There are many benefits of sweet bell peppers including their healthy nutrients and vitamins. You may assume sweet bell peppers are just a tasty addition to meals, and they certainly are. But they have other health benefits in addition to being great as snacks, side dishes or even as main courses in vegetarian dishes.
Amazing Benefits Of Bell Peppers And Their Nutritional Value
Red, green, orange, and yellow — add all colors to your diet for a healthy dash of flavor.
Bell pepper’s benefits are attributed to its nutritional content. They are popularly known as capsicum or sweet peppers, and they are used in many different cuisines worldwide. They are known as Shimla Mirch in Hindi, Kuda Milagai in Tamil, Pedda Mirappa in Telugu, Parangi Mulagu in Malayalam, Bhopli Mirchi in Marathi, Simla Marchan in Gujarati, Simla Mirch in Bengali, and Donne Menasinakai in Kannada.
Bell peppers are abundantly available in summers and are known for their unique taste. With the increase in their ripeness, their vitamin C content also increases greatly.
Capsaicin is the component that gives peppers their unique hot taste. But in bell peppers, it is present in very small amounts, which gives them a mild spicy taste that is quite tolerable. Bell peppers are available in different colors: purple, orange, green, yellow, and red. They belong to the nightshade (Solanaceae) family of plants, consisting of cayenne pepper, eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, and chili pepper. This plumpy and bell-shaped vegetable was cultivated around 900 years ago in South and Central America. The European colonizers of North America gave the name ‘pepper’ to it. It is known as Capsicum annuum scientifically. They have a crunchy texture and tangy taste and grow in any climate. Orange, yellow, and red peppers are sweet and fruity, whereas purple and green peppers have a slightly bitter taste.
Health Benefits Of Bell Pepper
Apart from imparting flavor and attractiveness to bland dishes, bell peppers are loaded with nutrients like vitamins A, C and K, carotenoids and dietary fiber which makes them immensely beneficial for the overall good health. Bell peppers also have vitamin B6 and folate that help to lower homocysteine levels, thus reducing the risk of heart disease. Some of the health benefits of bell peppers are given below:
1. Good for Eyes:
Being high in vitamin A, red bell peppers help to support healthy eyesight, especially night vision. They are a rich source of a carotenoid called lutein that helps in lowering the risk of macular degeneration of the eyes. Macular degeneration of eyes is the most common cause of age related visual loss. Bell peppers also protect your eyes from cataracts due to their high levels of beta-carotene and vitamin C.
2. Burns more Calories:
Red bell peppers help in activating thermogenesis and increase the metabolic rate. Capsaicin which is responsible for increasing the hotness of other peppers is found in bell peppers in very small amounts. Thus, they have a mild thermogenic action that increases the metabolism without increasing the heart rate and blood pressure unlike hot peppers. Hence, they can support weight loss.
3. Anti-Cancer Benefits:
Being rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, bell pepper provides several anti-cancer benefits. The risk of cancer increases due to chronic excessive inflammation and chronic unwanted oxidative stress. These factors can be offset with regular intake of phytonutrients having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Moreover, bell peppers also contain health supportive sulphur compounds. The enzymes in bell pepper help to prevent gastric cancer and esophageal cancer. The carotenoid lycopene is found to be effective in the prevention of prostate, bladder, cervix and pancreas cancer.
4. Cardiovascular Benefits:
Red bell peppers are rich in lycopene, thus making them excellent for a healthy heart whereas green bell peppers are a good source of cholesterol lowering fiber. Increased homocysteine levels can lead to a higher risk of heart disease. Bell peppers contain vitamin B6 and folate which help to lower homocysteine levels. In addition to these, the powerful antioxidants vitamins A and C present in these vegetables help to wipe out free radicals. Potassium contained in bell peppers lowers about 162 milligrams of blood pressure which is also beneficial for heart.
5. Supports the Immune System:
Vitamin C is vital for maintaining a healthy immune system and for building strong collagen to support skin and joints. It is instrumental in lowering the risk of arthritis and reducing inflammation. Vitamin K aids in the formation of blood clots. It is important for developing strong bones and protection of cells from oxidative damage.
6. Great source of Vitamin B6 and Magnesium:
The combination of vitamin B6 and the mineral magnesium leads to decrease in anxiety levels, particularly due to pre-menstrual symptoms. Being a natural diuretic, vitamin B6 helps to reduce bloating and prevents hypertension.
7. Cures Iron Deficiency:
Red bell peppers provide almost 300 percent of the daily vitamin C requirement. Vitamin C is essential for the proper absorption of iron. Thus, those suffering from iron deficiency should consume red peppers.
8. Benefits of Capsaicin:
Capsaicin is found in the white membranes of peppers which is responsible for imparting heat to the seeds as well. It lowers the cholesterol levels and triglycerides. It kills the ulcer causing bacteria in the stomach and boosts immunity.
