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The Tiny Food With Big Bone-Building Benefits

peas-osteoporosis

Here in the U.S., “eat your peas” is an expression that’s often used by politicians or educators when they want us to do some unappetizing but necessary task. And every time I hear “eat your peas” used in this manner, I’m astonished that such a delicious legume is used to symbolize everything unpleasant but “good for you.” With their clean fresh sweetness, green peas are one of my favorite veggies, and after reading this and trying my recipe, it may become one of your favorites too!

So here’s my plea to all who would malign the humble green pea – please stop and take another look at the wonders of this amazing little morsel. Peas are indeed “good for you,” but they’re far from unappetizing.

Full of Foundation Supplements

How do peas stack up in the bone health department? They are alkalizing and contain a healthy helping of the following vitamins and minerals, all of which are Foundation Supplements listed in the Save Our Bones Program:

Vitamin K. Just one cup of peas gives you 36 mcg of vitamin K1 and thus, a good chunk of the Recommended Daily Allowance. You can read more about this powerhouse nutrient in ‘Vitamin K: Your Osteoporosis Knight in Shining Armor’.

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that’s crucial for the production of collagen, and one cup of peas provides almost 20 mg.

B Complex. The B vitamin family has a broad scope of action involving energy, mental functions, and proper nerve functioning, and studies have shown that Vitamins B6, B12, and folate (the naturally occurring form of synthetic folic acid or B9) are involved in the chemical reactions that convert homocysteine into other amino acids. A single cup of peas gives you 22% of your folate requirement, 15% of your B6 requirement. It also provides 24% of your daily B1 requirement, 12% for B2, and 14% for B3.

Manganese is an important trace mineral necessary for the synthesis of connective tissue in cartilage and bone. One cup of peas provides 36% of your daily requirement.

Magnesium is a crucial mineral involved in over 300 essential body reactions, including protein synthesis, and it’s closely linked to calcium absorption and bone health. One cup of peas provides almost 54 mg of this often forgotten but very important mineral.

Copper and Zinc. Because it is active in an enzyme that produces connective tissue proteins, collagen and elastin, copper plays an important role in the development and maintenance of blood vessels, skin, bone, and joints. Along with zinc, copper is part of an antioxidant known as superoxide dismutase, preventing free radical damage to cells. One cup of peas gives you 12% of your copper requirement and 11% for zinc.

Fat-free Source of Omega-3s

In the Save Our Bones Program, I talk about the importance of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to support bone and joint health, benefit the eyes and skin, maintain fluidity of cell membranes, improve the body’s ability to respond to insulin, reduce triglycerides and increase blood flow.

Most foods that contain omega-3s are high fat foods such as fish oil and flax seeds. It’s “good fat” to be sure, but isn’t it nice to know that green peas, which are almost entirely fat-free, are a good source of omega-3 fats in the form of alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) One cup of green peas contains approximately 30 milligrams of ALA.

Phytonutrients Galore

Phytonutrients are potent antioxidant compounds in plants that promote health. In the Save Our Bones Program I discuss a few that have been scientifically shown to help increase bone density. Peas contain several beneficial phytonutrients:

Coumestral, a polyphenol that has been studied for its reputed ability to protect the stomach lining from damage. One cup of peas contains more than 10 mg of coumestral, well over the amount needed to provide this protective benefit.

Saponins, a class of compounds which, in combination with other phytonutrients in peas, are associated with a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Phenolic acids, including caffeic and ferulic acids, both of which are effective free-radical scavengers.

Carotenoids, the two vitamin A precursors alpha- and beta-carotene.

Buying and Serving Peas

If you can find fresh green peas (sometimes called English peas), that’s great! But they’re hard to find and not available in many locations, so your best bet is frozen peas, and if possible organic. Don’t worry about nutrient loss – peas are frozen very shortly after they’re picked. For the sweetest peas, look for “petite” or “petits pois,” which are the youngest, most tender peas.

Preparation couldn’t be simpler – just heat and serve. I love to toss peas in salads and stir-fried dishes. I also add them to soups, or just serve them as a side dish with a sprig of fresh mint.

Don’t confuse garden or green peas with sugar/snap peas or snow peas (flatter peas with edible pods), both of which are delicious in their own way but are not as nutrient rich as the humble green pea.

So, “eat your peas”… and enjoy them! And here’s one of my favorite ways to enjoy peas:

The A-Pea-Ling Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 cups frozen peas, thawed
6 ounces of sliced water chestnuts
1 cucumber, chopped
½ cup plain, unsweetened yogurt
2 tsp. dry mustard
¾ tsp. dill (fresh or dried)
½ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. sea salt

Directions

Combine peas, water chestnuts, and cucumber in a bowl.
Mix the yogurt, mustard, dill, salt, and pepper in a bowl or jar.
Add the yogurt dressing to the pea salad mixture and toss.
Chill and enjoy!

