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How Does the Nutritional Content of Green Peas and Green Beans Differ?

Updated on March 10, 2020
beverley byer profile image

Beverley has a degree in Science and additional certifications in nutrition and aromatherapy. She's published on and offline.

Green Pea plant
Green Pea plant | Source
Green Bean plant
Green Bean plant | Source


Green vegetables are loaded with nutrients. Green peas and green beans are no different. They both contain protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, all of which are necessary for human health. Some green veggies, like peas and beans, are seen as interchangeable by many. Some countries even refer to them by the same name. But these green legumes are distinctive. Evidence is shown in close review of their properties, including in their nutritional content.

Green Peas
Green Peas | Source

What Are Green Peas?

The botanical name for green peas is Pisum sativum L. They belong to the family of plants called Fabaceae or Leguminosae, and are one of the 20, 000 species of global edible/ non-edible legumes. Most of us are familiar with green peas, snow peas and snap peas. Green peas are found in the pods or fruits of the plant. Each pod contains two to ten peas. Commonly known as garden peas or sweet peas, they have a sweetish flavor and starchy texture. Shelled peas are used raw, fresh, canned, or frozen. The plant is a fast-growing, climbing annual, that prefers cooler weather.

Green Beans
Green Beans | Source

What Are Green Beans?

The botanical name for green beans is Phaseolus vulgaris. They also belong to the Fabaceae plant family. Green beans are also known as snap beans, and wax beans. The latter are really yellow ‘green’ beans. There are other species of beans, and colors and shapes within species. They grow in bunches either on the vine (the pole variety) or on a bush. The young pods are eaten fresh. Varieties such as black, kidney and pinto are usually dried. Green beans are about one to two feet in length. The plant is an annual like peas but prefers full sun. Other names for green beans include pole beans, string beans, or stringless beans.

Differences in Green Peas and Green Beans Nutritional Content

Compare one cup of cooked green peas with one cup of cooked green beans. You’ll discover they have several nutrients in common. The differences lie mostly in quantity, but certain minerals and phytonutrients have been discovered in one and not the other.

Green pea soup
Green pea soup | Source
Sauteed Green beans
Sauteed Green beans | Source

Nutritional Content in Both Green Peas and Green Beans

Green peas and green beans are both excellent sources of soluble and insoluble fiber, vitamins B2, B9 (folate), C and K, mineral manganese and phytonutrients in general. They also share healthy quantities of protein, vitamins A, B1, B3, B5, B6 and choline, minerals calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium and total fat. (see Sources).

The following vitamins, minerals and other nutrients are also found in both green peas and green beans: vitamin E, minerals chromium, selenium and zinc, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, phytonutrients lutein and zeaxanthin, total sugars, total carbohydrates and total calories (see Sources).

Greek Style Green Peas and Potato Stew/ Arakas

Quantities of the Top Nutrients in Both Green Peas & Green Beans

According to data on the Whole Foods website (see Sources), one cup of cooked green peas contains almost double the amount of fiber in one cup of cooked green beans (7.58 grams/g to 4.0 g). Green peas have 5.51 g of insoluble fiber and 2.07 g of soluble fiber, while green beans have 2.37 g of insoluble fiber and 1.62 g of soluble fiber.

Regarding vitamins, green peas have 0.21 milligrams/mg B2, while green beans have 0.12 mg. Green peas consist of 86.8 micrograms/mcg B9 or folate, while green beans have 41.3 mcg. Green peas have 19.6 mg vitamin C, while green beans have 12.13 mg. Green peas have 35.7 mcg vitamin K, while green beans have 20.0 mcg.

In minerals green peas consist of 0.72 mg manganese, and green beans have 0.36 mg.

In phytonutrients green peas consist of 647.42 mcg of beta-carotene, while green beans contain 525.00 mcg.

Green pea pod
Green pea pod | Source

Quantities of the Other Nutrients in Green Peas & Green Beans

The Whole Foods website data also shows that green peas have 7.38 g of protein, while green bean have 2.36 g.

Regarding vitamins, green peas consist of 1103.4 International Units/IU of vitamin A, while green beans have 875.00 IU. Green peas have 0.36 mg B1, while green beans have 0.09 mg. Green peas have 2.78 B3, while green beans have 0.77 mg. Green peas have 0.21 mg B5/ pantothenic acid, while green beans consist of 0.09 mg. Green peas have 0.30 mg B6, while green beans have 0.07 mg. Green peas contain 40.9 choline, while green beans consist of 21.13 mg. Green peas have 0.29 IU vitamin E, and green beans have 0.84 IU.

