Green Peas Nutrition, Health Benefits, Versus Sugar and Snow Peas

Green peas are an ancient vegetable that probably originated in the sub-Himalayan lowlands of north-west India. Now, green peas are one of the major commercial vegetable crops, grown in semi-tropical and temperate regions throughout the world. There is a huge market for frozen peas.

The pea plant is an herbaceous vine yielding peas in pods. Green peas, Pisum sativum, belong to the Fabaceae family. Sugar, snap peas, and snow peas, are different species and the whole juvenile pods containing small peas are consumed. The botanical name for these peas is Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon.

Sugar snap peas are native to Europe, rather than Asia. The plant is an annual vine that grows rapidly and generally requires climbing support. The pods need to be picked as soon as they develop and this creates a harvesting issue for commercial production. But sugar and snow peas are ideal for home gardens.

Both green peas and sugar snap peas are popular with home gardeners are cooks. But which is the more nutritious?

This article includes nutrition data and health benefit information for green peas, sugar and snap peas and for green beans, Fabia Beans (broad beans), Yardlong Bean, Chinese Snake Beans.

Green peas are very easy to use in frozen form. See their nutrition facts and health benefits here
Green peas are very easy to use in frozen form. See their nutrition facts and health benefits here | Source
Green peas, snap, sugar and snow peas are easy to grow in a home garden on temporary trellises.
Green peas, snap, sugar and snow peas are easy to grow in a home garden on temporary trellises. | Source
Snap peas and snow peas need to be picked every day as they are eaten whole, pods and all
Snap peas and snow peas need to be picked every day as they are eaten whole, pods and all | Source
Peas in their pods are very versatile and are especially suitable for stir fry dishes
Peas in their pods are very versatile and are especially suitable for stir fry dishes | Source

Health Benefits of Green Peas

Green Peas are relatively low in calories with 100 g of green peas providing 81 calories.

This is twice that in Snap Peas and is higher than the other ones listed in the table below apart from Fabia bean (broad beans which have a whopping 341 calories per 100 gm.

Green peas pods are excellent source of folic acid with 100 g providing 65 mcg per 100 g, which is 16% of recommended daily allowance.

Green peas are also relatively rich in the B-Group vitamins such as niacin and Thiamin.

Fresh green peas are a good source of vitamins such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Viatmin K. However the levels are lower than for snap peas (see the table).

Green peas have about twice the level of protein (5.4 g/100 g) and dietary fiber (5.1 g/100 g) as snap peas (protein (2.8 g/100 g) and dietary fiber (2.6 g/100 g).

However, the calories in green peas are much higher.

Fresh green peas are a good source of anti-oxidants flavonoids such as carotenes, lutein and zea-xanthin as well as vitamin A

Green peas are a good source of mimerals such as calcium, iron, copper, zinc, and manganese.

The levels are generally higher than for snap peas, with the exception of Calcium and Iron.

Health Benefits of Snap, Sugar and Snow Peas

Snap peas have half the calories of green peas (snap peas have 42 calories per 100 g). Snap peas are also richer in most of the vitamins, but are poorer in most minerals (apart from Calcium and iron).

Sugar snap pods are relatively rich in phytosterols, which help lower cholesterol levels in the body.

Fresh green peas are a good source of Vitamin A and antioxidants flavonoids such as carotenes, zea-xanthin and lutein.

Snap peas are richer in most of the B-group vitamins than green peas, but folate levels are lower.

Sugar snap peas are a good source of many minerals, particularly calcium and iron.

Nutrient Comparisons for Peas Versus Various Bean Species

The table below enables a comparison between peas and beans for a 100g serving. The key points are:

► Fabia beans (broad beans) are a real stand-out in terms of macronutrients with high levels of protein and fiber. But you pay for this because these beans have very high calories and 3-4 times the amount of fat.

► Fabia beans are a richer source of B-group vitamins and folates, but they are relatively poor in most other vitamins.

► Fabia beans are also relatively rich in most minerals.

