Are Peas Good for Diabetes?

Last updated on November 7th, 2023

It is critical for every diabetic patient to follow a strict and balanced diet. This helps in preventing any abrupt spikes in blood glucose levels. For this reason, people with diabetes should carefully assess each food item on their plate and add more foods that regulate blood sugar. Green peas or matar are beneficial for people with diabetes for various reasons.

It is one of the most well-accepted ‘desi veggies’. People use peas in numerous Indian dishes as they are such versatile and simple food. Even though peas are a winter veggie, these days, they are available throughout the year. People may add green peas to diverse dishes to augment their nourishment.

Pea History

Peas are derived from the Middle East and Central Asia. It is one of the first crops cultivated by humans. People consumed peas formerly in their dry form. Till the 16th century, they were not consumed in fresh form. Canada is the major producer and exporter of peas. However, other big peas producers are Russia, the United States, China, France, and India.

Peas fall under the legume family. This implies they’re close cousins of lentils, black beans, and chickpeas. Green peas are legumes that people consume in their fresh and dry forms.

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Types of Peas

Types of Peas

There are several types of peas, such as:

Green Peas:

These are commonly found in several varieties, such as Garden Sweet Peas and Spring Peas. The pod is uneatable in many diversities of green peas. People must cook green peas before eating.

Snap Peas:

Snap peas are considered the sweetest peas. People consume both peas and pods in raw or cooked forms. The pods are expected to be plumper than other varieties of peas.

Snow Peas:

Snow peas contain a flat, eatable pod and are also referred to as sugar peas. People eat or cook these snow peas.

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Pea Nutrition

If a person has diabetes, they must have heard that peas are a “starchy veggie”. Meanwhile, non-starchy ones include green beans or broccoli. Peas comprise a higher number of carbs in comparison to other veggies. Thus, peas are usually counted as a carb choice per serving in a diet. According to the USDA, below is the nutrition breakdown of 1 cup serving of green, raw peas:

  • Calories: 117 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 20.9 grams
  • Fiber: 8.26 grams
  • Protein: 7.86 grams
  • Fat: 0.58 gram


Peas contain rich amounts of vitamins C and E, zinc, and other antioxidants that act as strong immune boosters. Other nutrients like vitamins A and B help lower inflammation and reduce the risk of diabetes, heart problems, or arthritis.

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Pea Protein

Research has found that the protein present in peas is a “high-quality” one. It consists of both essential and nonessential amino acids (comparable to a protein present in soya or eggs). Consequently, pea protein has recently emerged in food items and protein supplements. This is because pea protein comprises arginine, an amino acid that helps build muscle and boosts energy. Moreover, as per the Cambridge University Press & Assessment pea protein contains amino acids, including:

  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Isoleucine
  • Glutamine
  • Valine

These amino acids are found to support a healthy digestive tract. Also, a study by the ACS Publications conducted on rats who had pea protein exhibited that it assisted in reducing blood pressure.


Pea protein is vegan, indicating that it is free of animal products. Furthermore, it is a great option for individuals hypersensitive to soy, eggs, or milk protein. People utilise this protein instead of eggs in baking.

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Uses of Pea Protein

People also include pea protein in:

  • Cereals
  • Snacks or energy bars
  • Poultry items like meat
  • Frozen desserts.

In addition, it comes in powder form. Important Advice: Before hopping on to the pea protein bandwagon, it’s better to discuss with a doctor prior to using it or any type of protein supplement, particularly in case of kidney or liver disease.

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Pea Benefits

Pea Benefits

Below are some of the benefits that peas deliver:

Antioxidant And Anti-Inflammatory

According to WebMD, green peas contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that guard against cardiac problems and skin cancer. These antioxidants are catechin and epicatechin (also present in green tea). Peas also comprise omega-3 fatty acids like ALA, or alpha-linolenic acid, which are useful in combating inflammation. Lowering inflammation is vital to disease prevention, particularly for chronic ailments like heart disorders and T2DM.

Diabetes Control

Peas contain carbohydrates; however, they may still be part of a healthy diabetes plan. As per the findings of John Innes Centre, the resistant starch found in peas helps control blood sugar spiked. Moreover, the protein and fiber content of peas helps delay the digestion process. This, in turn, aids in stabilising blood sugar levels post-eating. Peas rank low on the GI scale. The green pea’s glycemic index is 22.

Weight Management

Peas are moderately low in calories and fat and contain rich amounts of protein and fiber. This makes them a great option for any weight-management plan.

Cancer Prevention

Peas comprise a compound named coumestrol, a form of polyphenol. A study by the National Institutes of Health has found that high intake of cinnamic acid can reduce the risk of gastric cancer by upto 50%. A cup of green peas contains around 10 mg of this polyphenol.

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Builds Immunity

Peas contain a good amount of vitamin C, which makes them one of the top immunity-booster foods. As per studies, one serving of peas or snow peas provides ½ of the daily needs. Peas, specifically pea shoots, comprise antioxidants called phytoalexins. They are thought to inhibit H. Pylori, the bacterium responsible for the stomach, duodenal ulcers, as well as stomach cancer.