In the mineral group green peas contain 37.2 mg calcium, while green beans contain 55.0 mg. Green peas have 0.69 mcg chromium, while green beans contain 2.04 mcg. Green peas have 0.24 mg of copper, while green beans have 0.07 mg. Green peas have 2.12 mg iron, while green beans have 0.81 mg. Green peas have 53.7 mg magnesium, and green beans have 22. 5 mg. Green peas consists of 161. 2 mg phosphorus, while green beans have 36.3 mg. Green peas have 373.3 mg potassium, while green beans contain 182. 5 mg. Green peas have 2.62 mcg selenium, while green beans have 0.25 mcg. Green peas consist of 1.64 mg zinc, and green beans consist of 0.31 mg.

In phytonutrients green peas consist of 30.30 mcg alpha-carotene and 3571.9 mcg lutein and zeaxanthin, while green beans consist of 0.0 mcg alpha-carotene and 886.3 mcg lutein and zeaxanthin. Flavonoids catechins and epicatechins are also found in both green peas and green beans but quantities are unknown.

In fatty acids green peas contain 0.03 g of omega-3 and 0.11 g of omega-6, while green beans contain 0.11g of omega-3 and 0.07 g of omega-6.

In total fat, sugars, carbohydrates and calories, green peas contain 0.30 g, 8.17 g, 21.5 g and 115.7 respectively, while green beans contain 0.35 g, 1.94 g, 9.9 g and 43.75 respectively.

Garlic Green Beans Recipe

Nutrients Not Shared by Green Peas & Green Beans

Analysis of green peas found minerals iodine and molybdenum, and phytonutrients coumestrol (polyphenol), ferolic acid and caffeic acid (phenolic acids). Analysis of green beans found it to be “silicon-rich.” Excellent quantities of phytonutrients violaxanthin and neoxanthin were also found in the latter legume (see Sources).

Spicy Green peas stir Fry

Health Benefits Offered by Nutrients in Green Peas and Green Beans

Both green peas and green beans provide lots of health benefits. Their fiber content slows digestion, preventing blood sugar spikes, and that is especially important to patients with type 2 diabetes. It also feeds healthy gut bacteria, which reduces the risk of issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and colon cancer. The insoluble fiber creates bulk, making it easier for the body to dispose of waste matter (see Sources).

The B-vitamins, especially B1, B2, B3, B6 and choline, reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, promote bone, brain and nervous system health, support metabolism and act as antioxidants. B9 or folate bars buildup of the amino acid homocysteine, preventing birth defects and allowing the brain to produce serotonin and other “happy hormones” without interference (see Sources).

Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, removing harmful free radicals from the cells. This reduces inflammation, risk of heart and other chronic diseases, promotes the immune system and skin health (see Sources).

Vitamin K promotes bone production, decreases prostate cancer risk, Alzheimer’s disease and is involved in blood clotting (see Sources).

Vitamin E promotes cardiovascular health, cognition, reduces the risk of osteoarthritis, wrinkles and cataracts (see Sources).

Vitamin A helps promote health immune system and vision (see Sources).

The mineral manganese is important for metabolism. Calcium, magnesium, potassium and selenium promote a healthy heart and lower the risk of high blood pressure. Selenium along with zinc promote a healthy immune system and are involved in the production of hormones. Selenium is also important in preventing thyroid disease, premature aging, inflammation, and cancer. Selenium and phosphorus prevent cognitive decline. Zinc also plays a role in proper digestion. Phosphorus is also important for healthy bones and teeth, DNA and RNA production, kidney waste removal, and muscle recovery after workout (see Sources).

Copper promotes healthy skin and hair, prevents osteoporosis, arthritis and cancer, and plays a role in iron absorption (see Sources).

Iodine, which scientists have found in green peas but not green beans, prevents thyroid disease, promotes healthy skin, hair, energy level and fetal development (see Sources).

Molybdenum, another mineral found in green peas but not in green beans, is important in nervous system development, energy production, nitrogen synthesis, waste removal and decreases risk of cancer (see Sources).

Silicon, which scientists have found in green beans but not in green peas, strengthens bones, skin connective tissue and prevents thinning hair (see Sources).

Antioxidant phytonutrient beta-carotene along with lutein and zeaxanthin, found in both legumes, reduce risk of inflammation and cancer, promote healthy skin, vision issues, especially age-related, and brain function. Additionally, the coumestrol found exclusively in green peas seems to prevent stomach cancer. And phenolic acids ferolic acid and caffeic acid prevent inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and type 2 diabetes. In green beans, the carotenoid neoxanthin and xanthophyll violaxanthin, which are biosynthesized from zeaxanthin, show evidence of antioxidant ability (see Sources).

