Various compounds, minerals and proteins in pigeon pea impact health in many ways.
Blood pressure management
One of the key minerals found in pigeon pea is potassium, which plays a number of roles in the body. It is perhaps best known as a vasodilator, able to reduce the constriction of blood vessels and thereby lower blood pressure. For those suffering from hypertension or at high risk of cardiovascular disease, adding pigeon pea to the diet is a wise move.
Growth and development
Pigeon peas have densely packed protein content essential for normal growth and development, as protein is the building block of everything – from cells and tissues to muscles and bones. Protein is also important for normal healing and regeneration of cells throughout the body.
Folate deficiency is closely linked to certain neural tube defects in unborn children and anemia in general. The high levels of folate found in pigeon pea play a dual role of preventing these conditions.
A single cup of pigeon pea provides more than 110% of the daily recommended intake of folate.
Despite being loaded with nutrients, pigeon peas are moderate in terms of calories and very low in saturated fats and cholesterol. Additionally, high levels of dietary fiber help to induce a feeling of fullness, increase the rate of metabolism and ultimately help to manage weight. In fact, most of the nutrients in pigeon peas convert to usable energy rather than stored fat.
The energy conversion of pigeon peas is impressive due to the presence of B vitamins. Niacin, thiamin and riboflavin actively promote carbohydrate metabolism and prevent storage of fat, thus boosting overall energy levels. This is an ideal source of energy for people who live in arid climates, work physically demanding jobs, or deal with unusual climates that deplete energy quickly.
The combination of potassium, dietary fiber and low levels of cholesterol all make pigeon pea a great choice for maintaining heart health. Potassium reduces strain on the heart by lowering blood pressure by balancing out the negative effects of sodium and dietary fiber can help to balance cholesterol levels and prevent atherosclerosis.
Pigeon peas are a rich source of dietary fiber, which is well known to improve digestion and promote regular bowel movements.
Fiber also helps in lowering the occurrence of constipation, bloating, cramping and diarrhea. It can improve the efficiency with which nutrients are absorbed by the intestines, meaning that you get more out of your food!