4 health benefits of peas

Peas are proof that powerful nutrients do come in small packages. Here’s how this flavourful veggie can boost your health

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shelled peas

Get enough vitamin C

A ½ cup (125-mL) serving of shelled peas or chopped snow peas has almost half of your daily vitamin C needs. C aids in the growth and repair of tissues, and helps make collagen, a protein used in creating cartilage, skin and tendons. It’s also crucial for iron absorption. Because vitamin C is water soluble, your body can’t store it, so you need to get enough each day.

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raw peas green peas

Avoid the blues

Whether cooked or raw, green peas are a very good source of folate, with ½ cup containing 13 percent of your daily needs. And folate is important: A Finnish study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders in 2012 found that a low intake of folate boosts the risk of melancholic depressive symptoms. Among study participants with the highest folate intake, the risk was about 50 percent less than among those with the lowest intake.

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Protect your heart

A ½-cup serving of cooked shelled peas provides about one quarter of your daily fibre needs. A Swedish study of more than 20,000 people, published last year, showed that women who ate a high-fibre diet had just one quarter the risk of ischemic cardiovascular disease as those who ate a low-fibre diet. (The effect was less profound in men, but a high-fibre diet gave them better protection from ischemic stroke.)

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Fight free radicals

A ½ cup of cooked green peas has 25 percent of your daily needs of manganese, a key component of an enzyme that helps neutralize free radicals in the body. Why is this good? Free radicals can lead to development of certain cancers, and damage our cell membranes and DNA. We should try to limit free radicals, which are the result of oxidation in the body-a process similar to metal rusting after exposure to oxygen in the air.

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