There’s no denying that snacking has become a regular daily staple for most people, especially those who are trying to stay in shape. Many believe that eating smaller meals or snacking in between meals helps to keep the body’s metabolism high and prevents overeating when mealtime comes. For some, the best snacks may come in the form of protein bars or shakes. For others, snacking means indulging in some fresh cut up fruits or vegetables.
There are many ways to diversify the usual fruit and vegetable snacks, and there are certainly plenty of creative flavor combinations out there. One of the best examples of such food creativity is the wasabi peas, and whether they’re actually healthy for you or not has actually been a question for many people who love to eat them.
Wasabi peas are simply just as their name implies. They’re the combination of two main ingredients: wasabi and peas. Each on its own, wasabi and peas separately are some of the healthiest and most beneficial vegetables on the planet. However, the mixture of the two for the actual wasabi peas snack makes for a recipe that has questionable health benefits.
We all know what peas are and how healthy they are. After all, we all must’ve gotten our share of mushed peas as babies and even as adults. Wasabi, on the other hand, is infamous as the kicker in Japanese sushi cuisine. Most people just know it as the spicy green stuff. Wasabi is actually a plant that is also known as the Japanese horseradish. The stem of the plant is what’s usually grated finely to make the green wasabi paste that is used in sushi. Wasabi has many cleansing properties that make it ideal for eating raw foods. It has chemical components that inhibit microbe and bacterial growth. It has the capability of keeping the mouth sanitized and protected from oral bacteria. It also has good nutrients to spare such as protein and fiber.
How are wasabi peas made?
When people talk about wasabi peas, they are more likely referring to the prepackaged snack that you can easily purchase in any specialty grocery store or the specialty aisle at regular supermarkets. While there are plenty of great tasting recipes out there for wasabi peas, making fresh wasabi peas doesn’t necessarily make them much healthier. The process for making homemade and commercial wasabi peas may be different, but the results are close. Wasabi peas are made simply by dry roasting peas until they are crunchy and in the simplest terms coating them with fresh wasabi or wasabi flavoring. This would also always include a ton of salt, some measures of sugar, oil, and more than likely some other processed stuff.
No matter how they are made, wasabi peas do have a few things to offer. For one, they can provide you with a good amount of protein. A one cup serving of prepackaged wasabi peas can provide roughly 48 grams of protein, which covers anywhere from 96 to 100 percent of the recommended daily intake of protein. In addition, wasabi peas contain just about 100 percent of the daily recommended intake of dietary fiber in just a one cup serving. That’s two birds in one stone, really. And that’s without saying that wasabi peas are typically a low fat snack food, depending on how they are made. Usually, low fat snacks are great, especially for those who are trying to lose some weight.
The problems with wasabi peas
While there are many great things wasabi peas can provide for their consumer, the negative might actually outweigh the positive this time. It’s important to understand that this conclusion comes to light upon scrutinizing the nooks and crannies of wasabi peas and how they are made. There are many ways to make healthier wasabi peas options at home without the use of processed ingredients. Most of these statements are generally true, however, when it comes to the prepackaged snacks people are accustomed to thinking of when it comes to wasabi peas.
As much protein and fiber it can provide in a single one-cup serving, wasabi peas can also stack it up when it comes to calories. The same serving amount can give just about 480 calories. And if you are familiar with eating wasabi peas, they’re quite easy to just keep on popping in the mouth. 480 calories for a snack is pretty high, and if you’re sitting down to snack on wasabi peas without having measured it beforehand, there’s a likelihood that you might end up eating more than a cup. That only means more calories for you.
All too much sodium
Sodium is an essential nutrient for the body. Without it, the body will not function optimally. However, too much sodium can be very dangerous. It can create imbalances in the body, making it retain more fluids, and allowing the body to snowball into other illnesses and sicknesses. Wasabi peas just have way too much salt to be considered healthy for the body, period.
Beside these problems, wasabi peas just don’t have enough to offer nutritionally to make it a considerably good snack. It doesn’t have any vitamins or minerals to offer, as a matter of fact. If you are looking to make wasabi peas at home, make sure to incorporate ingredients that have decent nutritional value. Otherwise, you’ll be better off foregoing wasabi peas for fresh peas or even indulging in sushi with some fresh wasabi. There isn’t anything wrong with having it from time to time; just don’t make a habit of snacking on wasabi peas, especially if you’re trying to eat healthier and be healthier in general. There are way better options out there for your body.
Kazuo Ina; Hiroji Ina; Mikako Ueda; Akihito Yagi; Isao Kishima (1989). “ω-Methylthioalkyl Isothiocyanates in Wasabi”. Agricultural and Biological Chemistry. 53 (2): 537–538.
Tamanna Sultana; G. P. Savage; D. L. McNeil; G. P. Porter; B. Clark (2003). “Comparison of flavour compounds in wasabi and horseradish”. Journal of Food, Agriculture & Environment. 1 (2): 117–121.
“Wasabi: In condiments, horseradish stands in for the real thing | Science & Technology”. Chemical & Engineering News. 22 March 2010. p. 48.