9. Detoxifying Properties:
Bell peppers help in clearing out the congested mucus membranes in the nose and lungs and eliminate toxins through sweating.
10. Benefits of Potassium:
Bell peppers are good sources of potassium. This mineral helps in keeping the fluids and minerals balanced in the body. It enhances muscle function and regulates blood pressure.
Top 5 health benefits of peppers
Available in red, yellow, orange or green, bells peppers are not just a versatile ingredient. Nutritionist Kerry Torrens reveals their nutritional and health benefits..
What are peppers?
The fruit of the bell pepper (capsicum annuum) and a member of the nightshade family along with aubergine, tomatoes and potatoes, bell peppers are also referred to as sweet peppers. A non-hot relative to the chilli pepper, bell peppers can be eaten raw or cooked and make a nutritious addition to a meal.
Nutritional benefits of bell peppers
An 80g serving of red bell pepper (raw) provides:
- 17 kcal/71KJ
- 0.6g protein
- 0.2g fat
- 3.4g carbohydrates
- 1.8g fibre
- 173mg potassium
- 60mcg folate
- 101mg vitamin C
It’s worth noting that the nutritional contribution of bell peppers varies dependent on their colour, with red varieties supplying more potassium, vitamin C and folate than their yellow, orange or green equivalents. However, immature green peppers are significantly richer than their mature red equivalent, in the protective plant compounds known as polyphenols.
Like other vegetables, nutritional value will be affected by preparation and cooking methods. Pre-roasted peppers, a popular deli-counter purchase available in a jar or tub, lose up to 25 per cent of their vitamin C content. How long the pepper is cooked, the temperature used, the method of cooking and any preservation techniques applied are factors which influence the amount of loss, although dry heat, such as that in stir-frying and roasting, is considered preferable to boiling or steaming.
What are the 5 top health benefits of bell peppers?
1. May reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration
Nutrition plays an important part in delaying the development of age-related sight loss. In particular, two carotenoids called lutein and zeaxanthin, when eaten in sufficient amounts, appear to improve eye health. They do this by protecting the retina from oxidative damage. Red peppers are especially rich in these carotenoids, as well as other protective nutrients such as vitamin C. Numerous studies suggest that regularly eating foods rich in carotenoids and especially lutein and zeaxanthin, may cut the risk of both cataracts and macular degeneration.
2. May reduce the likelihood of anaemia
A common condition especially among women and girls of reproductive age, anaemia is the result of a lack of oxygen in the blood. One of the commonest causes being iron deficiency. Bell peppers contribute modest amounts of iron but are remarkably rich in vitamin C, half a pepper supplying as much as 100mg. This is significant because vitamin C increases the absorption of iron in the gut and numerous studies confirm that diets high in vitamin C-rich fruit and vegetables results in a greater iron uptake. Bell peppers help further because they contain vitamin B6 which is needed to make haemoglobin, the protein which carries oxygen around the body.
3. May protect against certain chronic diseases
Bell peppers are rich in antioxidants, which are associated with better health and protection against conditions like heart disease and cancer. For instance, peppers are especially rich in antioxidant vitamins including vitamins C, E and beta-carotene. They also supply bountiful amounts of polyphenols, these protective plant compounds include lutein, quercetin and capsanthin, the latter being especially rich in ripe red peppers. Being an antioxidant powerhouse suggests peppers offer a strong anti-inflammatory capacity and are likely to lower the risk of chronic disease. Sadly, to date large scale studies which specifically look at the consumption of bell peppers on the incidence of chronic disease, remains lacking.
4. May delay age-related memory loss
Interesting findings from animal studies suggest that bell pepper consumption may be effective in preventing memory loss in those with Alzheimer’s. Compounds in ripe peppers appear to inhibit an enzyme which releases amyloid proteins – these are the proteins responsible for accumulating around nerve fibres and contributing to the risk of Alzheimer’s. Subsequent research suggests that it’s possibly the many plant compounds in peppers including phenols, carotenoids and flavonoids which may be responsible for these findings.
5. May have blood-sugar lowering effects
Animal studies suggest bell peppers aid blood sugar management. However, although increasing evidence supports it’s the polyphenols, found in plants like peppers, which have a beneficial influence on blood sugar and appear to help reduce the risk of diabetes, more human studies are needed. It’s hoped that any future research would provide an insight into how much would constitute an effective intake of polyphenol-rich foods.
Bell Peppers 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits
Bell peppers (Capsicum annuum) are fruits that belong to the nightshade family.
They are related to chili peppers, tomatoes, and breadfruit, all of which are native to Central and South America.
Also called sweet peppers or capsicums, bell peppers can be eaten either raw or cooked.
Like their close relatives, chili peppers, bell peppers are sometimes dried and powdered. In that case, they are referred to as paprika.
