Black-eyed peas are highly nutritious and offer many health benefits, including weight loss, heart health, and digestive health.

Black-eyed peas, also known as cowpeas, are a common legume cultivated around the globe.

Despite their name, black-eyed peas are not peas but rather a type of bean.

They’re generally very pale in color and feature a large black, brown, or red spot that resembles an eye.

Black-eyed peas have a strong, savory flavor and are often considered a staple in both Indian and traditional Southern cuisine.

This article reviews the nutrition facts, benefits, and uses of black-eyed peas.

Black-eyed peas are incredibly nutrient-dense, packing plenty of fiber and protein into each serving.

They’re also a good source of several important micronutrients, including folate, copper, thiamine, and iron.

One cup (170 grams) of cooked black-eyed peas contains the following nutrients (1):

  • Calories: 194
  • Protein: 13 grams
  • Fat: 0.9 grams
  • Carbs: 35 grams
  • Fiber: 11 grams
  • Folate: 88% of the DV
  • Copper: 50% of the DV
  • Thiamine: 28% of the DV
  • Iron: 23% of the DV
  • Phosphorus: 21% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 21% of the DV
  • Zinc: 20% of the DV
  • Potassium: 10% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 10% of the DV
  • Selenium: 8% of the DV
  • Riboflavin: 7% of the DV

In addition to the nutrients listed above, black-eyed peas are high in polyphenols, which are compounds that act as antioxidants in the body to prevent cell damage and protect against disease (2).


Black-eyed peas are high in protein and fiber, along with micronutrients such as folate, copper, and thiamine.

Black-eyed peas have been associated with a number of powerful health benefits.

Support weight loss

Due to their content of protein and soluble fiber, adding black-eyed peas to your diet is a great way to boost weight loss.

Protein, in particular, has been shown to reduce levels of ghrelin, a hormone that’s responsible for stimulating feelings of hunger (3, 4).

Meanwhile, soluble fiber is a type of fiber that forms a gel-like consistency and moves through your digestive tract slowly to help keep you feeling full between meals (5).

According to one study in 1,475 people, those who ate beans regularly had a 23% lower risk of increased belly fat and a 22% lower risk of obesity, compared with non-consumers (6).

Another review of 21 studies concluded that including pulses, such as black-eyed peas, in your diet could be an effective weight loss strategy and may help reduce body fat percentage (7).

Promote digestive health

Black-eyed peas are a great source of soluble fiber, which is a key nutrient when it comes to digestive health.

In fact, studies show that increasing your intake of soluble fiber can help promote regularity and increase stool frequency in those with constipation (8).

Other research indicates that fiber could help prevent digestive disorders, such as acid reflux, hemorrhoids, and stomach ulcers (9).

The soluble fiber found in black-eyed peas and other plants can also act as a prebiotic, stimulating the growth of the beneficial bacteria in your gut to help foster a healthy microbiome (10).

These beneficial bacteria not only support digestive health but also have been shown to reduce inflammation, enhance immune function, and reduce cholesterol levels (11).

Enhance heart health

Enjoying black-eyed peas as part of a balanced diet is an excellent way to help keep your heart healthy and strong, as they may help reduce several risk factors for heart disease.

In one review of 10 studies, regular intake of legumes was linked to lower levels of total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, both of which can contribute to heart disease (12).

Another study in 42 women showed that following a low calorie diet enriched with 1 cup of legumes per day for 6 weeks significantly reduced waist circumference and triglyceride and blood pressue levels, compared with a control group (13).

Regularly eating legumes has also been tied to lower markers of inflammation, which may also help reduce your risk of heart disease (14, 15, 16).


Black-eyed peas may help increase weight loss, improve digestive health, and support better heart health.

Besides being healthy and delicious, black-eyed peas are highly versatile and easy to enjoy in a variety of recipes.

If using dry beans, be sure to soak them in water for at least 6 hours, which helps speed the cooking time and makes them easier to digest.

Note that dried black-eyed peas differ from other dried beans in that long or overnight soaking in cold water is not required, but the cooking time can still be reduced if they are soaked for 1–2 hours in hot water.

Then, cover them in water or broth, bring them to a boil, reduce the heat, and let the beans simmer for 45 minutes, or until tender.

In traditional Southern cuisine, the cooked beans are mixed with meat, spices, and leafy greens.

However, they also make a great addition to soups, stews, and salads.


Black-eyed peas are very versatile and can be added to a variety of recipes, including soups, stews, and salads.

For some people, black-eyed peas may cause stomach pain, gas, and bloating due to their content of raffinose, a type of fiber that can contribute to digestive issues (17).

Soaking and cooking dried beans can reduce the content of raffinose and make them much easier to digest (17).

Tablets and pills that can help prevent gas and reduce symptoms are also widely available at pharmacies and supermarkets.

Black-eyed peas also contain antinutrients, such as phytic acid, which bind to minerals like iron, zinc, magnesium, and calcium and prevent their absorption in the body (18).

Fortunately, soaking and cooking black-eyed peas prior to consumption can significantly reduce their phytic acid content and help boost nutrient absorption (19).


Black-eyed peas are high in antinutrients and may cause digestive issues in some people. However, soaking and cooking them can help minimize side effects.

Black-eyed peas are highly nutritious and associated with many impressive health benefits.

In particular, they may help support weight loss, improve heart health, and promote digestive health.

They’re also versatile, delicious, and easy to incorporate into a number of recipes as part of a healthy diet.