Sugar-snap peas are a variety of pea that grows in an edible pod. They are a cross between snow peas and English peas first made widely available in the 1970s, according to the Iowa State University Extension. Eaten them raw as a snack or in salads, or cook them in stir-fries and other Asian dishes. Removing the peas from the pod, and eating just the peas, affects the fiber content.
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Sugar-snap peas are a good source of dietary fiber, with 5 g in a 1-cup serving of the podded peas that have been cooked without salt, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Nutrient Database. The USDA's Dietary Guidelines for Americans do not include a recommended daily intake for dietary fiber, but current recommendations range from 21 g to 38 g per day depending on your age and gender, according to MayoClinic.com.
What Is Dietary Fiber?
Dietary fiber is the part of a plant-based food that is not digested in your intestinal tract, according to the University of Colorado Extension. Instead, it passes through the gastrointestinal tract and is excreted in feces. Two types of fiber are in plant foods: soluble fiber, which can be dissolved in water, and insoluble fiber, which does not dissolve in water.
Why You Need Fiber
Fiber does many things in the body that promote good health. Eating a diet high in fiber can help regulate your bowel movements, maintain intestinal health, control blood sugar levels, help with weight loss and lower cholesterol levels, MayoClinic.com reports. It also may reduce your risk of colon cancer, but research in this area has so fat been mixed.
Other Fiber Sources
In addition to sugar-snap peas, you also get dietary fiber when you consume any plant food, including fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts and legumes. When you eat fruits and vegetables, eat the skins or casings they come in whenever possible. For example, sugar-snap peas contain more fiber with the pod than when just the peas inside are eaten. Also, unrefined grains -- products that contain whole grains -- are a much better source of fiber than processed or refined grains, MayoClinic.com reports.
If you are trying to increase your fiber intake for better digestive and overall health, do it slowly, over two or three weeks. When you drastically increase fiber consumption over a short time, you may experience abdominal pain because of bloating and gas, MayoClinic.com reports. Instead, add fiber to your diet over time and make sure you also increase your water intake, because fiber is most effective when absorbed by water.