Snow peas, a variety of pea, are eaten whole while the peas are still in the pod. Unlike regular peas, the pods of snow peas do not contain inedible fibre meaning that they are more palatable and not meant to be discarded. The name “snow peas” may come from the vegetable’s ability to withstand frost. It has been proven that the pods of snow peas are a source of good nutrients. Erick Musengimana, a nutritionist at Rwanda Diabetes Association, says in most cases, it’s hard to differentiate snow peas from normal peas. He says it’s important to understand that these are nutritious and surprisingly flavourful vegetables that are used in the preparation of different dishes, and for this reason, understanding their potential health benefits is important. Due to their vitamin C, vitamin K, and fibre content, snow peas offer various health benefits, including reduced heart disease risk, improved blood pressure control, gut health, and weight loss. In terms of nutrient content, Musengimana says snow peas are packed with vitamin A, Vitamin, iron, and potassium among others. Studies, he says, show that these pods are also very low in calories, with slightly over one calorie per pod. They also lack cholesterol, making them a filling, yet nutritious dietary component. He notes that these delicious pods have been established to be high in dietary fibre and densely packed with valuable nutrients. “Due to this, it makes them quite filling, and they have an extremely low level of fat and calories whereby the fibre will help when it comes to the digestive system and improve the metabolic speed, further helping with weight loss efforts,” Musengimana says. Still on digestion, Musengimana says with snow peas, there are suitable levels that help optimise the digestive processes. He says it’s evident that fibre can stimulate peristaltic motion, improve nutrient uptake efficiency, and reduce inflammation in the gut that can lead to stomach discomfort. Joseph Uwiragiye, the head of the nutrition department at University Teaching Hospital of Kigali (CHUK), says the high levels of dietary fibre in snow peas help control blood sugar levels. Normally, fibre is a type of carbohydrate, but it regulates the glucose and insulin levels in the body. This is particularly important for people with diabetes who need to watch their intake of simple sugars and closely monitor their blood sugar levels to prevent sudden spikes and drops. With a significant amount of potassium and vitamin C, Uwiragiye says these peas can help protect the heart in various ways. For instance, he says potassium can help reduce blood pressure and minimise the strain on the cardiovascular system, while vitamin C can induce repair efforts on blood vessels and arteries, thus lowering the risk of coronary heart diseases. Also, he notes that vitamin C is one of the most important nutrients in the diet, as it can help to stimulate the production of white blood cells, an important line of defense for the body’s immune system. “This will lower your susceptibility to various infections and foreign pathogens in the body,” Uwiragiye says. Musengimana says vitamin A is a critical element in vision health and consuming snow peas helps prevent oxidative stress in the retina. This means a lower risk of macular degeneration and a slowdown in the development of cataracts.