Pea Benefits & Information

Latin Name

Pisum sativum L.

Origin

Unknown – Somewhere from the Middle East to Asia.

Parts Used

The Pea itself – protein extracted

Traditional Use and Health Benefits

TRADITIONAL INFORMATION:

Peas have been a traditional source of available nutrition for thousands of years. In many cultures both cultivated and wild varieties have been used to sustain and uphold the body through its wide range of nutritional benefits. This is displayed in the fact that wild peas were widely used by the Roman Legion to supplement their rations while on long marches through the Middle East. Additionally in sixteenth century England Peas were an abundant source of nutrition for thousands of people in times of hardship. This is where the old children’s nursery rhyme ‘Pease porridge hot’ originated pointing to the priority that peas had in a peasant’s diet. The other usefulness of the pea is that it can easily be dried and stored to be used later. Modern science has found that the pea is one of a few plants that is able to fix nitrogen from the air, needing very little from the soil to sustain growth. This trait means that the pea is able to survive abject conditions and poor soils making it a failsafe crop. 

Luckily for many of our European ancestors there exists a great deal of protein and fibre in peas that would have been sufficient for survival during famine and low food levels. Today peas are eaten for their sweetness, because they are low in fat and their protein and fibre content. They represent a European staple that has stood the test of time and proven to be a fully supporting food source.

HEALTH BENEFITS:

Peas are very high in protein with the split yellow pea being even higher than other varieties. Protein is a basic sustaining force enabling the body to generate energy as well as repair muscles. During heavy exercise, weightlifting or work the muscle tissue separates and the breakdown of proteins occur. Through the process of Protein Synthesis there must be significant amino acid intake in the form of protein to exceed the breakdown of proteins in the body. All eight of the essential amino acids are present in pea protein meaning that muscles can be fed the full spectrum of correct building blocks to grow. A noteworthy benefit of protein from peas is that it is hypoallergenic and less likely to give users adverse reactions like egg, milk or soy proteins.

Today modern science is able to extract the protein from peas resulting in powders that are low in sugar and fat and up to 80% protein. This makes pea protein powders an excellent choice for those wishing to lose weight and at the same time gain muscle mass. For Vegans, Vegetarians and elderly people pea protein can be added to the diet to increase protein intake, help with bone maintenance and boost energy levels.  

Typical Use

Peas have traditionally been dries before being eaten.

Folklore and History

The Pea is a part of the very large family of Legume which hosts all varieties of bean. It has been observed that nearly every culture on earth has used beans as part of their diet and native varieties exist on every continent. It is truly a species that has been at the forefront of the human diet since the dawn of intelligent man.

Historical botanists are unsure of where the Pea might have originated from. A wide area is usually picked between the Middle East and Asia to designate its home continent. One of the oldest discoveries of peas in archaeological history were found in Thailand where carbon dating found samples to be in the region of 13,000 years old. The sample found was a wild variety and not domesticated pea. Other examples have been found in North Western Iraq and Switzerland with all being dated before the Common Era.

The origins of the name ‘pea’ has been argued to have come from Sanskrit but more likely come from the Latin ‘pisum’. The Romans and Greeks were cultivating the pea legume from around 400 BC. Historians have been pondering how peas were introduced into Greece either being from Switzerland or from India. The Chinese started cultivating the pea in around 700 CE and are thought to be one of the first civilisations to consider it a vegetable. Because of the sweetness of the pea and its adaptability being able to survive various climates, the popularity of this vegetable soon spread with most countries in Europe and Asia consuming large amounts.  



 

 

Pea
Constituents

Whole Green Pea

As well as protein, some fats and low sugar, peas also contain a whole host of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.

Vitamins

Folates, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5), Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Thiamin (Vitamin B1), Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Vitamin K.

Minerals

Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Selenium and Zinc.

Electrolytes

Sodium and Potassium.

Phytochemical nutrients

Carotene-ß, Crypto-xanthin-ß and Lutein-zeaxanthin