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40 comments. Leave Yours Now →

  1. Keziah Grey October 24, 2013, 1:03 pm

    Hi Vivian, I followed an advert about ethylenediaminetetracetic acid, an amino acid (EDTA) which was attached to one of your articles. EDTA is capable of removing plaque and toxins and improving health in an inordinate number of ways very efficiently by binding rogue calcium and other minerals and metals. However, I am concerned that, because of the way it works, it will work against all the supplements I am taking to rebuild my bones. I am also wondering about safe dosage.

    Would it be possible for you to look into this and let us know? There is so much information on the internet about this, but I am not able to do the necessary research, and need someone with more knowledge behind them than I have! I would very much appreciate your help – I am very interested to try this, as I feel it might help improve bone health and so many other important areas besides, but need to know how to incorporate it without having a detrimental affect on the rest of your program.

    Many thanks.

  2. Diane August 30, 2013, 2:04 am

    Thank you for the information in the Save Our Bones Program.
    Having broken my hip in March and spending 5 days in hospital after 3 pins were inserted.—-I am in pain on and off most of the day. Having returned to my Dr. today to be told that the hip ligament is no more and that I would most probably need a hip replacement. Is there any hope for me to avoid this?
    Would be interested in your reply
    Thanks Diane

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA August 31, 2013, 8:16 am

      I am sorry to hear about your fracture, Diane! As you know, I am not a doctor, and I am not familiar with your health history; therefore, I can’t say whether or not surgery is advisable. I will tell you, however, that there are some things you can do to enhance fracture healing.

      First, it’s important to make sure that sufficient bone and collagen building minerals are available, such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, boron, manganese, and copper. Vitamin K and D3 are also very important, as well as B12 (preferably taken with the rest of the B complex) and Vitamin C. Also, some antioxidants (lycopene and polyphenols) help build new bone. Maintaining an alkaline body pH is also very important. And all these recommendations are also applicable to the prevention and reversal of bone loss.

      I wish you a speedy recovery, and best wishes moving forward regardless of what you decide!

  3. Ann June 20, 2013, 2:05 pm

    I enjoyed the article about peas being good for bones. i did try to make the recipe and am wondering if the pepper amount is correct. It seemed like way too much and was extremely peppery. When I saw the amount of pepper, i did cut down on the salt. Please check the recipe. thank you.

  4. Ita March 12, 2012, 4:47 pm

    Thank you.Ita

  5. Sue February 29, 2012, 4:40 pm

    Please let us know if dried peas are bone friendly. My husband loves to make soups containing dried peas, both green and yellow.

  6. LESLIE February 25, 2012, 3:22 pm

    Hi! Vivian,

    I’ve Always Loved Peas, But I Never Knew They Were So Good For Your Bones! And I Really Love Your A-Pea-Ling Salad Recipe!

    Thank You VERY MUCH For Sharing This Topic With Us!

    LOVE, MS. L. (LESLIE)

  7. Joyce February 24, 2012, 2:14 pm

    I love peas. I also love pea soup which also inlcudes yellow peas. Would this soup be a bone builder?

  8. Dhruba Kasaju February 24, 2012, 4:22 am

    Thanks Ms. vivian,

    Its a great news on the peas potentialities. What about the neutrition after it is coocked or boiled? Should we eat it raw in our green salad only?

    With best regards,
    Dhruba

  9. Gloria February 23, 2012, 11:39 pm

    I enjoy peas and will try your recipe, looks good!

  10. Joan February 23, 2012, 7:03 pm

    I eat peas that you steep over night would they have the same effect as frozen ones thanks love all the comments.

  11. Ian Blair Hmailton February 23, 2012, 6:10 pm

    Aren’t peas high carb?

  12. suzan February 23, 2012, 6:06 pm

    thanks vivain always u give us good information

  13. Shula February 23, 2012, 4:55 pm

    Great to know that peas are so great, never knew this. Thanks, Vivian. Shula

  14. Sandra February 23, 2012, 2:35 pm

    I love receiving all your tips Vivian. It makes me feel so much more in control of my own health. My bone density increased by 4% last year and I am hoping that will improve more this year. More importantly all the things that you mention are good…..I absolutely love so I trust my body to do the right thing!!

    Many many thanks for all your wonderful help.

    Sandra
    UK

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA February 23, 2012, 3:45 pm

      I’m so pleased to hear about your progress, Sandra – congratulations! Continue to trust in your body and keep up the great work. :)

  15. Kelsey Fickling February 23, 2012, 2:05 pm

    THANKS AGAIN FOR SOME GREAT (AND EASY TO USE) INFORMATION VIVIAN. I’M SURE THAT YOU HAVE TOLD US IN THE PAST HOW GOOD PEAS ARE FOR OUR BONES. I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO MY NEXT BONE SCAN – I’M SURE I’M GOING TO FIND A GREAT RESULT – I FEEL GOOD – MY FINGERNAILS ARE LOOKING GOOD TOO – SO I’M HOPING THAT MY BONES ARE AS WELL !! MANY BLESSINGS – KELSEY – AUSTRALIA.

    • Doug February 23, 2012, 10:29 pm

      That’s great. Be sure and tell us how it turns out.

  16. Pat February 23, 2012, 1:38 pm

    I love peas. They’re my favorite veggie next to carrots. When I was a kid and we lived on the farm and our mother couldn’t find us kids during the summer she knew to look in the garden (especially the pea patch). We’d pick them right off the vine and eat them raw. Then use the pods as boats.

