For some people, the most interesting thing that they remember about peas is in one scene of
Cartoon Network’s animated series, The Powerpuff Girls. In this early episode, Supper Villain shown in
1999, the new next-door neighbors are invited to the girls’ for dinner. The neighbor, Harold, then
orders, “Eat your pea, Professor!” in what now is one of the most famous – and funniest – scenes of The
Powerpuff Girls. It is a memorable scene because The Professor, a grown man, tried in an excruciating
way to eat and swallow one small pea.
A lack of information makes peas much maligned and there is much to clear about them. Like
The Professor, there are people who find it difficult to eat their vegetables. But unknown to many, peas
(and lentils) are two of the healthiest foods on the planet. They may be small in size, but they are a
powerhouse when it comes to diet and nutrition.
Dried peas, lentils, and chickpeas are called ‘pulses’. These are their seeds and members of the
legume family that are packed with protein, fiber, anti-oxidants, calcium, and iron. According to the US
Dry Pea and Lentil Council of the USDA, pulses are everything on one plate: they deliver great flavor
that’s not only nutrient-dense, but also gluten-free with low allergen and low glycemic responses. They
are one of the greatest additions to any diet, but especially for those who are diabetic, those who have
heart problems, and those who are trying to lose weight.
Legumes use nitrogen from the atmosphere to make protein. They are a valuable equivalent to
animal protein but have the added benefit of being low in fat and less in calories. In comparison, a 6 oz.
cut of steak provides 40 g of protein, but also 38 g of fat (14 g saturated fat) while a cup of cooked lentils
gives 18 g of protein and only 1 g of fat. This is not surprising, considering lentils are the third-highest
sources of protein, by weight, of any legume or nut (next only to soybeans and hemp).
Protein is an important cell builder of the body. It is crucial in building muscle and tissue, the
parts of your body you need to move and lead an active lifestyle. When choosing sources of protein, it is
essential to select lean, nutrient-dense food like beans, nuts, and whole grains. Dried peas and lentils
are available everywhere, any time of the year, and so offer one of the most inexpensive sources of
Fiber is important because it helps clean out one’s digestive system. Along with an adequate
intake of liquids, fiber flushes out unwanted toxins from the body. Soluble or dietary fiber reduces the
risk of developing many diseases and conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and constipation. And
because fiber-rich foods fill one up quickly, there are less calories consumed.
Fiber is found mainly in legumes, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The more you eat, and the
more active you are, the more you need fiber. Here are the recommendations for adults of the Institute
of Medicine regarding daily fiber intake:
Age 50 or younger:
Men 38 grams
Women 25 grams
Age 51 or older:
Men: 30 grams
Women: 21 grams
*Institute of Medicine, 2012
Peas and lentils provide one of the highest amounts of fiber. A cup of cooked split peas gives
16.3 g of fiber, while a cup of cooked lentils has 15.6 g of fiber. To compare, the traditional source of
fiber, cooked oatmeal, contains 4 g of fiber.
Peas and lentils like beans and other legumes are rich in phytochemicals. These antioxidants
help in defending the body against the effects of free radicals, and slow down aging and breakdown of
body processes. Studies show that a diet high in antioxidants from fruits and vegetables is linked to a
reduced risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
These are just a few of the health benefits from consuming peas and lentils. Considering how
small they are, it is easy to dismiss them as a good source of nutrients but studies from all over the
world show that peas and lentils are two of the healthiest foods one can eat.
In the Philippines, Easycook brand of US No. 1 grade peas, lentils, and beans are the highest
grade. These are best in quality – they have bright uniform color, uniform size (for even cooking), and
have no visible defects like cracked seed coats and foreign materials. In other words, the more uniform
the color and size, the higher their grade will be. They meet specifications and standards set by the
USDA for both growers and consumers, and for local and international consumption, and these US No. 1
grade peas and lentils are the only ones provided by Easycook.
Easycook peas, lentils, and beans are what Filipinos need for a fit and healthy lifestyle as they
are rich in protein, fiber, antioxidants, folate (iron), and calcium. Easycook variants include yellow and
green split peas, lentils, great Northern beans, pinto beans, and light red kidney beans and are available
in leading supermarkets like SM, Shopwise, Rustan’s, Landmark and Cash & Carry.
On December 21, 2013, recipes creatively using peas and lentils were demonstrated by Filipino
master chef Ojie Reloj at a media event. Chef Ojie is an architect by trade so he knows to meld function
and beauty while emphasizing the importance of using local resources, which he also does in his
cooking. Some of the recipes he loves include Lentils a la Mongo (prepared the same way as mongo,
using lentils as a healthy mongo replacement), Lentils or yellow split peas empanaditas, and Lentils and
Pesto Macaroni Soup.
Because of their high nutrient content, peas and lentils are recommended for everyone. They
are the smart alternatives for a healthy and robust lifestyle. This is one of the best health advices: eat
your peas, love your lentils!
Easycook peas, lentils, and beans are distributed in the Philippines by Ideal Macaroni and
Spaghetti Factory Inc. For more information, please go to their website http://www.idealmacaroni.com