Monday 6 July, 2020

Botanical Roots: Why you should eat pigeon peas

Dried pigeon peas (iStock)

Dried pigeon peas (iStock)

As Christmas Day approaches, many Caribbean people will include rice and peas in their Christmas dinner.

However, pigeon peas are much more than just a traditional Christmas must-have, they're filled with a range of health benefits and should be consumed regularly in order to reap those benefits.

Scientifically labelled as Cajanus cajan, pigeon peas (Jamaicans call them gungo peas) is also known as Angola pea, Congo pea, no eye pea, Puerto Rico pea, among other names in other parts of the world.

Domesticated in India 3,500 years ago, the pigeon pea is one of the most important food legume crops which grow in the tropical and subtropical climates.

It is a drought-tolerant and warm-weather crop that is an excellent source of magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and potassium.

Pigeon peas have been shown to reduce blood constriction and also lower blood pressure. Persons who suffer from hypertension should eat it regularly.

The high protein content of these peas assists with growth and development. It is essential for the formation of cells, tissues, muscles and bones. It also assists in the healing process and cell regeneration in the body.

Consuming pigeon peas also helps to stave off anaemia and the seeds, leaves and peas are used to treat inflammation due to the presence of organic compounds. The mashed pigeon peas paste is used as a treatment for piles which is known as haemorrhoids.

Because of its low calorie, cholesterol and saturated fat content, pigeon peas are a perfect food to promote weight loss and due to the presence of Vitamin B, Riboflavin and Niacin, consuming the peas assists in preventing fat storage and boosts energy levels.

Eating pigeon peas also boosts the body’s immune system and promotes a healthy heart.

Pigeon peas are rich in dietary fibre which is essential for maintaining digestive health. It also reduces constipation, cramping, bloating and diarrhoea. 

Pigeon peas are also a good treatment for eliminating parasitic body worms and is also known as a cure for jaundice, bronchitis and lung disease.

Some of the content for this article was taken from

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