Nutrition, Uses, Benefits, and Downsides

Wasabi peas are known for their crisp texture and spicy taste. They are a popular snack in Japan and around the world.

Wasabi peas are dried and roasted green peas covered in a mixture of oil, salt, sugar, and wasabi, a thick paste with an intense flavor.

However, despite its growing popularity, many people may wonder if this spicy snack is healthy and whether or not it can fit into a balanced diet.

This article looks at the nutritional content of wasabi peas, along with the potential benefits and downsides.

Wasabi peas contain a small amount of protein and fiber in each serving. They also provide important nutrients, including manganese, thiamin, copper, and vitamin K.

A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of wasabi peas contains the following nutrients (1):

  • Calories: 121
  • Carbs: 17.5 grams
  • Sugar: 4 grams
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Fat: 4 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Manganese: 15% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Thiamin: 14% of the DV
  • Copper: 14% of the DV
  • Vitamin K: 12% of the DV
  • Folate: 10% of the DV
  • Niacin: 9% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 9% of the DV
  • Zinc: 8% of the DV
  • Sodium: 4% of the DV

Wasabi peas are particularly rich in manganese, an essential mineral that acts as an antioxidant to help prevent oxidative damage to the cells (2).

They also provide thiamin, a B vitamin that plays a key role in energy metabolism, growth, and development (3).

Additionally, they contain about 14% of the recommended DV for copper, which is important for producing connective tissue and certain neurotransmitters in the brain (4).

However, note that wasabi peas are relatively high in carbs, with nearly 18 grams in a single ounce (1).

Some commercial varieties may also be high in sodium or added sugar, though this can vary depending on the specific brand and the amount of sugar and salt used to make the coating.

summary

One serving of wasabi peas supplies important nutrients, including protein, fiber, manganese, thiamin, and copper. They are also relatively high in carbs and may be high in added sugar or sodium, depending on the specific brand.

Thanks to their nutrient profile, wasabi peas may be associated with several potential health benefits.

Supports digestive health

Wasabi peas contain a good chunk of fiber in each serving, packing 1 gram into a single ounce (28 grams) (1).

Fiber moves slowly through the digestive tract and adds bulk to the stool to promote regularity (5, 6).

Some research suggests that fiber can increase stool frequency and improve stool consistency in people with constipation (7).

Increasing your fiber intake may even protect against several other digestive issues, including hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, and colorectal cancer (5).

Wasabi peas can bump up your fiber intake to help you meet your needs. According to the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans, daily fiber requirements range from 22-34 grams per day, depending on your age and assigned sex at birth (8).

Rich in antioxidants

Green peas are a great source of antioxidants, which can help neutralize harmful compounds known as free radicals (9, 10).

In particular, green peas contain specific antioxidant compounds such as (11, 12):

  • ellagic acid
  • beta-sitosterol
  • p-coumaric acid
  • naringenin
  • quercetin
  • luteolin
  • apigenin

In addition to fighting oxidative damage caused by free radicals, antioxidants can decrease inflammation and protect against chronic conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease (13, 14).

Not only that, but some test-tube studies suggest that certain compounds found in peas may possess anticancer properties and could help slow the growth of cancer cells, though more research is needed (12).

May help stabilize blood sugar levels

Wasabi peas are a good source of protein and fiber, two nutrients that can help support healthy blood sugar levels.

In fact, fiber can slow the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream to prevent spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels after eating (15).

Meanwhile, protein can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce insulin resistance, which may also be beneficial for promoting blood sugar control (16).

Furthermore, wasabi peas contain a good amount of manganese, which may be linked to a lower risk of diabetes and prediabetes (17, 18).

However, keep in mind that some commercial varieties may contain a high amount of added sugar and carbohydrates per serving, negating the beneficial effects of fiber and protein on blood sugar control (19).

Be sure to check the ingredients label carefully, or try making your own wasabi peas at home to keep your intake of added sugar in check and maximize the potential benefits.

summary

Wasabi peas are rich in disease-fighting antioxidants and contain nutrients that could support digestive health and help stabilize blood sugar levels. However, some varieties may be high in added sugar and cause spikes in blood sugar.

