Foods for Health and longevity: Green Peas

by Nils Osmar. Nov. 29, 2022. Medical Disclaimer

I take a lot of supplements, which I’ve written about elsewhere on this website. But I also try to eat foods high in nutrients that support longevity.

Green peas are one of my staples:

  1. They are one of the richest food sources of spermidine. (9.1 mg/cup) (four times the spermidine content of lentil soup)
  2. They’re high in protein (8 grams/cup)
  3. They’re rich in fiber (7 grams/cup)
  4. They’re rich in alpha linolenic acid, an essential omega-3 fatty acid. ALA is necessary for normal human growth and development. Studies suggest that it may decrease the risk of heart disease by helping to maintain normal heart rhythm and pumping and reduce blood clots. (I personally avoid vegetable oils high in ALA, but like getting some from whole foods.) Green peas contain between 50 and 225 mg/ of ALA cup)

What I’m doing:

  • Green peas are one of my staples. I eat them several times a week, mainly for their spermidine and ALA content.
  • Eating a large bowl of green split pea soup, simmered along with some mushrooms, and a little aged cheese on the side, gives me 20 mg of spermidine. (I’m an omnivore, so I’ll often have them along with some ground beef to add a healthy dose of spermine, another beneficial polyamine.)
  • While they are rich in protein, they are low in one of the 9 essential amino acids, methionine. So they are not considered a complete protein and won’t support muscle growth. To remedy this, I’ll often add some mushrooms, a good source of methionine. See article: “What are Complete Proteins?

Is spermidine harmful?

  • Some people have expressed concern about a recent study showing that high plasma levels of spermidine are associated with cognitive decline.
  • The study is interesting, but I’m not worried about it because it’s counterbalanced by literally dozens of studies showing that spermidine is protective against, and may be beneficial in preventing Alzheimers and other forms of dementia. (See a summary from a recent study below)
  • So I plan to go on eating spermidine-rich foods such as green peas, aged cheese and natto (a type of fermented soy product).

Benefits of spermidine

2021 study: The positive effect of spermidine in older adults suffering from dementia : First results of a 3-month trial

“…Previous studies have highlighted that spermidine has the ability to trigger the important process of dissolving amyloid-beta plaques by autophagy. They also confirmed that nutritional intervention with the natural polyamine spermidine can prevent memory loss in aging model organisms.

“This multicentric double-blind preliminary study focused on the effect of oral spermidine supplementation on older adults’ cognitive performance. Memory tests were carried out on 85 subjects aged between 60 and 96 years in 6 nursing homes in Styria. Blood samples were taken for the determination of spermidine concentration and measurement of metabolic parameters.

“The results demonstrated a clear correlation between the intake of spermidine and the improvement in cognitive performance in subjects with mild and moderate dementia in the group treated with the higher spermidine dosage. The most substantial improvement in test performance was found in the group of subjects with mild dementia with an increase of 2.23 points (p = 0.026) in the mini mental state examination (MMSE) and 1.99 (p = 0.47) in phonematic fluidity. By comparison, the group which had a lower spermidine intake showed consistent or declining cognitive performance.”

Source: Polyamines in foods: development of a food database

Not medical advice

This article is not intended as, and should not be taken as, medical advice. I’m not advising that people eat any particular diet or take any particular supplements, just reporting on what I’m doing. All supplements can have side effects; I would encourage people to research both possible benefits and side effects before starting on any supplementation regimen.  See full Medical Disclaimer

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