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Peas Nutrition Facts

When most people think of peas, they remember them as the food that they loved to hate when they were children. Yet, many of these same people, since they have become adults, have a renewed appreciation for this vibrant and delicious legume due to its wonderful taste and texture.

There are generally three types of peas that are commonly eaten: garden or green peas, snow peas and snap peas.

Green peas are bursting with nutrients. "They provide good to very good amounts of 8 vitamins, 7 minerals, dietary fiber and protein," according to the website The World's Healthiest Foods. "Green peas' supercharged nutritional profile can supercharge your health."

According to this website green peas provide nutrients that are important for maintaining bone health. They are a very good source of vitamin K1, which activates osteocalcin, the major non-collagen protein in bone. Osteocalcin anchors calcium molecules inside of the bone. Therefore, without enough vitamin K1, osteocalcin levels are inadequate and bone mineralization is impaired.

Green peas also serve as a very good source of folic acid and a good source of vitamin B6. These two nutrients help to reduce the buildup of a metabolic byproduct called homocysteine, a dangerous molecule that can obstruct collagen cross-linking, resulting in poor bone matrix and osteoporosis. One study showed that postmenopausal women who were not considered deficient in folic acid lowered their homocysteine levels simply by supplementing with folic acid by itself.

In addition to affecting bone health, homocysteine contributes to atherosclerosis through its ability to damage the blood vessels, keeping them in a constant state of injury. Therefore the folic acid and vitamin B6 in green peas are supportive of cardiovascular health as well. In fact, folic acid is so important for cardiovascular function that a major 1995 study concluded that 400 micrograms per day of folic acid could prevent 28,000 cardiovascular deaths per year in the United States.

The contributions of green peas to heart health do not stop there. The vitamin K featured in green peas is instrumental to the body's healthy blood clotting ability.

Green peas are a very good source of thiamin (vitamin B1) and a good source of vitamin B6, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and niacin (vitamin B3), all of which are nutrients that are necessary for carbohydrate, protein and lipid metabolism. Green peas are also a good source of iron, a mineral necessary for normal blood cell formation and function, whose deficiency results in anemia, fatigue, decreased immune function, and learning problems. In addition, green peas are a very good source of vitamin C, which protects many energy-producing cells and systems in the body from free radical damage. Body tissues with particularly high vitamin C requirements include the adrenal glands, ocular lens, liver, immune system, connective tissues, and fats circulating in the blood.

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