Many of us snack on a bell pepper throughout the day, without ever knowing the nutrition and benefits it has. Others make the mistake of skipping out on this delicious and nutrient-rich fruit.
So, here it is. The article will explain everything about nutrition, benefits, and even recipes that you can prepare by using any type of bell pepper you would like.
Bell Pepper Nutrition Facts
Bell peppers, or Capsicum annuum as they are also known, are a wide-consumed fruit. Yes, you read that right.
No matter their shape, size, or color, every kind of pepper is classified as a fruit and not a vegetable, as many of us believe. Unlike the chili pepper, the sweet peppers can be consumed raw or cooked. They can even be dried and powdered, which is a common practice that we see today. As a result, we have paprika, a popular spice in everyone’s kitchen.
Peppers come in different colors. And so, we have red, green, yellow, and orange bell pepper. They are popular for being low in calories and great in taste. But each capsicum is incredibly nutritious as well. Let’s take a look at the basic bell pepper nutrition, shall we?
Bell peppers are primarily made of carbs. That, however, does not mean that they are a high-carb veggie. On the contrary, bell pepper is one of the guilt-free veggies that you can enjoy while on a low-carb diet. 100 g bell peppers are packed with 6 g of carbs with 2.1 g being pure dietary fiber. It is thanks to the fructose and glucose in the bell peppers that they have their sweet taste.
Unless you cook them with lots of oil, you will not find much fat in bell peppers. 100 g bell peppers contain 0.2 g fat, which is not enough to scare you away from eating that tasty yellow bell pepper. Mind you that no trans or saturated fat is hiding in those bell peppers. So, absorb all of those fatty acids with enjoyment and allow them to nourish your body.
Now speaking of protein, bell peppers are relatively low in this nutrient. Only 1 g of protein is found in 100 g bell pepper. However, that is still higher than what we see in other veggies, including broccoli, tomatoes, and asparagus, among others.
Vitamins and minerals
Looking at their vitamin and mineral content, we see that bell peppers are nutrient-rich in that aspect as well. Several vital vitamins and minerals add to the nutrition of bell pepper. These are the most important ones.
Bell peppers contain a pro-Vitamin A, otherwise known as beta-carotene. It is what our body uses to convert in actual Vitamin A. Beta-carotene is found in all bell peppers, but some bell peppers contain more beta-carotene than others. For example, the red bell pepper contains up to 11 times more beta-carotene as compared to the green pepper.
Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, is known to be the most common type of Vitamin B6. This vitamin has an essential role in the production of red blood cells.
Vitamin B9 is better known as folate. Maintaining regular levels of Vitamin B9 in the body is essential, but especially during pregnancy. So, all of you pregnant ladies out there, do not forget to add some tasty bell peppers to your shopping list next time!
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is one of the primary nutrients found in bell peppers. A single medium-sized bell pepper provides up to 169% of the Reference Daily Intake of Vitamin C. There are very few other foods that have such an impressive Vitamin C content as bell peppers do. Moreover, vitamin C is also quite a powerful antioxidant, which makes it possible for bell peppers to fight all of the oxidative damage and free radicals in the body.
Vitamin E is yet another powerful antioxidant found in bell peppers. Paired up together with Vitamin C, these two make it possible for several body functions to run smoothly on a day-to-day basis.
Vitamin K1, or phylloquinone, is a form of Vitamin K that is found in bell peppers. This vitamin is essential for proper blood clotting and healthy bones.
Bell peppers are also rich in manganese. One large bell pepper can cover anywhere between 50-75% of your Reference Daily Intake of manganese.
Potassium is both an essential electrolyte while also being a must-have mineral in our body. Thankfully, it is found in large amounts in single bell pepper.
Other plant compounds
Other than generous amounts of carbs, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, bell peppers also contain additional compounds. Here are some of the other popular plant compounds that you need to know about.
- Phenolic compounds – Phenolic compounds are powerful antioxidants, but their health benefits extend far beyond. They also have antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer abilities. One of the largest phenolic compounds group is flavonoids, which are also found in bell peppers.
- Carotenoids – Carotenoids are plant pigments that give plants their yellow, orange, and red color. That being said, carotenoids are best found in red, yellow, and orange peppers. In the human body, they act as antioxidants. Violaxanthin, for example, is the carotenoid that gives orange bell peppers their orange color.
- Lycopene – Lycopene is another plant compound with antioxidant properties that should not be ignored. It is the red pigment that gives red bell peppers their red color. Its benefits range from heart health and cancer to even sunburns.
- Capsanthin – Speaking of plant pigments, capsanthin is the red pigment found in red bell peppers. It just so happens to also be a powerful antioxidant as well.
- Lutein – Lutein is also a plant pigment that gives green bell peppers their characteristic green color. An important nutrition fact is that lutein is only present in an unripe green bell pepper.
Health benefits of bell peppers
With bell peppers being both nutrient- and antioxidant-rich, a long line of health benefits is to be expected. We will discuss some of the biggest health benefits that bell peppers have to offer in the following.
They are great for your skin
If you are struggling with skin problems, you may want to rely on bell pepper for help. Bell pepper represents an amazing source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E. As such, it offers to treat several skin issues, including acne, dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and even fine lines.
A large amount of Vitamin C found in bell pepper promotes collagen production. As you may know, your fine lines and wrinkles are a side-effect of your skin losing its natural elasticity that gets from all of the collagen in our body. However, with the aging process and the reduced production of collagen, our skin has a hard time staying elastic; thus, fine lines and wrinkles appear.