They are low in calories and exceptionally rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants, making them an excellent addition to a healthy diet.
Bell peppers come in various colors, such as red, yellow, orange, and green — which are unripe.
Green, unripe peppers have a slightly bitter flavor and are not as sweet as fully ripe ones.
This article tells you everything you need to know about peppers.
Fresh, raw bell peppers are mainly composed of water (92%). The rest is carbs and small amounts of protein and fat.
The main nutrients in 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of raw, red bell peppers are
- Calories: 31
- Water: 92%
- Protein: 1 gram
- Carbs: 6 grams
- Sugar: 4.2 grams
- Fiber: 2.1 grams
- Fat: 0.3 grams
Bell peppers are primarily composed of carbs, which account for most of their calorie content — with 3.5 ounces (100 grams) holding 6 grams of carbs.
The carbs are mostly sugars — such as glucose and fructose — which are responsible for the sweet taste of ripe bell peppers.
Bell peppers also contain small amounts of fiber — 2% by fresh weight. Calorie for calorie, they are a very good fiber source
Bell peppers are mainly made up of water and carbs. Most of the carbs are sugars, such as glucose and fructose. Bell peppers are also a decent source of fiber.
Vitamins and minerals
Bell peppers are loaded with various vitamins and minerals
- Vitamin C. One medium-sized red bell pepper provides 169% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin C, making it one of the richest dietary sources of this essential nutrient.
- Vitamin B6. Pyridoxine is the most common type of vitamin B6, which is a family of nutrients important for the formation of red blood cells.
- Vitamin K1. A form of vitamin K, also known as phylloquinone, K1 is important for blood clotting and bone health.
- Potassium. This essential mineral may improve heart health .
- Folate. Also known as vitamin B9, folate has a variety of functions in your body. Adequate folate intake is very important during pregnancy .
- Vitamin E. A powerful antioxidant, vitamin E is essential for healthy nerves and muscles. The best dietary sources of this fat-soluble vitamin are oils, nuts, seeds, and vegetables.
- Vitamin A. Red bell peppers are high in pro-vitamin A (beta carotene), which your body converts into vitamin A
Bell peppers are very high in vitamin C, with a single one providing up to 169% of the RDI. Other vitamins and minerals in bell peppers include vitamin K1, vitamin E, vitamin A, folate, and potassium.
Other plant compounds
Bell peppers are rich in various antioxidants — especially carotenoids, which are much more abundant in ripe specimens
The main compounds in bell peppers are:
- Capsanthin. Especially high in red bell peppers, capsanthin is a powerful antioxidant responsible for their brilliant red color
- Violaxanthin. This compound is the most common carotenoid antioxidant in yellow bell peppers .
- Lutein. While abundant in green (unripe) bell peppers and black paprika, lutein is absent from ripe bell peppers. Adequate intake of lutein may improve eye health
- Quercetin. Studies indicate that this polyphenol antioxidant may be beneficial for preventing certain chronic conditions, such as heart disease and cancer
- Luteolin. Similarly to quercetin, luteolin is an polyphenol antioxidant that may have a variety of beneficial health effects
Bell peppers contain many healthy antioxidants, including capsanthin, violaxanthin, lutein, quercetin, and luteolin. These plant compounds are associated with many health benefits.
Health benefits of bell peppers
Like most whole plant foods, bell peppers are considered a healthy food.
High consumption of fruits and vegetables has been linked to a reduced risk of many chronic illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease.
In addition, bell peppers may have a number of other health benefits.
The most common types of visual impairments include macular degeneration and cataracts, the main causes of which are aging and infections
However, nutrition may also play a significant role in developing these diseases.
Lutein and zeaxanthin — carotenoids found in relatively high amounts in bell peppers — may improve eye health when consumed in adequate amounts
In fact, they protect your retina — the light-sensitive inner wall of your eye — from oxidative damage
A number of studies indicate that regular consumption of foods rich in these carotenoids may cut the risk of both cataracts and macular degeneration
Thus, adding bell peppers to your diet may help lower your risk of visual impairments.
Anemia is a common condition characterized by a reduced ability of your blood to carry oxygen.
One of the most common causes of anemia is iron deficiency, the main symptoms of which are weakness and tiredness.
Not only are red bell peppers a decent source of iron, they are also exceptionally rich in vitamin C, which increases the absorption of iron from your gut
In fact, one medium-sized red bell pepper may contain 169% of the RDI for vitamin C
Dietary iron absorption increases significantly when you consume fruits or vegetables high in vitamin C
For this reason, eating raw bell peppers alongside iron-rich foods — such as meat or spinach — may help increase your body’s iron stores, cutting your risk of anemia.
Like other fruits and vegetables, bell peppers may have many health benefits. These include improved eye health and reduced risk of anemia.