Green Peas: A Vitamin Powerhouse

This springtime favorite is loaded with vitamins A, B-1, B-6, C, and a supersized serving of osteoporosis-fighting K.

Medically Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD on February 26, 2007
From the WebMD Archives

Sweet, chubby peapods on the vine announce the start of the spring growing season. Reach for a handful and make a dent in your daily dose of vitamin requirements. This green legume is loaded with A, B-1, B-6, C, and a supersized serving of osteoporosis-fighting K. One cup of boiled green peas has 46% of your RDA of vitamin K-1, known for maintaining bone health and helping blood to clot to prevent bleeding. Peas are high in fiber and low in fat and contain no cholesterol. Plus, they're a good source of vegetable protein.

Did you know that a 100-calorie serving (about 3/4 cup) has more protein than 1/4 cup of almonds or a tablespoon of peanut butter? No wonder peas were favored by the ancient Egyptians, who buried them in their tombs for use in the afterlife. Were you the kind of kid who pushed them, uneaten, around your plate? It's time to reconsider this vitamin powerhouse. Give peas a chance.

More K on the Way

Other vitamin K-packed foods include cauliflower and beans, as well as green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and cabbage.


Minted Peas in Lettuce Cups

Makes 8 servings

2 cups fresh peas, or 10 ounces frozen peas

1 onion, minced

2 ounces unsalted butter

1/3 cup fresh mint, chopped

1 teaspoon sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

8 Boston lettuce leaves, washed

  1. If using fresh peas, blanch in boiling water for 5 minutes, then plunge them into cold water to stop cooking. If using frozen peas, defrost.
  2. Sauté onion in butter until caramelized, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Add peas, mint, sugar, salt, and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes or until hot.
  4. Spoon peas into lettuce cups and serve warm.

Per serving (not including salt to taste): 89 calories, 2.2 g protein, 7.3 g carbohydrate, 6 g fat, 3.6 g saturated fat, 16 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 99 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 61%.