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Food Facts Friday: Green Peas
Looking for a more kidney-friendly and versatile legume? Green peas have a long history of being a scrumptious and highly nutritious food. Green peas have been consumed for at least 6,000 years by people in the Mediterranean and Middle East. As these wild peas were a great source of nutrition at the time, we have now learned to farm more varieties of green peas. Included are English peas, snow peas and sugar snap peas.
Green peas are a good source of protein with about 6 grams in a 3/4 cup serving. This is equal to the protein in one whole egg. Peas are also a good source of soluble fiber. This type of fiber increases fullness and aids in lowering blood cholesterol and blood sugar (1).
Green peas contain lots of vitamins and minerals. They are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese and B vitamins. They are also a good source of vitamin A, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc and copper.
Kidney Diet Concerns
Renal patients may get concerned with the phosphorus and potassium level in this legume, However, green peas have a lot less phosphorus and potassium than other legumes. Green peas (frozen) have about 62 mg phosphorus and 88 mg potassium per 1/2 cup. Research suggest only about 50% of phosphorus is absorbed in legumes (2).
Sodium content is higher in regular canned peas compared to fresh or frozen peas. You can purchase unsalted canned green peas. Fresh peas have around 4 mg sodium per 1/2 cup. Frozen peas contain approximately 58 mg sodium per 1/2 cup.
Ways to Eat Green Peas
One of the best qualities of peas is all the ways to cook this green legume. Try peas boiled, baked, steamed, stir fried, fried, roasted or microwaved. If you ever eat a pea and don’t like it, consider trying another cooking method for a new taste!
To help preserve the nutrients, cooking peas at a lower temperature, for a shorter time, and with less water is recommended. This is why steaming vegetables is thought to be a healthier cooking method. However, boiling green peas will reduce potassium more than steaming them.
Snow peas and snap peas can be eaten and enjoyed raw once washed. This makes for a quick and easy snack on-the-go! Some Asian dishes include stir-frying these types of peas with other meat and veggies. This addition helps provide a subtle sweetness to the dish.
Green peas are great to eat by themselves or in a dish. Some cooks love to add English peas to pastas, casseroles, omelets, quiches, soups, and salads. Green peas are an easy item to experiment with and mix into your favorite savory dishes.
Green Pea Recipes
- Creamy Shells with Peas and Bacon
- Hearty Chicken Soup
- Idle-Not Meat and Vegetable Casserole
- Rice Noodles with Chicken and Oyster Sauce
- St. Patrick’s Crinkle-cut Carrots and Peas
- Baked Pork Chops (Chuletas de Cerdo Horneadas)
- Individual Meat Loaves
- Tasty Chicken Patties
- Zesty Chicken
- Kalantar–Zadeh et al; Understanding Sources of Dietary Phosphorus in the Treatment of Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol 5: 519-530, 2010.
Visit DaVita.com and explore these diet and nutrition resources:
- DaVita Diet Helper
- Recipes from DaVita
- Today’s Kidney Diet Cookbooks
- Diet and Nutrition Articles
- DaVita Eats Recipe Videos
This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Consult your physician and dietitian regarding your specific diagnosis, treatment, diet and health questions.