I’m going to start this article by saying that I love pea shoots and everything about them. I love how they crunch, taste, and pack a nutritious punch.
So, if this article comes off as a little one-sided, it’s because it probably is!
With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s get into the meat and potatoes of this article, or maybe a more appropriate term would be, the vitamins and minerals of this article.
What Are Pea Shoots?
Pea shoots are the young, tender vine tips of green or garden peas.
They are generally 2” to 6” long and have a mild ‘pea pod’ flavour and crisp, light texture.
Are Pea Shoots Healthy?
Yes! Freshly harvested pea shoots are rich in vitamins and minerals.
A single cup (approx. 100g) of these bad boys is low in calories and relatively high in protein.
Take a look at the complete nutritional profile below, including the recommended daily allowance (RDA) where applicable.
- Total Fat (incl. trans fat and saturated fat): 0g
- Cholesterol: 0g
- Sodium: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 8g
- Dietary Fiber: 3g / 16% RDA
- Sugars: 0g
- Protein: 2g
- Vitamin A: 2% RDA
- Vitamin C: 50% RDA
- Calcium: 4% RDA
- Iron:10% RDA
These values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
As you can see, incorporating pea shoots into your diet will provide a significant boost to your vitamin C and iron intake, without providing excessive calories.
The fibre serving is also pretty high considering the serving weight.
How Nutritious Are They?
Pea shoots are an excellent source of fibre and vitamin C. They are also a good source of iron and folate.
Pea shoots also contain calcium, folic acid, and vitamins A and K, but in lower amounts.
A single cup can provide you with 50% of your daily recommended vitamin C allowance.
This is a good thing as vitamin C can help protect an immune system that is depleted by stress, smoking, excessive alcohol ingestion, or obesity.
Vitamin C can also reduce the risk of infections and pneumonia when suffering from the common cold.
As well, health professionals recommend you get your vitamin C from foods that are raw or lightly cooked, making pea shoots the perfect choice!
In addition, they help prevent iron deficiency, and therefore anemia by providing a significant boost to the body.
A single cup offers 10% of the daily allowance of iron.
When combined with a balanced diet, pea shoots could ensure that your iron levels remain at optimum range.
Did I mention that they are also high in protein? Well, they are!
By weight, they are one of the best veggie sources of protein.
A single cup (which is pretty small and easy to consume) contains 2g of protein, the equivalent of about ⅓ of an egg.
Protein is the building block of all tissue in the body, so it’s essential to keep intake levels up, no matter what type of diet you are following.
As if that wasn’t enough, pea shoots are a rich source of phytoestrogens as well.
Phytoestrogens are plant-derived compounds often promoted for their ability to lower breast cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis.
The scientific research behind phytoestrogens is increasing each year.
In older subjects with high cholesterol, an increased intake of phytoestrogens could improve heart health, bone health, and may reduce the risk of carcinogenesis inside the body.
This can help to prevent various forms of cancer from forming or progressing.
Anti-cancer research for phytoestrogens is particularly promising, with researchers finding that the anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties could inhibit cancer on a cellular level.
The fiber that is present in pea microgreens is also a known cancer fighter.
Current research has been highly positive, showing that women who eat a fiber-rich diet are at a lower risk of developing breast cancer.
Are Pea Shoots Healthier Than Peas?
Honestly, both peas and pea shoots are really healthy for you.
- Both peas and pea shoots are high in Vitamin C and dietary fiber.
- Peas have more thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid.
- Peas are a great source of potassium.
- Pea shoots have 51% fewer carbohydrates than peas.
- Pea shoots have 57% fewer calories than peas.
As you can see, both peas and pea shoots have lots of vitamins and minerals to offer. The main difference is that pea shoots contain fewer carbs and calories than their pea counterparts.
From their abundance of vitamin C, iron, fibre, protein, and phytoestrogens, pea shoots provide amazing benefits to those who eat them.
Consuming them regularly will help provide essential nutrients without drastically increasing your caloric intake.
And honestly, they taste awesome raw and go well with almost any dish, making them a simple, healthy addition to any diet.
Have you ever tried pea shoots? Let us know in the comments below.
Kathy & Jon
Your Friendly Neighbourhood Growers