Black-eyed peas help protect against metabolic syndrome

A few weeks ago, I shared my version of a recipe for Hoppin John with you, made with nutrient-packed black-eyed peas. Black-eyed peas get their name from their appearance — ivory-coloured with a little black spec that resembles an eye.

And although their name suggests that they are a type of pea, black-eyed peas are in fact legumes (or beans). Black-eyed peas are a good source of protein, especially if you follow a vegetarian diet. Just half a cup of dry and cooked black-eyed beans gives you 6.7 grams of protein, which supports muscles growth and helps maintain healthy-looking skin, hair and nails.

Apart from being a rich source of protein, they are also packed a good source of soluble fibre, which helps to keep blood sugar levels in check – especially important for those suffering with type 2 diabetes. Soluble fiber also binds to cholesterol and carries it out of the body. It protects you from several intestinal disorders as well. One cup of black-eyed beans supplies 21 per cent of daily intake of fiber to men, and 32 per cent to women.

In addition, black-eyed peas are also packed with other wholesome nutrients like vitamin A, folate, iron, magnesium, zinc and copper. They’re also full of natural antioxidant compounds called polyphenols. Recently, French researchers found that a diet rich in polyphenols can help alleviate symptoms of metabolic syndrome — a cluster of health conditions or characteristics that include obesity, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

All of these are known to significantly raise your risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes and when they exist together, these conditions can form a perfect storm for chronic and deadly diseases.

In their study, the researchers examined the effects of polyphenols on different features of metabolic syndrome, and found that different types of polyphenols improved different symptoms of metabolic syndrome.

Now, a diet rich in polyphenols on its own won’t do much to combat metabolic syndrome but when combined with regular exercise and an all-around and balanced healthy diet, you’re onto a winning recipe.

If you want to incorporate black-eyed peas into your diet, why not head over to our recipe section to see how to make a delicious bowl of Hoppin John. Other delicious examples of polyphenol-rich foods include green tea, citrus fruits, dark leafy greens, brightly coloured berries, dark cocoa powder, and cinnamon.

You can also find plenty of cell-protecting, inflammation-busting polyphenols in red wine.

To a healthier life,

Thomas Smith