Scientific studies now show that the lowly pea lives up to its name. Dr. Aluka studied the effect of pea protein hydrolysate from the yellow garden pea on rats with a severe form of chronic kidney disease, polycystic kidney disease, and found that it increased their urine production by approximately 30 percent. The increased production combined with the protein they received lowered their blood pressure by 20
percent. The control group of rats showed fed a regular diet showed no change. The study proved the yellow pea, made them do just that.
While the irony of the study is funny, the implications are quite important. Today hundreds of people around the world die from the complications that kidney malfunction bring to the table.
The malfunction causes high blood pressure and the high blood pressure causes cardiovascular complications like stroke and heart disease. The benefit, however, isn't readily available by eating the yellow garden pea; unfortunately, the pea protein needs activation by other outside enzymes and remains inactive in its natural state. That shouldn't, however, stop you from eating peas because there's so much more benefit that you'd miss.
Just one cup of boiled green peas provides over 51% of the required amount of vitamin K, 42% of your daily manganese, 40% of the daily requirement of vitamin C and over ¼ of your body's daily requirement of vitamin B1 (thiamin). It also contains between 12 to 25 % of the daily requirement for folate, vitamin A, tryptophan, phosphorus, B6, protein, niacin, magnesium, riboflavin, copper, iron, zinc and potassium. You don't need a lot of extra fiber because just one cup of peas provides over 1/3 of the necessary daily fiber. Best of all, they taste good. This naturally sweet legume is a favorite of both children and adults. The carotenoid in the green pea is lutein, well known for reducing the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
The green pea is not the only hero of this family. The sugar or snap pea also has a high standing in the world of nutrition. Their high sugar content makes gardeners around the world, snap off a pod and eat them right in the garden, which makes it a super lunchbox treat or mid morning snack for adults and children. Of course, cooking the pea pods make them even sweeter. While these peas don't contain as many nutrients as the green pea, they have plenty of iron and vitamin C.
Toss a few boiled peas in your fresh salad and enjoy the additional nutrients and taste. Studies on peas show that they help lower cholesterol, strengthen the immune system, maintain level glucose levels in the blood to keep energy levels consistent, promote bone health and cardiovascular health. The high vitamin C content is a great natural antioxidant that protects the body from cell damage.
Peas, however, aren't for everyone. They contain purines, which metabolize into uric acid. The body also produces uric acid from the purines the cells release when they die. Uric acid isn't a bad thing. In fact, to most people it is a blessing. It acts like an antioxidant in the blood. If the kidneys aren't functioning properly to balance the uric acid levels or there's an overload of uric acid, it accumulates and becomes crystals. The crystals deposit in the kidneys, joints, tendons and other organs, which causes a condition known as gout. For those that suffer from gout, the pea is a taste treat that comes with a price.
If you don't have a problem with uric acid, put plenty of peas in your diet. They increase your energy without the sudden drop that other forms of sugar produce. Peas taste good, so good in fact, the kids won't know they're eating something nutritious.