Snap peas are a powerhouse of nutrition-providing numerous phytonutrients, minerals and vitamins. These tasty treats are immune boosters and provide great antioxidant value. Because of the Vitamin K content, people on blood thinners should be cautious about their intake.
There are three main varieties of peas-snow peas, garden peas and snap peas. Snap peas are also known as sugar snap peas and they are a cross between the garden and snow pea. Snap peas are plump and have tender peas inside. Snow peas are more flat with a fibrous “string” down the seam with smaller peas inside but like the snap pea the entire pod can be eaten. Garden peas have pods that are firm and rounded, the peas are removed and the pods discarded.
Snap peas are low in calories, low in fat and have 50% less carbohydrates than garden peas. One cup of snap peas contains 10 grams of carbohydrates and 4 grams of fiber (which is a form of carbohydrate that is non-digested). These are natural carbohydrates that provide good fuel for our cells and vital organs. The fiber helps to regulate glucose absorption and is great for weight management because you feel full after eating them. Fiber helps to regulate the gastrointestinal tract and is helpful for improved elimination and beneficial for an irritable bowel. Snap peas also have natural anti-inflammatory properties which makes them very cardiovascular friendly.
Snap peas are a great source of Vitamin C and they have additional antioxidants in the form of flavinoids, carotenoids, phenolic acids and the polyphenol coumestrol. Anti-inflammatory compounds along with antioxidants support healthy blood vessels. When oxidative stress occurs in a blood vessel the formation of plaque can take place. Natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds can prevent and reverse this detrimental process. Snap peas contain Vitamin B1, folate, B2, B3 and B6 which assist in the reduction of homocysteine levels in the blood-which is a risk factor for increased cardiovascular disease. Vitamin B3 (niacin) is well known for its ability to lower triglycerides and bad cholesterol in the blood stream.
The anti-oxidant coumestrol has been shown to have a positive effect on the proliferation of bone marrow stromal cells which leads to stimulation of bone formation. In a Mexican study, coumestrol was shown to be beneficial in preventing stomach cancer. Coumestrol can also be found in red clover, alfalfa, soy beans and brussel sprouts.
Snap peas do have Vitamin K which promotes blood clotting. Therefore any one on blood thinning agents should check with their health care professional or at least cut back on the amount ingested.
Additional nutrients include protein, Vitamin A, iron, calcium and lutein (helps with eye health). One cup of snap peas contains 4 grams of protein and 0.8 grams of HDL fat. Protein and fat are essential nutrients just like carbohydrates. Protein supports the integrity of the immune system and helps with the production of hormones and enzymes.
Overall, snap peas are a highly nutritious food-packed with phytonutrients, antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals. The best choice would be organic sugar snap peas in the produce section which can be eaten raw or cooked.
Possible short-term side effects
- can interfere with blood thinning prescriptions
- natural anti-inflammatory
- low calorie
- low fat
- great protein
- great carbs
- immune booster
Organic snap peas (what is this?)
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Written by Dr. Becky Maes | 03-15-2018
Written by Dr. Becky Maes
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