So, instead of investing in expensive collagen face creams, buy yourself a couple of fresh bell peppers. Make it a habit to snack on some fresh bell pepper in the afternoon, and you will notice a great difference in your skin health.
They offer immune system support
With bell pepper containing more Vitamin C than oranges, it makes no sense why you would skip them during flu season. Vitamin C is very important when it comes to supporting our immune system. Our advice would be to stock up on natural Vitamin C from fruit and vegetables and allow bell peppers to be in the spotlight during those cold months.
They are super hydrating
We all know how important proper hydration is. What you may not know is that bell pepper consists of up to 92% water. On top of that, this yummy vegetable is filled with much-needed electrolytes such as potassium.
Potassium is beneficial when it comes to muscle recovery and proper hydration. This is why bell pepper with some hummus is a great post-workout snack, especially on those extra sweaty sessions at the gym.
They may increase your metabolic rate
Adding a bell pepper to your daily diet is a great weight to get rid of that excess body fat. Bell peppers are incredibly low in calories while being packed with quite a few nutrients at the same time. Knowing this, bell peppers work great both as a snack and as a side dish to your main meal. They are healthy and guilt-free while still being tasty and delicious.
But low calories and great nutrition is not the only thing that will help induce weight loss. Indeed, bell peppers do not contain any capsaicin. For those of you who did not know this, capsaicin is the active compound found in hot peppers.
It is also the compound that gives the chili pepper its well-known spicy kick and what makes us excessively sweat while eating them. At the same time, it is what induces the process of thermogenesis and burns more calories, thus making weight loss possible.
As we said, capsaicin is not found in bell peppers, but they also manage to induce the process of thermogenesis and increase our metabolic rate. Bell peppers are a great replacement for anyone who avoids spicy food such as chili peppers but still wants to take advantage of their thermogenic abilities.
They support your eye health
Whenever we think about proper nutrition for good eyesight, we think of carrots. And it is true. Carrots are rich in lutein, beta carotene, and Vitamin A, all of which are crucial for maintaining good vision. However, bell pepper, too, is an incredible source of all of these compounds. Plus, it contains zeaxanthin as well.
All of these compounds can significantly improve one’s vision, as suggested by no other than science itself. They can protect your retina, which is the most sensitive inner wall of the eye, from oxidative damage.
Besides, they can also reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration as well. Stocking up your fridge with fresh peppers and carrots is a must if you want to keep your eyes healthy at all times.
They prevent anemia
In people with anemia, there are not enough red blood cells that can carry the required oxygen to every tissue in the body. The majority of anemia cases are caused due to iron deficiency. And with bell peppers being a good iron source, it makes sense to use them to fight and prevent anemia.
It is important to mention that iron needs sufficient Vitamin C in order to be properly absorbed in the body. And with bell pepper containing both iron and Vitamin C, you get to benefit from both of them at the same time.
They can protect against cardiovascular disease
And the last of the health benefits that we would like to discuss is the lower heart disease risk that comes with bell peppers’ regular consummation. Thanks to the powerful antioxidants that they carry, bell peppers fight the oxidative stress in the body.
Oxidative stress is a common cause of inflammation. Inflammation in the arteries often leads to heart disease; thus, bell peppers prevent this potentially life-threatening issue. It has even been confirmed by science that the free radicals-fighting antioxidants found in bell peppers are useful against heart disease.
In the majority of people, bell peppers are well-tolerated. They are incredibly healthy and recommended to be consumed daily. However, some people may be allergic to them. Struggling with a bell pepper allergy is incredibly rare but still possible. What is more likely to happen is bell pepper sensitivity due to an existing pollen allergy.
That being said, anyone with a pollen allergy would need to stay alert when eating bell peppers. Some have also reported digestive issues such as bloating and gas after consuming bell peppers. This seems to be a more common occurrence linked to green bell pepper’s consummation compared to red pepper.
When is the best time to consume them?
We are used to seeing bell peppers being sold all year round. But when is the best time to consume them? The green bell peppers are good all the time, but you may want to keep an eye on the red and yellow peppers. These are best consumed during the summer, as this is when they are freshest.
As a general rule, look for more intensely-colored peppers. This is a sign that the pepper is rich in nutrients, flavor, and just ripe enough for you to enjoy it. But keep an eye on the color of its stem as well. A bright-green colored stem indicates freshness as well. Always look for bell peppers with smooth, unblemished skin. Avoid those that have soft spots, wrinkles, or pits.
Store your peppers in the fridge. This will ensure maximum freshness at all times. This way, you can keep them up to a week, and they will still be fresh as the day you bought them.
You can even freeze them if that is what you want. As for their seeds, you can eat them. However, due to their texture and taste, most people cut them away along with the stem.
Bell pepper recipes
Feel free to eat a raw bell pepper as a snack. Pair a bell pepper with your favorite dip, and you will have a perfect snack with a lot of nutrition. Or simply slice it up and mix it in your salad or add it to a sandwich for breakfast.
A popular recipe is stuffed pepper. People like to stuff bell peppers with anything, ranging from meat, rice, beans, and veggies.
Bell peppers are quite versatile. They can be grilled, baked, or sautéed. You can even add them to your stews and soups or use them to prepare homemade sauces and condiments. The choice is up to you!
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A bell pepper, consumed raw, stuffed, or sautéed, are delicious either way and have a lot of nutrition. Today, we got to discuss all of the nutrition facts, health benefits, and ways that you can prepare your bell pepper so that you do not ever get bored with them.