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Are Green Peas Good for Diabetes? Glycemic Index and Benefits
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Are Green Peas Good for Diabetes? Glycemic Index and Benefits

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Written by Brenda Peralta, R.D. | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on November 11, 2022
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4 min

Green beans are part of the legume family. This means they might be high in carbs, making you wonder if they are good for diabetes. Here, we explore if green peas are good for diabetes and 4 benefits of why to include them.

Are Green Peas Good for Diabetes
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Most people think green peas are a starchy vegetable, but they are within the legume family, with similar characteristics to beans, chickpeas, and lentils. 

Green peas are high in fiber and nutrients like vitamin C, manganese, vitamin K, folate, and vitamin A – essential to help control blood sugar and keep the body healthy. 

So should you add green peas to your diet if you have diabetes, and will they affect your blood sugar levels? Let’s find out. 

Are Green Peas Good for Diabetes?

Yes, green peas are an excellent food for managing diabetes. Whether fresh or frozen, they are high in dietary fiber and protein, two nutrients that make glucose have a steadier release. A more controlled release won’t create a massive sugar spike.

One of the benefits of green peas is that they are high in fiber. One cup of green peas (145g) has 8.3g of fiber, representing 33% of the daily recommended intake. Fiber acts as a glucose buffer. It can grab some of the glucose found in the blood and excrete it. 

In fact, in a study, those who consumed a high-fiber diet had a reduction of 10% in their glucose levels. It also helped decrease their cholesterol and triglyceride levels. 

How Do Green Peas Affect Blood Sugar?

Green peas have carbs, which means they might raise blood sugar. Nonetheless, since they have a low glycemic index as well as a high fiber and protein content, they won’t have as much impact as rice or potatoes

Pea protein can slow down the absorption of high-carb foods. Since green peas are high in protein, they can release glucose slowly, preventing it from spiking. 

With that said, they are still a source of carbs, so if you want to prevent them from rising more, you can add another high-protein food like salmon or a high-fiber food like eggplant to have better blood sugar control. 

Keep in mind that garden sweet peas have a 20–30% higher sugar content compared to green peas or snow peas. For that reason, try to avoid them if you have diabetes. 

Green Peas Nutritional Value per 100g

Green peas are high in nutrients the body needs to stay healthy. 

Additionally, one benefit is that it is high in pea protein. For those following a plant-based diet, this can help achieve the protein requirements without relying too much on animal products. 

The following table provides the nutritional information per 100g of green peas

Net CarbsTotal CarbsFatsProtein
8.7g14.4g0.4g5.42g
CaloriesFiberSugarsGlycemic Index
815.7g5.67g22

Green Peas Glycemic Index

Green peas have a low glycemic index of 22, which means you can control blood sugar more. Anything with a GI below 55 is considered a low GI food. Thanks to its high fiber and protein content, it allows glucose to be released slowly. 

With that said, how you cook green peas can affect the GI. For example, adding a healthy fat while cooking them (like olive oil) can decrease the GI even more. 

Can’t think of how to incorporate green peas into your diet? For healthy yet delicious recipes for those with prediabetes or diabetes, try downloading the Klinio app. It offers a personalized meal plan, quick workouts, and a health tracker.

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Make sure to avoid adding foods with a GI greater than 69 since they can hugely impact your blood sugar levels. 

4 Benefits of Green Peas for Diabetes

Green peas are high in nutrients and can provide several benefits to your health. Here are a few you can receive if you add this food to your diet. 

#1 Source of fiber

Green peas are an excellent source of fiber, and one cup has 33% of the recommended daily value. A high-fiber diet can help decrease the risk of constipation and help you have better bowel movements. 

Although the recommended fiber intake is 25g for women and 38g for men, research shows that most people don’t have an adequate amount. Therefore, adding green peas to your diet might help you meet that daily requirement.

#2 Good for heart health

Thanks to their high fiber content, green peas are excellent for the heart. 

Studies have shown that a high-fiber diet can decrease cholesterol levels and have better blood pressure levels. 

Make sure to control the amount of salt you add when you cook green peas since sodium can increase blood pressure. Stay within the recommended guidelines of less than 2,300mg of sodium daily. 

#3 Might lower bad cholesterol

Green peas can help lower bad cholesterol. 

First, green beans don’t contain any cholesterol. So, this is the perfect food to add if you are on a low-cholesterol diet. 

Second, fiber can help catch some of the blood cholesterol and remove it from the body. Studies have shown that high-fiber foods can decrease LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides. 

#4 Helps to regulate blood sugar

Finally, green peas can help regulate blood sugar levels due to their fiber content. 

Overall, fiber can help decrease blood sugar levels. It catches sugar molecules and removes them when you go to the bathroom. 

Keep in mind that when you increase your fiber intake, increase your water consumption, too. Otherwise, it might actually cause some constipation. 

A Word From Our Nutritionist

Green peas are excellent for those with diabetes. 

They are a good source of fiber and plant-based protein. They are also high in nutrients like vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin K. You can use them as a side dish along with protein and some non-starchy vegetables.

You can have them fresh or frozen. If you buy them frozen, ensure that the only ingredient is green peas and that the sodium content is low (below 150mg). 

If you want to try something new, green pea pancakes are an excellent way to add them to your diet.

Mix green peas, cottage cheese, oatmeal, and eggs in a blender. Place the mix on a pan and make them like ordinary pancakes.

Conclusion

So, can you add green peas if you have diabetes? Yes! They are a good source of fiber and protein that can help you have more controlled glucose levels. 

They are high in nutrients and can help you have health benefits like controlled glucose, lower bad cholesterol, and decreased risk of heart disease.

HR_author_photo_Brenda
Written by
Brenda Peralta ist eine eingetragene Ernährungsberaterin für Health Reporter. Sie hat mehrere Zertifizierungen in den Bereichen Sporternährung und weibliche Hormone. Zudem hat sie Berufserfahrung als Fruchtbarkeitsberaterin, Gesundheitscoach und Darmspezialistin.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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