  17. Arlene Stevens February 23, 2012, 12:25 pm

    I love green peas and my bones thank you as do I who had forgotten just how great they were. Arlene

  18. therese February 23, 2012, 12:23 pm

    thank you very much for your interesting information.It’s very helpfull for what to prepare for food

  19. Sharon February 23, 2012, 11:58 am

    Is it safe to eat frozen peas without cooking them? I bought some frozen veggies not too long ago and noted on the package that they should be cooked before eating.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA February 23, 2012, 3:48 pm

      Yes, Sharon, it’s safe to eat frozen peas without cooking them (they should be thawed first, of course). As Pat says, fresh peas are wonderful raw, fresh off the vine, so there’s no problem at all with frozen peas.

  20. John February 23, 2012, 11:17 am

    Perhaps the presidential candidates have a recipe for whirled peas.

  21. Diane Martinson February 23, 2012, 11:04 am

    I make a soup with split peas and some other vegetables but use a chicken broth base but assume it’s still good for my bones because of all the vegetables, are the dried split peas the same as fresh or frozen peas?

  22. Sandy February 23, 2012, 9:37 am

    FROZEN English peas are an awesome
    Snack for kudos and want-to-be kids.

    Full a plastic cup before dinner and have the kids think they are snacking. They are not only delightfully cold, they are sweet. Yum

  23. Bev February 23, 2012, 9:28 am

    Do canned peas have any bone helping nutrients????

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA February 23, 2012, 3:50 pm

      Canned peas lose a lot of nutrients. In addition, there’s no comparison in taste — canned peas taste absolutely nothing like frozen or fresh peas! :)

  24. Allison February 23, 2012, 9:10 am

    I love Peas!!! My favorite dish is peas & onions. As a kid my aunt used to brown onions in a bit of Olive Oil, then put the peas in and warm them…..I still love it…Will try your recipe, thanks for sharing. Allison

  25. anne uk February 23, 2012, 8:15 am

    Vivian I would like to know if plain low fat yogurt( organic) is ok to eat instead of ordinary organic yogurt. thank you

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA February 23, 2012, 3:51 pm

      Hi Anne – Any plain, unsweetened yogurt is fine.

  26. Joyce E Hall February 23, 2012, 6:22 am

    Hi vivian “Peas” I don’t ever eat peas. I ate Pea Salad as a young person and liked it. My mother fed us every vegetable known to man, woman or child. Veggies were cheap and she had soooo many of us *(13) to feed. I use frozen peas in a plastic bag to apply to Boo Boos. It works great to bring down the swelling of a bump or bruise. But I’M not a great fan of PEAS. I will try your dish as I do try most of your recomendations. Eating certain things and especially Veggies has been so good. Thanks, JHall

  27. Carol February 23, 2012, 5:57 am

    I just love green peas and buy fresh every week from our local market.
    I eat them out of the pod and my Pomeranium loves them too. Unfortunately she insists I share them with her. Never knew they were so good for you. I actually crave them from time to time and buy extra.
    Expensive treat but so what!
    Carol

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA February 23, 2012, 3:53 pm

      Yes, green peas are absolutely wonderful right out of the pod – you’re very fortunate to have access to fresh peas! And I hope you can teach your little friend to share with you. :)

  28. LynnCS February 23, 2012, 4:50 am

    Now I know why I always have loved my peas. High in proteins too aren’t they? Last Mothers Day, My adult son gave me a card with a picture of a mom cooking something green. The saying was “you will eat your peas, and you will like them!” LOL!! I think I probably did say something like that to those poor kids back in the day. Good to hear I was right now that they are forever scarred. ;)

  29. ellen holmes February 23, 2012, 4:29 am

    STRONTIUM–I seem to recall reading a negative statement from you quite a while ago about the supplement strontium. Other than that negative comment from you, I’ve read only very good things about the protective effect of strontium on bones. Dr. Nan Fuchs (“Womens’ Health Letter”) is a huge fan of strontium. I’ve read about studies showing that strontium greatly increases bone strength and thickness and prevents fractures.

    What are your latest thoughts on strontium?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA February 23, 2012, 3:56 pm

      You recall correctly, Ellen – I don’t recommend supplemental strontium. Read Strontium Demystified for all the details.

    • Dolores February 23, 2012, 12:00 pm

      I would be interested in Vivian’s answer to your question as well. I too receive Dr. Nan Fuch’s newsletter so am also confused about this issue. Clinical trials seem to support it as a fracture prevention.

      • susan February 25, 2012, 11:01 am

        You know, it just depends on what studies you choose to believe. It’s all conflicting, everybod has their opinion, but I see more positive than negative about strontium. I am following Vivian’s plan, but I’m also taking strontium with no side effects and am hoping for the best on my next Dexa. I need all the help I can get.

        • Joy February 25, 2012, 2:39 pm

          I, too, see more positive studies than negative on strontium. I do follow Vivian’s plan, but also take strontium with no side effects. My last bone density test showed much improvement.

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