Improves Eye Health

Peas comprise the carotenoids, namely, lutein and zeaxanthin. These nutrients aid in protecting the eyes against chronic disorders like cataracts and AMD or age-related macular degeneration. Lutein and zeaxanthin work as filters from damaging blue light. And this adds to cataracts and macular degeneration.

Good For Skin

According to the Government of Northwest Territories, peas contain Vitamin C which helps improve one’s skin health. Vitamin C helps in collagen production, which aids in keeping the skin firm and glowing. Also, the vitamin guards the cells against impairment due to free radicals. The antioxidants aid in protecting against oxidative damage due to free radicals. The antioxidants present in peas include carotenoids, flavonoids, catechin, epicatechin, and alpha-carotene. All of them aid in preventing ageing symptoms as well.

Good Source of Iron

Pea is a rich source of iron. Iron deficiency is the most prevalent reason for anaemia. If a person lacks enough iron, their body fails to produce enough healthy O2-carrying RBCs. Hence, it results in haemoglobin deficiency. Iron aids in fighting fatigue and provides strength to a person.


The high amounts of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in peas offer vital benefits ranging from eye health to fighting several cancers.

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Adding Peas to a Diabetes Meal Plan

The simple reply to this query “is peas good for diabetes ?” is yes! Particularly if a person adheres to fresh peas. People must avoid canned peas (with extra sodium and preservatives). Frozen peas can also be a better option than canned peas.

People may ask why consume peas if most of their calories come from carbs. People also ask that peas are a starchy veggie, so should we avoid them?

Well, starchy veggies comprise a greater number of carbs. The quick reply to this query is a bit more complex, but here it goes.

Calories are not the only problem to consider. But, yes, around three-fourths of the calories in peas are derived from carbs. However, the carbs are complex and not simple. Also, when people consume peas, they consume fiber. And fiber helps delay the absorption of carbs. Hence, peas would not give that increase in normal blood glucose levels, and glucose would take a long time to get liberated.

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Benefits of Green Peas for Diabetics

There are several reasons why green peas good for diabetes :

Low in Calories:

One 100 gm serving of green peas contains nearly 81 calories (according to the USDA). Low-calorie food products are thought to be vital for diabetics, as obesity is a risk factor for T2DM. Moreover, weight gain in people with high sugars makes it even more difficult for them to regulate their levels.

Rich In Fibre:

One 100 gm serving of green peas consists of 14.4 gm of carbs, including 5 gm of fiber (according to the data by USDA). Fiber is the most vital nutrient for people with high sugars. This nutrient plays a major role in blood sugar and blood pressure control. This is due to the fact that its digestion in the body is slow, hence it releases blood sugar gradually. Hence, avoids any spikes.

High in Potassium:

A lack of potassium might augment the risk of diabetes. As a result, this mineral is essential for people inclined to this condition. Green peas consist of 244 mg of potassium per 100 gm. This amount might be beneficial for people with diabetes. Furthermore, potassium is vital for maintaining blood pressure levels.

Contains High Protein:

One 100 gm part of green peas comprises around 5.42 g of protein. Protein is a fulfilling nutrient that helps control hunger pangs. Moreover, protein plays a key role in weight management, which is vital for people with diabetes.


Green peas comprise carbs, but they may still be part of a diabetes diet. The fiber and protein present in peas slow digestion. Also, they aid in smoothing out the glucose levels after eating and peas are low on the GI scale with a score of 22.

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How to Enjoy Peas for Diabetes?

Spring is the most excellent time to enjoy fresh peas. The season is quite short; hence, people must gain benefits from them. People must always opt for fresh peas containing shiny, firm, and bright green pods. It is always better to consume fresh peas immediately. However, if one can’t, people may keep them in a refrigerator for some days. Peas are wonderful (after getting lightly steamed), but one may include them in garden salads and pasta dishes, as well. Additionally, people can mix a handful of peas in their chicken or tuna salad. It is a nice colour as well.

People also add peas as a side dish (for instance, cooked green peas), raw in salads, or as a snack. They also cook pea soups or stews. Thus, fresh peas are always the best choice. It is better to go for peas with shiny, bright green pods.


So, can diabetic patients eat peas? Absolutely yes but in moderation. Even if peas are a powerhouse of nutrients, they also contain rich amounts of carbs. Thus, one must be cautious of not taking peas in excess (or, not exceeding one’s starch intake). Remember to have only a half-cup serving to gain all the peas benefits.

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FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)

Can I eat peas daily?

Eating peas on a daily basis is not recommended, as they have a high GI and may increase glucose levels when consumed in excess.

Are peas a good option over corn?

Both peas and yellow corn contain rich amounts of potassium and dietary fiber. Peas contain more thiamin, riboflavin, and folate. Yet, yellow corn comprises more pantothenic acid. Also, peas contain more Vitamin C than corn.

How many peas are safe for a day?

It is good to keep the portion sizes of peas reasonable. This indicates one-third or 117 grams or half a cup (170 grams) of green peas. They tend to cause problems when consumed in high amounts.

Are peas safe for kidney health?

Studies have found that proteins in the common garden pea offer a natural remedy against chronic renal problems and high blood pressure.

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 


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