Peas: Nutrition Facts

Calories in Peas and Their Health Benefits

Fresh green peas
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Peas yield a delicate, sweet flavor and can serve as an attractive addition to salads, side dishes, and main course meals. They are moderate in carbohydrates and provide a good amount of fiber per serving.

The most common type of fresh peas are green garden (English peas) and the French petit pois. They should not be confused with snow peas or sugar snap peas, which are edible pea pods that appear flat and have small green peas inside.

Fresh shelling peas are most readily available both canned and frozen because they lose flavor rapidly after being harvested.

Peak season is April and May, but canned and frozen peas are available all year long.

Peas Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1/2 cup frozen, cooked without added salt (80 g)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 42 
Calories from Fat 3 
Total Fat 0.3g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1g 
Monounsaturated Fat 0g 
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 4mg0%
Potassium 88mg3%
Carbohydrates 7.22g3%
Dietary Fiber 2.5g10%
Sugars 3.7g 
Protein 2.8g 
Vitamin A 34% · Vitamin C 29%
Calcium 5% · Iron 11%

*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Peas are low in calories and contain a small amount of carbohydrate (less than one serving of fruit).One half cup of peas contains 42 calories, 7 grams of carbohydrate, and 2.5 grams of fiber, contributing to about 10 percent of your daily fiber needs.

Health Benefits of Peas

Peas are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, and most of the B vitamins, particularly thiamin (B1).

Thiamin is important in assisting the release of energy from carbohydrates and protein.

Peas are also a very good source of vitamin A, containing 34 percent of your daily needs, and lutein in one-half cup. Vitamin A and lutein are important components of in eye health. In addition, peas are a good source magnesium, phosphorous, iron, zinc, and copper.

They also contain certain phytonutrients, including a polyphenol called coumestrol, which may have special anti-cancer properties, and saponins, which may work with the other phytonutrients in green peas to fight insulin resistance. Both have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Lastly, peas contain the micronutrient molybdenum, which assists the metabolism of proteins, DNA, drugs, and toxins.

Common Questions About Peas

How many calories does pea soup have?

The calories in pea soup will vary depending on whether or not it has been prepared with meat, such as ham or bacon. Generally speaking, one cup of pea soup contains around 185 calories, 4 grams fat, 27 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber, 11 grams protein, and 965 mg sodium. Be mindful when purchasing canned soups, as the sodium content can be very high. When possible, aim to buy low-sodium soup or consider making it on your own.

What are the calories in wasabi peas?

Depending on the maker, wasabi peas contain around 100-130 calories in a one ounce serving. One ounce or thirty grams translates to about a quarter (1/4) cup.

What's the difference between regular peas and split peas?

Split peas can be green or yellow. Green split peas are shelled peas that have been processed.

To make a split pea, the green pea is split and dried. These types of green peas are grown specifically for drying. Split peas act as a type of legume with a fasting cooking time and do not need to be pre-soaked.

Picking and Storing Peas

Around 95 percent of the green peas consumed in the United States are either frozen or canned. This is because they tend to lose flavor after being harvested. If you find fresh shelling peas available for purchase, definitely give them a try.

Choose small, fresh pea pods that are evenly green. They should be plump and moist and not appear yellow.

Cook and serve them as soon as you can—the fresher they are, the better they will taste.

If you can't use them right away, store them in their pods in the refrigerator. Wait to shell them until you cook them.

Frozen and canned peas will stay fresh until their best-by date. If you are using canned peas, be sure to rinse them before use to eliminate some of the sodium. If possible, purchase frozen peas over canned as they will contain no sodium.

Healthy Ways to Prepare Peas

Peas are best made by steaming until tender, but not too soft, cooked al dente. Peas can also be pureed to make dips or used in soups and stews. They are also a great addition to whole grain side dishes, offering a large amount of nutrition in a small serving. 

Recipes With Peas

Peas add flavor, texture, color, and pack in a big nutrition punch. Get creative with your peas and puree them to top your toast, or simply toss them in at the last minute to compliment your meal.

Sources: 

Labensky, SR, Hause, AM. On Cooking: A textbook of Culinary Fundamentals. 3rd ed. Upper Sadle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2003: 633.

Linus Pauling Institute. Micronutrients for Health. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/sites/lpi.oregonstate.edu/files/pdf/mic/micronutrients_for_health.pdf

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