Snap peas, also known as sugar snap peas, are one of the first vegetables ready for harvest each year. The snap pea is a cross between standard peas and snow peas that first came about in 1979, as a tasty, crunchy hybrid.
Snap peas are a fresh, refreshing vegetable that can be added to a variety of recipes or eaten raw. They are easy to grow in pots or with trellises. Best of all, these plants offer a variety of health benefits that make them a great addition to most diets.
The vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in snap peas can provide important health benefits. For example, vitamin C is important for helping your body heal from injuries and maintain healthy blood vessels and muscles. Consuming enough vitamin C can also help improve your immune system over time.
Snap peas are also full of potassium, which is an important mineral for maintaining a healthy heartbeat and kidney function, as well as playing a key role in muscle contraction.
In addition, snap peas can provide other health benefits like:
Snap peas are an excellent source of vitamin K, which plays an important role in keeping your skeletal system strong. Vitamin K helps process calcium and adds it to your bone cells. This can help prevent bone problems like osteoporosis and bone fractures. Vitamin K is also important for helping your blood clot effectively and can help your body heal more quickly.
Snap peas are also a great help for your immune system. They are rich in beta-carotene and vitamin A, which are important for the growth of immune cells. Vitamin A helps your body protect itself from invading bacteria and viruses by supporting the growth and proliferation of your immune cells. Furthermore, the vitamin C in snap peas can help boost your immune system by supporting healthy blood cells, especially white blood cells.
Snap peas are full of dietary fiber, especially if you eat the pods. Insoluble dietary fiber can help feed the “good” bacteria in your digestive system, acting as a prebiotic. This helps keep your digestive system healthier and more efficient. It’s also an excellent way to add bulk to stool because it doesn’t break down in your stomach, potentially helping to relieve constipation. Finally, dietary fiber may also help reduce your risk of certain forms of cancer.
Snap peas are rich in folate, which is important for your body to maintain healthy cell division and DNA duplication. Physicians recommend that anyone who is or may become pregnant consume at least 400 mcg of folate daily, as it plays a key role in avoiding birth defects.
Snap peas are also an excellent source of:
Nutrients per Serving
One serving of snap peas (about 3/4ths of a cup) contains:
- Calories: 40
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fat: Less than 1 gram
- Carbohydrates: 9 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Sugar: 3 grams
Things to Watch Out For
Snap peas are an excellent source of dietary fiber, but eating too much fiber can also cause stomach distress. In some cases, eating too much fiber can lead to gas, bloating, or abdominal pain. While adding fiber to your diet is beneficial in many ways, it’s important to add fiber slowly to allow your intestinal system to adjust. This is particularly true for people with conditions like IBS.
How to Eat Snap Peas
Snap peas are in season in the spring, so you can find them at their freshest from April to June. However, they can be found in grocery stores frozen or shipped from warmer climates all year long. Fresh snap peas should be crisp and make an audible snap when broken in half. The entire pod can be eaten, but many people prefer to remove the string that runs from the stem down the center of the pod.
Here are some ways you can include snap peas in your diet:
- Add snap peas to salad
- Grill snap peas as a side
- Mix snap peas into a stir fry
- Roast snap peas alongside other vegetables
- Eat snap peas fresh
- Pickle snap peas