Looking for a healthy snack? Pea-based snacks are gaining in popularity

Running out of ideas for a healthy snack for you and your children? Try peas or pea-based snacks.

This alternative snack is gaining supporters in Europe, where people are looking for other sources of food that will nourish and keep them healthy in-between meals. Peas, which come from an annual plant, show a lot of promise as a rich source of protein and over-all nutrition.

“Peas can lend flavour, nutrition, and a point of differences to snack mixes, while also showing strong potential to stars as flavoursome snacks in their own right,” global food and drink analyst Julia Buech says.

She has one caveat, though. Peas are not necessarily known for their fantastic flavor. So manufacturers of pea snacks must find ways to make it more palatable to consumers.

This hasn’t kept Europeans from “seeing pea,” however. A survey by market research company Mintel shows that 13 percent and 24 percent of German and Italian consumers, respectively choose peas as their alternative source of protein. The same holds true for 14 percent of the Spanish and Polish respondents who joined the survey.

No wonder food manufacturers are sitting up and and taking notice. Buech observed that peas have leveled up from a “predominantly back-label existence” to a leading role. And new market launches are proofs of this. Data show that pea-based snacks introduced in Europe from November 2016 to October 2017 focused on its protein content. This is a far cry from market launches of the same products in 2013 to 2014, when protein content made up only five percent of marketing campaign.

It’s easy to see why peas are no longer dark horses in the highly competitive snacks industry. In fact, this power food is emerging as the new star in the snacks category.

Why peas?

  •  They keep your weight down – Peas are low in fat but high in nutrition. A cup has less than 100 calories, but is packed with protein, fiber and micro-nutrients. (Related: Green peas: Surprisingly good souces of phytonutrients and protein.)
  • They prevent stomach cancer – Peas are rich in the polyphenol called coumestrol. A study in Mexico City showed that the body needs only two milligrams of coumestrol per day to guard against stomach cancer. A cup of peas has at least 10.
  • You look young, feel great, and have lots of energy – Peas are rich in anti-oxidants like flavonoids, carotenoids, phenolic acid and polyphenols.
  • They prevent Alzheimer’s, arthritis, bronchitis, osteoporosis, and candida – Peas fight inflammation that has been linked to heart disease, cancer, and aging.
  • They regulate your blood sugar – Peas are rich in fiber and protein that retard the rate at which the body digests sugar.
  • They’re good for your heart – Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds in peas enhance blood vessel health. Peas are also packed with vitamin B1 and folate, B2, B3, and B6, which protects the heart from illness.
  • They’re good for the environment, too – Peas work with soil bacteria to “fix” nitrogen in the air and put it in the soil. This lowers the need for artificial fertilizers who main ingredient is nitrogen. Once the peas are harvested, the plant breaks down easily and becomes an organic soil fertilizer. In addition, peas need only a small amount of moisture, and don’t use up water resources.
  • They make going to the bathroom easy “pea’-sy, nice and easy – Fiber-rich peas supports bowel health.
  • They support bone health – A cup of peas has 44 percent vitamin K, which helps keep calcium in the bones. Peas also have B vitamins that prevents osteoporosis.
  • They lower levels of bad cholesterol – Niacin in peas helps reduce production of bad cholesterol (triglycerides) and raises the level of good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein or HDL).

Next time you go grocery shopping, check out the peas in the shelves. They not only cost less, they’re  richer in nutrients compared to those fancy snack foods that promise instant energy but not nutrition to keep you healthy and strong.

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