Green peas and green beans proteins promote satiety, decrease appetite, team up with fiber to slow down digestion, regulate blood sugar, and promote bone and muscle mass (see Sources).

Omega-3 fatty acid prevents inflammation and heart disease, while omega-6 fatty acid prevents rheumatoid arthritis, and treats nerve pain (see Sources).

The Pioneer Woman Makes Green Bean Casserole

Nutritional Content in Green Peas and Green Beans

NUTRITIONAL CONTENT
GREEN PEAS
GREEN BENAS
Fiber (soluble & inslouble)
7.58 g (grams)
4.00 g
Protein
7.38 g
2.36 g
Vitamin A
1103.4 IU (International Units)
875.0 IU
Vitamin B1
0.36 mg (milligrams)
0.09 mg
Vitamin B2
0.21 mg
0.12 mg
Vitamin B3
2.78 mg
0.77 mg
Vitamin B6
0.30 mg
0.07 mg
Vitamin C
19.56 mg
12.13 mg
Vitamin K
35.68 mcg (micrograms)
20.00 mcg
Choline
40.91 mg
21.13 mg
Copper
0.24 mg
0.07 mg
Iron
2.12 mg
0.81 mg
Magnesium
53.72 mg
22.50 mg
Manganese
0.72 mg
0.36 mg
Potassium
373.30 mg
182.50 mg
Zinc
1.64 mg
0.31 mg
Iodine
2.75 mcg
NA
Molybdenum
6.98 mcg
NA
Chromium
0.69 mcg
2.04 mcg
Silicon
NA (not available)
7.0 mg
Omega-3
0.03 g
0.11 g
Omega-6
0.11 g
0.07 g
Alpha-carotene
30.30 mcg
0.00 mcg
Beta-carotene
647.42 mcg
525.00 mcg
Lutein & Zeaxanthin
3571.9 mcg
886.3 mcg
Coumestrol
10.0 mcg
NA

Quantities based on one cup of cooked green peas and one cup of cooked green beans (see Whole Foods websites in Sources).

Side Effects of Green Peas and Green Beans

Despite the many health benefits of green peas and green beans, there are possible side effects. They both contain phytic acid and lectins, which disrupt digestion and mineral absorption. Bloating and gas can occur. And since they are vitamin K-rich, individuals on blood thinners may want to avoid consuming them (see Sources).

Conclusion

Do green peas and green beans differ in their nutritional content? No and yes. They are both members of the legume family, so their nutritional profiles are only slightly different. Adding either vegetable to your diet will provide a myriad of health benefits.

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Sources

Welden, Norman F. “Domestication of Pea (Pisum sativum L.): The Case of the Abyssinian Pea,” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5915832/

“Green peas,” https://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php/genpage.php?pfriendly/=1&tname=foodspice&dbid=55

“Green beans,” https://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=134

“What Are Green Beans Good For?” https://foodfacts.mercola.com/green-beans.html

“Green peas nutrition facts,” https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/green-peas.html

Paddon-Jones, D, et al. “Protein, weight management, and satiety,” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18469287

Bonjour, JP. “Dietary protein: an essential nutrient for bone health,” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16373952

Promintzer, M, Krebs. “Effects of dietary on glucose homeostasis,” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16778578

Sigal, Eilat-Adar, et al. “Nutritional Recommendations for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention,” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3798927/

Mudryi, AN, et al. “Nutritional and health benefits of pulses,” 5/6/17, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25061763

Levy, Jillian, CHHC, “What is Choline? Benefits, Sources, & Signs of Choline deficiency,” 5/11/18, https://draxe.com/nutrition/what-is-choline/

Martin, KR. “Silicon: the health benefits of a metalloid,” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24470100

Rowles, Alexandra, RD. “Why Molybdenum Is an Essential Nutrient,” https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/molybdenum

Elliott, Brianna, RD. “Why Green Peas Are healthy and Nutritious,” https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/green-peas-are-healthy#section8

Ware, Megan, RDN, LD. “Everything you need to know about iodine,” 2/2/15, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/288471#risks

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Beverley Byer

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    • beverley byer profile imageAUTHOR

      Beverley Byer 

      17 months ago from United States of America

      Thank you for commenting! I appreciate the feedback!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      17 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for the facts. I like both green peas and green beans. Great to know the differences, similarities and nutritional content.

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