-based creams, masks, and powders is strictly prohibited.

Peas during pregnancy

Legumes are very useful for pregnant women because they contain valuable vegetable proteins and a large number of vitamins. Peas are no exception, but it is important to know not only about the benefits but also about the harm that this product can bring.

First, let’s look at the beneficial properties: it contains easily digestible vegetable proteins; peas improve heart function, and reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol in pregnant women; it contains a lot of vitamin C, which strengthens the immune system of both the expectant mother and the child; vitamin D is valuable during pregnancy because it strengthens the bone tissue of the fetus; prevents inflammation of appendicitis; improves the condition of hair and nails.

However, along with these medicinal qualities, it should be borne in mind that peas can irritate the intestines, and cause increased gas or diarrhea, especially when combined with other foods.

Before this, expectant mothers should definitely soak peas in cold water for 2-3 hours, then rinse them, and use them as an independent dish, without adding meat, dairy products, or fish.

How peas are cooked in different countries

Fresh peas are often boiled and served with butter as a side dish, and they go well with mint. In India, peas of various types are used as an alternative to meat – in soups, vegetable dishes, curries, and as a filling for pies. Baked dry peas are popular as a snack in Southeast Asia. In Japan, for example, peas are sometimes coated in wasabi before baking.

In Europe, peas are also highly respected. In Greece, Turkey, and Cyprus, peas are stewed with meat and potatoes. In Germany, they cook a thick “porridge” in a meat broth and serve it with bacon.

Pea soup is popular in many parts of the world. In Sweden, it is called “artsoppa” and its recipe dates back to the Viking era.

Whole dry peas are usually soaked for 8-10 hours and cooked for 1-1.5 hours, while split peas are simply cooked for 30 minutes.

In addition to boiling, fresh green peas can also be steamed and added to salads, vegetable soups, and stews.

Peas for weight loss

Peas promote better digestion of food, improve the functioning of the digestive system, and cleanse the intestines. They can be added to all dishes on the daily menu.

In order to get rid of extra pounds, it is best to include pea soup and porridge on the menu. Boiled peas with vegetables are effective. But in order for your body to stay in good shape and get into shape, you still need physical activity.

Interesting facts about peas

The Slavic name for the crop “peas” comes from the ancient Indian “garish”, which means “rubbing” or “grating”. We can conclude that the first use of peas was as an additive to cereal flour.

In Orthodoxy, the origin of the crop is associated with the tears of the Holy Virgin. When the Lord punished people for their sins with famine, the Mother of God cried, and her tears turned into peas.

During the times of Kievan Rus, peas were respected – this can be understood from numerous fairy tales where they are called “tsar”.

In Germany, peas remained a staple of the diet until the First World War. The main dish of German soldiers was a hearty pea sausage with bacon.

In the UK, peas were not only eaten as food but also used to punish naughty children. It was there that children began to kneel “on the peas” in the fifteenth century. The method of punishment quickly spread around the world.

Interestingly, the calorie content of peas depends on their freshness. The energy value of freshly picked beans is up to 76 calories, and the calorie content of dried ones increases more than 4 times!

Quality peas are small peas 3-4 mm in diameter, brown or yellow in color. An uneven surface and uneven color of the pea surface, many crushed pieces of irregular shape indicate a low-quality product.

Thus, peas are a healthy product. They are good for everyone, regardless of gender. However, it is imperative to adhere to the principles of reasonableness in its consumption. Even desperate pea lovers should not overdo it.

Peas are a worthy product to include in your healthy diet. Be healthy!

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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