Black-eyed peas can help to improve heart function and LOWER the risk of obesity
Black-eyed peas, botanically known as Vigna unguiculata or cowpeas, are technically not peas but beans. These whitish legumes get their name from the black spot at the center of each bean, a legacy of where it was attached to the pod. To many people, these appear to resemble the pupil of an eye.
Despite their whimsical appearance, black-eyed peas offer serious nutrition. They are a remarkably rich source of essential vitamins and minerals, including folate or vitamin B9. A recent study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that dietary folate intake lowers the risk of cardiovascular (CVD) events and CVD mortality. Let’s see what other gifts these mystical legumes offer to your health.
Black-eyed peas are nutritional powerhouses that protect the integrity of bones
Black-eyed peas have a stellar nutritional profile. Each cup of cooked black-eyed peas contains 5.2 grams of plant-based protein, 8.3 grams of fiber, and minimal fat. The serving also contains 16 percent of the recommended daily amount for calcium, 15 percent of the RDA for potassium, 20 percent for magnesium, and 10 percent for iron.
In addition to providing these bone-building minerals, a cup of black-eyed peas also contributes 37 percent of the RDA for vitamin K, which helps to keep calcium out of the blood and in the bones where it belongs. Incidentally, black-eyed peas also provide generous amounts of vitamin A – important for skin and eye health – and manganese, vital for immune health. There’s no doubt about it: If you’re seeking a food that can help ward off osteoporosis and promote bone density and strength, look no further than black-eyed peas.
Promote heart health, blood sugar balance, and overall health with these unique legumes
The real “big gun” in black-eyed peas’ health-promoting arsenal, however, is their content of folate, with a cup containing over half of the adult RDA. This water-soluble essential vitamin lowers levels of homocysteine, an inflammatory chemical linked with heart disease and strokes. In fact, these and other legumes are a component of the super-healthy Mediterranean diet, which has been linked with heart-protective benefits. In a review published in Clinical Diabetes, researchers found that eating a diet rich in legumes, such as black-eyed peas, may help prevent and manage chronic degenerative illnesses, including cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
The authors cited multiple studies showing that people who ate a cup a day of legumes lowered their A1C, a measure of blood sugar control over time. In addition, they displayed decreases in harmful LDL cholesterol and triglycerides (fats in the blood) – and even experienced reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure. In one particularly revealing study, obese subjects who ate two servings of legumes a day for 18 months reduced their weight, blood pressure, triglycerides, and waist circumference.
Can these tiny warriors help you shed unwanted pounds?
There is some evidence that black-eyed peas and other nutritious legumes act against obesity. According to an older (but still influential) study involving over 1,400 participants and published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, those who regularly ate beans had a 22 percent lower risk of obesity when compared to people who didn’t eat them.
As it turns out, black-eyed peas are a prebiotic food that supplies nutrition for friendly bacteria in the gut microbiome, the community of microbes vital to efficient fat-burning and healthy weight. In addition, black-eyed peas may help with appetite control and help guard against overeating and food cravings. This is because their complex carbohydrates are digested slowly, which allows people who eat them to feel full for longer. Finally, black-eyed peas deliver these metabolic benefits at a very reasonable 160 calories a cup. All things considered, these beans can be a valuable ally on a weight loss journey.
Add hearty flavor to recipes with black-eyed peas
Place the dried beans in a large pot, cover with four inches of cold water, and soak overnight. Then drain, rinse, cover with water again, bring to a boil, and allow to simmer for 40 minutes or until tender. The beans will then be ready to serve as a side dish or for use in recipes.
Black-eyed peas are an indispensable part of the recipe for Hoppin’ John. Traditionally served on New Year’s Day, this rice pilaf dish features smoked, salted meat and black-eyed peas. You can also use cooked black-eyed peas in hummus, tacos, soups, and stews. For a refreshing, tangy summer bean salad, mix the beans with lemon juice, olive oil, and your favorite spices (chili powder and cayenne pepper work particularly well). Then, add walnuts, ripe tomatoes and sunflower seeds.
Of course, one well-known drawback of beans is that their high fiber content can cause bloating and flatulence in susceptible people. But this doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker. Soaking the beans well before cooking them and starting out with small servings before meals may help. Of course, another good tip is to chew your food well. This always helps with digestion.
Packed with high-quality nutrition, black-eyed peas make a great addition to your healthy organic diet.
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