Though wasabi peas can be a great addition to a balanced diet for most healthy adults, there are some possible downsides to consider.

For starters, wasabi peas are often spicy, which may trigger acid reflux or heartburn for some people (20).

Additionally, some people may be allergic to green peas and may need to avoid wasabi peas altogether (21, 22).

Plus, some commercial varieties use wheat flour. Therefore, those following a gluten-free diet should read the ingredients label carefully and opt for a certified gluten-free brand.

Keep in mind that peas also contain antinutrients, which are compounds that can interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients in the body (23).

However, wasabi peas are cooked and processed before consumption, significantly reducing the number of antinutrients (23).

While all green peas are starchy, and therefore already a source of carbs, some commercial varieties of wasabi peas may be very high in carbs and added sugar depending on the type of coating used (24).

In addition to causing fluctuations in blood sugar levels, consuming high amounts of added sugar could contribute to several chronic conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and liver problems (19, 25).

Certain brands may also be high in sodium, increasing blood pressure levels for some people (26).

Finally, note that wasabi peas are relatively high in calories, with around 121 calories in a single ounce (28 grams) (1).

For this reason, it’s important to moderate your intake, especially if you are trying to reach or maintain a moderate weight.

You may also want to check the ingredients label and opt for a brand that is lower in sodium, carbs, and added sugar, or try making your wasabi peas at home.

summary

Some people may need to avoid wasabi peas or moderate their intake, including those who are allergic, are prone to acid reflux, have high blood pressure levels, or are trying to reach or maintain a moderate weight. Green peas also contain some antinutrients, though this amount is reduced by cooking.

You can find wasabi peas at many grocery stores and online retailers.

You can also try making homemade wasabi peas using ingredients like dijon mustard, dried peas, rice vinegar, and grated wasabi or wasabi powder.

Wasabi peas can be enjoyed as a simple snack or used to add a kick of flavor to a variety of other dishes.

For example, wasabi peas are a great addition to homemade trail mix or paired with other ingredients like nuts, seeds, or dried fruits.

They also work well sprinkled over salads, stir-fries, and soups to bring a bit of crunch to your favorite recipes.

Alternatively, try crushing wasabi peas and using them as a coating for chicken or pork, either alone or combined with breadcrumbs, almonds, olive oil, soy sauce, or spices.

summary

Wasabi peas can be enjoyed as is for a simple snack or added to homemade trail mix, salads, stir-fries, and soups. You can also crush them and use them as a coating for chicken or pork.

Are wasabi peas a healthy snack?

Wasabi peas provide several important nutrients, including protein and fiber, and can be a great addition to a balanced diet.

However, they also contain a good amount of calories, and certain varieties may be high in added sugar and sodium. Therefore, it’s best to enjoy them in moderation.

Are wasabi peas actually peas?

Yes — wasabi peas are made from dried peas, which have been coated in oil and seasonings like wasabi, sugar, and salt.

Where can I buy wasabi peas?

Wasabi peas are widely available at many grocery stores and online retailers. You can also try making your own at home using ingredients like grated wasabi, rice vinegar, dried peas, and dijon mustard.

Wasabi peas are a common snack made from roasted green peas coated in wasabi, salt, sugar, and oil.

In addition to providing some protein and fiber in each serving, wasabi peas also contain antioxidants and may help stabilize blood sugar levels and support digestive health.

They are also a versatile ingredient and can be enjoyed as is or used to add a spicy zing of flavor to various recipes.

Be sure to read the ingredients label and opt for brands lower in sodium and added sugar, or try making your own at home to maximize the potential health benefits.

Next Post

Primary care physicians should demand better technology for patient care

Fri May 27 , 2022
Primary care physicians should demand technology that serves as a benefit, not a barrier, to patient care, said the leader of a leading electronic health record (EHR) company. Kyna Fong, PhD, co-founder and CEO of ElationHealth, spoke about technology, billing and the health care workforce in her keynote address at […]