Sugar Snap Peas Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

sugar snap peas nutrition facts and health benefits
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

The name, "sugar snap peas" may sound like a sugary treat, but these plump peapods are actually a non-starchy vegetable. Sugar snap peas are easy to grow, and lots of fun to eat. With a good balance of fiber and protein, sugar snap peas won't cause spikes in blood sugar levels. Sugar snap peas provide several health benefits that shouldn't be underestimated.

Sugar Snap Peas Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 1/3 cup of sugar snap peas (85 grams).

  • Calories: 35
  • Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 4mg
  • Carbohydrates: 6g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sugars: 3g
  • Protein: 2g

Carbs

A 1 1/3 cup serving of sugar snap peas has 6 grams of carbohydrates, half of which come from natural sugar, along with 2 grams of fiber. Sugar snap peas are classified as a non-starchy vegetable, meaning they don't significantly raise blood sugar.

Fats

Sugar snap peas are a fat-free food unless they are prepared with added fats or dipped in high-fat dressing.

Protein

Sugar snap peas have 2 grams of protein per 1 1/3 cup serving. Although they don't offer complete protein, sugar snap peas have more protein than many other vegetables.

Vitamins and Minerals

Sugar snap peas provide vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, calcium, and potassium.

Health Benefits

Sugar snap peas are a non-starchy vegetable with a lot to offer. Here are some ways to benefit from sugar snap peas.

Prevents Constipation

Women need about 25 grams of fiber a day, while men need 38 grams. Sugar snap peas contain both soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Getting enough fiber promotes regularity by adding bulk to the stool and moving food through the digestive tract. Trading processed snack foods for sugar snap peas is a great way to get more fiber in your meal plan.

Helps Control Blood Sugar

The American Diabetes Association recommends at least 3–5 servings of vegetables per day, minimum. Non-starchy vegetables, including sugar snap peas, are especially beneficial. Due to their high phytonutrient content and fiber (which keeps blood sugar stable) sugar snap peas are a wonderful snack for managing diabetes.

Promotes Heart Health

Sugar snap peas have several nutrients associated with cardiovascular benefits. For instance vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants in the human body. The vitamin C in sugar snap peas decreases inflammation in blood vessels that can lead to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

Sugar snap peas also provide potassium, which is known to reduce blood pressure. Furthermore, the soluble fiber in sugar snap peas lowers cholesterol levels. On many levels, sugar snap peas are good for the heart.

Supports Weight Loss

Sugar snap peas are a non-starchy vegetable that can help with weight loss. To feel full and get adequate nutrition while losing weight, experts suggest loading more than half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables, like sugar snap peas. Cooked or fresh, sugar snap peas are useful for healthy weight maintenance.

Aids Eye Health

Sugar snap peas are a modest source of plant-based carotenoids known as lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which act as concentrated antioxidants in a part of the retina known as the macula. In people with macular degeneration, an aging-related disorder that can lead to irreversible vision loss, the increased intake of foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin may help slow progression of the disease. 

Allergies

Allergies to sugar snap peas may be indicative of an overall legume allergy. Some people are allergic to all legumes (beans, peas, lentils, and peanuts) while others are only sensitive to specific foods. Symptoms of a sugar snap pea allergy can include hives, lip swelling, wheezing, and vomiting. Ask your doctor for a full evaluation if you suspect an sugar snap pea allergy.

Varieties

Sugar snap peas are similar to snow peas. You can eat the pods on either vegetable. The main difference is that sugar snap peas are more plump, while snow peas are flat.

There are several varieties of sugar snap peas. Some examples include Sugar Bob, Premium, Super Sugar Snap, Cascadia, Amish Snap, and Sugar Ann. See you farmer's market for local varieties, or try going your own at home.

When It's Best

Sugar snap peas can tolerate cold weather and light frosts. They are usually planted in early spring and harvested about 60 days after planting. You can find them at farmer's markets in late spring and early summer.

Storage and Food Safety

Always buy pea pods that are bright green without any yellowing or speckled areas. They should be glossy and appear to be near-bursting. Do not buy sugar snap peas that are dull or have loose peas rattling around inside them.

Old snap peas tend to be stringy; you can tell by breaking off the stem. If there are fibrous strings attached to the stem bud, the pods are probably near the end of their shelf life.

Store whole snap peas in a perforated plastic bag in the crisper of the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. If you can eat them right away after purchasing, they'll be at maximum sweetness. Always wash snap peas under running water before eating or cutting into them.

Sugar snap peas can be frozen for later use. After washing them, remove stems and strings. Blanch whole snap peas for 1 1/2–2 minutes (larger pods need more time). Cool and dry them. Freeze sugar snap peas 1/2 inch apart and seal.

How to Prepare

You can eat sugar snap peas raw or prepared them by steaming, stir-frying, or blanching. You can tell a snap pea is overcooked when it loses its bright color and turns a pea soup green. You can season them with herbs and spices or simply a dash of olive oil, salt, and pepper.

You can give your snap peas Asian-inspired twists by tossing them into a bowl of soba noodles and dressing them with toasted sesame oil, sesame seeds, chopped scallions, and a dash of light soy sauce. 

If eaten raw, you can snap peas as a dipper instead of chips and crackers or cut them into bite-sized chunks for salads and slaws.

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Article Sources
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