► Common green beans have very low calories (31 kcal per 100 g, but have lower levels of nutrients for most vitamins, but higher levels of most minerals than peas.

► Winged beans and Yardlong beans have moderate calories but are generally poor in most of the nutrients.

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Nutrient Data Comprisons for 100g of Green Peas Compared With Various Beans

Nutrient in 100 g serving
Green Peas
Snap Peas (Snow Peas)
Green Beans
Fabia Beans (broad Beans)
Winged Bean
Yardlong Bean, Chinese Snake Beans
Energy
81 Kcal
42 Kcal
31 Kcal
341 Kcal
49 Kcal
47 Kcal
Carbohydrates
14.45 g
7.55 g
7.13 g
58.59 g
4.31 g
8.35 g
Protein
5.42 g
2.80 g
1.82 g
26.12 g
6.95 g
2.8 g
Total Fat
0.40 g
0.20 g
0.34 g
1.53 g
0.87 g
0.40 g
Cholesterol
0 mg
0 mg
0 mg
0 mg
0 mg
0 mg
Dietary Fiber
5.1 g
2.6 g
3.4 g
25 g
 
 
Vitamins
 
 
 
 
 
 
Folates
65 mcg
42 mcg
37 mcg
423 mcg
66 mcg
62 mcg
Niacin
2.090 mg
0.600 mg
0.752 mg
2.832 mg
0.900 mg
0.410 mg
Pantothenic acid
0.104 mg
0.750 mg
0.094 mg
0.976 mg
0.059 mg
0.055 mg
Pyridoxine
0.169 mg
0.160 mg
0.074 mg
0.366 mg
0.113 mg
0.024 mg
Riboflavin
0.132 mg
0.080 mg
0.105 mg
0.333 mg
0.100 mg
0.110 mg
Thiamin
0.266 mg
0.150 mg
0.084 mg
0.555 mg
0.140 mg
0.107 mg
Vitamin A
765 IU
1087 IU
690 IU
53 IU
128 IU
865 IU
Vitamin C
40 mg
60 mg
16.3 mg
1.4 mg
18.3 mg
18.8 mg
Vitamin E
0.13 mg
0.39 mg
 
 
 
 
Vitamin K
24.8 mcg
25 mcg
14 mcg
9 mcg
 
 
Electrolytes
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sodium
5 mg
4 mg
6 mg
13 mg
4 mg
4 mg
Potassium
244 mg
200 mg
209 mg
1062 mg
240 mg
240 mg
Minerals
 
 
 
 
 
 
Calcium
25 mg
43 mg
37 mg
103 mg
84 mg
50 mg
Copper
0.176 mg
0.079 mg
1.04 mg
0.824 mcg
0.051 mcg
0.048 mcg
Iron
1.47 mg
2.08 mg
25 mg
6.70 mg
1.5 mg
0.47 mg
Magnesium
33 mg
24 mg
0.214 mg
192 mg
34 mg
44 mg
Manganese
0.410 mg
0.244 mg
38 mg
1.626 mg
0.218 mg
0.205 mg
Selenium
1.8 mcg
0.7 mcg
 
8.2 mcg
1.5 mcg
1.5 mcg
Zinc
1.24 mg
0.27 mg
0.24 mg
3.14 mg
0.39 mg
0.37 mg
Phyto-nutrients
 
 
 
 
 
 
Carotene-beta
449 mcg
44 mcg
379 mcg
32 mcg
 
 
Crypto-xanthin-beta
0 mcg
630 mcg
69 mcg
00 mcg
 
 
Lutein-zeaxanthin
2477 mcg
0 mcg
640 mcg
00 mcg
 
 

© 2014 Dr. John Anderson

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Comments 2 comments

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

Well that was a useful read. Viva the humble green pea and thanks. I'm about to add a package to a chicken soup for this newest wave of winter weather. Pinning to Ways w/ Food: Fruit/Veggies.


mecheshier profile image

mecheshier 2 years ago

What a fabulous post. Thank you for great research and info. I love all peas. My favorite are snow peas. Voted up for useful and awesome

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