Is Pea Protein Better for Your Health and the Environment?

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pea protein

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Pea protein is gaining popularity as a sustainable option for consumers and the environment. Peas are small, round, and green vegetables often overlooked in favor of more popular options like carrots and broccoli.

We explore the benefits of using pea protein, including its low environmental impact. Furthermore, we discuss why this alternative source of protein has been rapidly gaining traction within the food industry over the past few years.

First, peas are an excellent source of protein. In fact, one cup of peas contains 8 grams of protein. This makes pea protein an excellent option for those looking to increase their protein intake without consuming large amounts of animal-based proteins.

However, protein content isn’t the only thing going for these often overlooked legumes. Here’s a breakdown of other nutrients in pea protein.

Nutrients per cup (145g)

  • Calories: 118
  • Protein – 8g
  • Carbohydrate – 21g
  • Potassium – 353.8mg
  • Dietary fiber – 7g
  • Peas are also high in Vitamin C, Iron, Vitamin B6, Calcium, and Magnesium.


Health benefits

pea protein for health

Peas are a nutritional powerhouse, and they offer a range of health benefits.

Eye health

Peas are not just a delicious and versatile vegetable – they may also be suitable for your eyesight. They contain high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, two nutrients known to help support healthy vision. Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in the macula, the part of the eye responsible for central vision.

These nutrients help protect the macula from damage caused by blue light, reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In addition, lutein and zeaxanthin have been shown to improve night vision and reduce the risk of cataracts.


Digestive health

Peas may not be the first food that comes to mind when thinking about digestive health, but they can actually be quite helpful in relieving some common digestive problems.

They are a good source of fiber, which can help to bulk up stool and make it easier to pass. They also contain a type of soluble fiber known as oligosaccharides, which acts as a prebiotic and helps to promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria.

In addition, peas are low in FODMAPs, a group of short-chain carbohydrates that can trigger digestive issues in people with IBS. For all of these reasons, peas can be a helpful addition to the diet for those struggling with digestive problems.

Peas also contain high concentrations of coumestrol, a critical nutrient in protecting you from stomach cancer. According to a 2009 study done in Mexico City, eating peas and other legumes daily lowers the risk of stomach cancer by 50%.


Blood sugar control

Recent research has suggested that peas may help to control blood sugar levels. Peas are a good source of fiber and protein, both of which have been shown to slow the rise in blood sugar after meals.

In addition, peas contain a compound called polyphenols, which have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity. As a result, adding peas to your diet may help you to control your blood sugar levels better.

Peas feature low on the glycemic index. You’re less likely to experience a sudden sugar spike after eating them.

Of course, you should always talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet, but incorporating peas into your meals is a healthy and straightforward way to improve your blood sugar control.


Peas for the planet

peas for the planet

Peas do have several environmental benefits. For one thing, they require less water than many other crops, and they also tend to grow well in various climates.

For example, it takes nearly 200 gallons of water to produce one pound of soybeans, while it only takes 36 gallons of water to produce one pound of peas. This makes pea protein a much more sustainable option for those looking to reduce their environmental footprint.

More importantly, though, peas can actually help to improve soil structure and support biodiversity. This is because peas require very little tillage or fertilizer, meaning they cause minimal disturbance to the farmland where they’re grown.

Overall, it seems like peas are a more environmentally friendly option than many other types of produce.

Finally, peas are also gaining popularity within the food industry due to their versatility. Pea protein can be used in various products, such as plant-based meat alternatives, dairy-free milk, and even baked goods.

As more consumers look for sustainable and ethical alternatives to animal-based products, the demand for pea protein is only expected to increase in the coming years.

Pea Recipe: Garlic Shallot Thyme Linguini with Peas Recipe

  • Luke Rooks

    Luke is a passionate environmental advocate based in upstate New York. When he's not sharing tips on sustainability and wellness, you can find him hiking with his dog, Max.

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