Health Benefits of Green Peas ‘Matar’

Finding its origins in central Asia and the Middle East, Green Peas ‘Matar’ truly became widely popular only after the 16th century. Though a legume, Green Peas ‘Matar’ is considered a vegetable and most of the preparations are also done accordingly. 

Known for their easy taste and flavour, green peas have become an integral part of the Indian kitchen. Also known for its pitta soothing health benefits, matar has been part of traditional Indian medicine. A whole lot of research is also going into finding the other health benefits, a few of which are mentioned in this article.

Green peas, also known as garden peas or matar are the spherical, tiny, seeds that come from pods produced by the Pisum sativum plant. These peas are green legume seeds found in hard pods. They are mildly sweetish in taste due to the starch content. 


Nutritional facts of Matar

Peas are high in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K and minerals such as rich in minerals, like selenium and zinc. It also contains ß-carotene, flavanols, and lutein-zeaxanthin.

As per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, 1 cup of cooked green peas, weighing approximately 160 gm contains 134 cal, 0.4 gm of fats, 4.8 mg of sodium, 25 gm of carbohydrates, 8.8 gm of fiber, 9.5 gm of sugar, 8.6 gm of proteins, 22.7 mg of vitamin C, 2.5 mg of iron, 43.2 mg of calcium, 433.6 mg of potassium, and 187.2 mg of phosphorus.


Potential Health Benefits of Green Peas ‘Matar’

1/5. Manages Blood Sugar Levels

1. The complex carbohydrates present in matar are good for managing blood sugar levels. 

2. As green peas have a low glycemic index which helps release sugar into the blood slowly and helps regulate blood sugar levels.

3. The fiber and protein content of green peas helps prevent the blood sugar levels from rising quickly thus keeps diabetes in control.

4. The amount of magnesium and vitamin B present in green peas helps in reducing the risk of diabetes.


2/5. Promotes weight loss

1. Peas contain low fat and low calories thus, promoting weight loss.

2. The high fibre content in peas helps in weight reduction. Fibre helps in inducing the feeling of fullness.


3/5. Promotes Heart Health

1. The niacin content found in matar decreases the production of triglycerides and bad cholesterol while it increases the good cholesterol.  

2. The high antioxidant content present in green peas prevents the blocking of blood vessels and arteries. 

3. The calcium, potassium, and magnesium content of green peas helps in preventing high blood pressure. 

4. The insoluble fibre content of matar decreases the risk of heart disease and stroke. 


4/5. Improves bone health

1. Vitamin K present in peas absorbs calcium thus, enhancing bone health. Vitamin K prevents arthritis. 

2. The high content of folic acid and vitamin B1 in peas prevents osteoporosis.


5/5. Other possible Benefits…

Matar produces several health benefits, apart from the health benefits mentioned above, it also produces a few more such as prevents wrinkles, prevents Alzheimer’s, prevents constipation, prevents signs of ageing, helps reducedepression, prevents stomachcancer, improves immunity, prevents anaemia. 

Green peas ‘matar’ also promoteschild growth and development, improves digestion, improves eye health, fights inflammation, reduces the risk of cancer,good for skin, increases sperm count and motility, fights inflammation, treats chilblains, promotes glowing skin, soothes burns, and prevents hair loss.

Traditional Indian Medicine system recommends the green pea soup as it is laden with protein, dietary fiber, energy-yielding complex carbohydrates and various other proteins and vitamins. 


How to add Green Peas to the Diet?

The peas have to be shelled out from the pod and rinsed thoroughly before using. The peas are available as frozen, canned, and fresh. They can be used in several dishes in various ways. Some of the ways by which green peas can be used are…

  • Used in soups.
  • In gravies, curries.
  • In pastas and noodles. 
  • Boiled or roasted and used as a snack.
  • Added in rice.
  • Added to green salads.
  • Sauté with different vegetables. 
  • Added to chicken, or chicken salad.

How to prepare Matar Pulao?

Take 1 big cup of basmati rice and rinse it with plain water and strain off the excess water. 

Take 1 cup of green peas and peel them and wash them with water. 

Take 1 medium-sized chopped onion.

Heat a pressure cooker and add 1 tablespoon ghee to it.

When the ghee gets hot, add 1 bay leaf (tej patta) and saute it till it turns slightly red.

Then add ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, 3 cloves, and 1cardamom to it.

As the cumin seeds crackle, add the green peas to it. Add a pinch of salt so that the green peas can cook easily. 

Stir for few seconds and then add the basmati rice to it.

Add salt as per taste to it, mix well and stir for a few minutes.

Add 2 cups water to the cooker, cover the cooker and cook the pulao for 1 whistle.e

After one whistle, turn off the flame and wait for the cooker to cool down.

Later, serve the delicious matar pulao.

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