The sugar snap pea is a hybrid of green peas and and snow peas, according to the California Department of Public Health. It is a relatively new food, having been developed in 1979 to meet consumers’ demand for edible-pod peas that are sweeter and larger than snow peas. Because the pods of green peas are difficult to chew, sugar snap pea pods were bred with their fibers going in one direction, making them easier to chew. Sugar snap peas are high in vitamins and a reliable source of fiber, adding nutrition, color and texture to your meals.
If you are trying to lose weight or maintain your current weight, sweet, crunchy sugar snap peas can be beneficial. They have 35 calories per 3-ounce serving, which is about 1 cup. They provide 2 grams of protein, no fat, 3 grams of natural sugar and 2 grams of fiber. Add them to your salad, pasta or stir-fry to infuse a refreshing flavor into your dish without adding excess calories and fat. The fiber will help keep you feeling full and reduce your temptation to snack between meals.
A 3-ounce serving of raw sugar snap peas provides 50 milligrams of vitamin C, more than half the recommended daily intake for that antioxidant nutrient. It is also a rich source of some B-complex vitamins, giving you nearly half the niacin and one-tenth of the folate you need each day, boosting your intake of these nutrients that help your body convert food to energy. It gives you one-fifth of the vitamin K you need, ensuring that your blood clots properly and supporting your bone health. Boiled sugar snap peas have 40 milligrams of vitamin C and about the same amount of niacin, folate and vitamin K as raw sugar snap peas.
Sugar snap peas provide a modest amount of minerals that can supplement your diet. Each 3-ounce serving of raw sugar snap peas has 1.75 milligrams of iron, 20 milligrams of magnesium, 45 milligrams of phosphorus and 168 milligrams of potassium, giving men and women 5 to 10 percent of their recommended daily intake for these minerals. A serving of sugar snap peas provides 20 percent of the iron men need daily, but only about 10 percent of the iron a woman needs each day.
Storage and Antioxidant Levels
Sugar snap peas are rich in antioxidants, but storage methods and duration can change the antioxidant content in the peas and in the pods, according to researchers from Spain and Germany, who published a study in “Journal of Experimental Botany” in 2009. When they stored sugar snap peas at room temperature, they found that the antioxidant activity in the seeds was diminished, but the antioxidant activity in the pods doubled. Overall, they concluded, the total antioxidant levels decrease with prolonged storage. Buy fresh sugar snap peas and use them promptly to get the maximum antioxidant benefit from them.