Peas are a common vegetable, grown and consumed in almost every corner of the globe. While you’re probably very familiar with peas and the countless recipes they’re used in, you’ve probably never tried green pea microgreens in a salad or healthy blended smoothie.
The sprouts of peas are like other microgreens in the way that they are nutritionally dense and come with several notable health benefits. As a matter of fact, they contain up to 40x more nutrients! Pea microgreens can help to promote overall health, ward off disease, and may also help prevent cancer.
Here’s all you need to know about another powerful microgreen that should be incorporated into your daily diet.
Pea Sprouts Nutritional Information
Pea sprouts, also known as pea greens or microgreens, are the young leaves and shoots that sprout from the seeds found within legume pods. Every pea is a seed, and every pea can sprout to form new legume plant. However, not every pea is suitable for sprouting due to the presence of neurotoxins found in most legumes.
The peas most commonly used for microgreens are snow peas and sugar snaps. Not only do these have very low levels of potentially dangerous neurotoxins, but they also produce sweeter microgreens that are perfect for blending into smoothies or incorporating into recipes .
Freshly harvested pea sprouts are rich in vitamins and minerals. A single serving of 1 Cup (approximately 100g) of pea microgreens is low in calories and relatively high in protein. Take a look at the complete nutritional profile below, including the recommended daily allowance (RDA) where applicable .
Total Fat (Incl. trans fat and saturated fat) 0g
Dietary Fiber 3g / 16% RDA
Vitamin A 2% RDA
Vitamin C 50% RDA
Calcium 4% RDA
Iron 10% RDA
All values are based on an average 2,000 calorie diet. As you can see, incorporating pea sprouts will provide a significant boost to your Vitamin C and Iron intake, without providing excessive calories through carbohydrates. The fiber percentage is also relatively high compared to the serving weight.
Pea Microgreens are a Rich Source of Vitamin C
A single cup of pea microgreens can provide 50% of an adult’s recommended daily Vitamin C allowance. This essential vitamin can help to protect an immune system that is depleted from stress, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, or obesity.
Vitamin C can also reduce the risk of infections and pneumonia when suffering from the common cold, and higher concentrations of Vitamin C in the blood can even help to lower the risk of stroke. Early research shows that Vitamin C can reduce the risk of developing cancer and cardiovascular disease, which is possibly linked to the anti-inflammatory properties of the vitamin .
Health professionals recommend that Vitamin C is taken naturally from ingredients that are only lightly cooked or consumed raw, making pea microgreens a perfect daily source.
Other benefits of Vitamin C include:
- Reduction in macular degeneration that leads to eye disorders.
- Speedier wound healing.
- Reduction in asthma symptoms caused by air pollution.
- Better processing of glucose and insulin.
- Promotes neurotransmitter production which could help to regulate mood.
Iron in Pea Microgreens Can Prevent Deficiency and Anemia
Iron is essential to the body and is present in all cells. It is used to transport oxygen and to trigger enzyme reactions. Iron deficiency is a serious condition which can lead to anemia .
Early stage iron deficiency can result in symptoms like:
- Tiredness and fatigue.
- Poor cognitive performance.
- Poor immune performance.
- Inflammation of the tongue.
- Poor temperature regulation.
When anemia develops from untreated iron deficiency, red blood cells drop to dangerous levels. Anemia can lead to fainting and increased thirst, confusion, weakness, hair loss, shortness of breath, and chronic fatigue or tiredness .
Pea microgreens help to prevent iron deficiency and therefore anemia by providing a significant boost to the body. A single cup serving of pea sprouts offers 10% of the recommended daily allowance of iron. When combined with a balanced diet, pea microgreens could ensure that your iron levels remain in the optimum range.
If you are a vegan or vegetarian, then the regular consumption of pea microgreens could offset the lack of iron from red meat.
Pea Sprouts are High in Protein
By weight, pea sprouts are one of the best vegetable sources of protein. A cup of sprouts, which is very small and easy to consume, can provide two grams of protein, the equivalent of 1/3 of an egg.
When consuming a raw vegan or vegetarian diet, pea sprouts could become an essential secondary source of natural protein, reducing your reliance on shakes, carbohydrate-rich beans, or processed soy sources.
Protein is the building block of all tissue in the body, so it’s essential to keep intake levels up, no matter what type of diet you are following. If you're into fitness, here is a great guide on How Much Protein You Should Eat a Day?
0.8g of protein should be consumed daily for every kilogram (2.2lbs) of body weight .
Phytoestrogens in Pea Sprouts may Prevent Cancer and Other Serious Diseases
Pea sprouts are a rich source of phytoestrogens. These plant-derived compounds are often promoted for their ability to lower the risk of breast cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis.
The scientific research behind phytoestrogens is increasing each year. In older subjects with high cholesterol, an increased intake of phytoestrogens could improve heart health, bone health, and may reduce the risk of carcinogenesis inside the body. This can help to prevent various forms of cancer from forming or progressing .
Anti-cancer research for phytoestrogens is particularly promising, with researchers finding that the anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties could inhibit cancer on a cellular level .
The fiber that is present in pea microgreens is also a known cancer fighter. Current research has been highly positive, showing that women who eat a fiber-rich diet are at a lower risk of developing breast cancer .
Pea Microgreens are Best Consumed Naturally
The sprouts or microgreens from snap and snow peas should be consumed raw and from natural sources. If you are buying fresh pea microgreens from a farmer’s market or even a specialty grocer, then you should look for the term veganic on the packaging. If you’re buying directly from a producer, then talk to them about their growing methods to determine whether the product can be considered 100% safe and natural.
Veganic farming is a type of ethical farming that lends itself strongly to the production of super-nutritious foods. The term veganic is associated with production methods that don’t harm animals or use any chemicals. When it comes to vegetables, there are some significant advantages.
The veganic method is non-GMO, plants are grown hydroponically in controlled environments, and no animal fertilizers are used. This effectively eliminates the risk of contamination from viruses and bacteria and removes potential exposure to hormones and chemicals that are introduced into animal feed. Veganic farming does not use artificial pesticides either.
Choosing veganic from smaller niche growers can ensure that you get all the health benefits of pea sprout microgreens without concerns of unethical practices (even indirectly) or contamination.
Another Fantastic Microgreen for All-Around Health
From the abundance of Vitamin C, fiber, protein, and iron, to the cancer-fighting properties of phytoestrogens, pea microgreens can be added to the growing list of young sprouts that pack a huge nutritional boost.
Consuming pea shoots will help to provide essential nutrients without drastically increasing caloric intake. Even a small change in your diet today could provide noticeable and lifelong health benefits, and when there are simple and natural solutions like microgreens, you have the perfect natural way to start improving your health today.
- https://www.superfoodevolution.com/pea-shoots.html Pea Shoots, The Tender Leafy Sprouting Green
- http://www.isga-sprouts.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/SproutNutritionFacts.pdf Sprouts Nutritional Information
- https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/the-benefits-of-vitamin-c#2 The Benefits of Vitamin C
- https://bit.ly/2KKmpOW Medicine Net Iron and Iron Deficiency
- https://www.medicinenet.com/anemia/article.htm Medicine Net Anemia
- https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/how-much-protein-do-you-need-every-day-201506188096 How Much Protein do You Need Every Day?
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3074428/ The Pros and Cons of Phytoestrogens
- https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/fiber/ Harvard The Nutrition Source Fiber