Bell peppers are sometimes called sweet peppers and are part of the plant family known as Nightshades. They come in a wide range of colors and flavors, which make them a popular addition to any meal. Most people believe that sweet peppers are vegetables but in fact they are fruits. Adding bell peppers to your diet will not only add flavor to your food but it will also enhance your health at the same time.
Bell peppers have many great benefits for your health, they contain essential vitamins and minerals. Bell peppers come in a variety of colors. All bell peppers start out as green and ripen into orange, yellow or red. There are exceptions to this rule, some varieties start green and stay green when they ripen. Red bell peppers are usually the most mature and have the highest level of vitamins and nutrients.
Sweet peppers are a rich source of fiber. In 1 bell pepper or 100 grams there is only 30 – 45 calories. This makes them a great low calorie snack which is filling at the same time.
Bell pepper have lots of Vitamin C, especially the red variety. 100 grams of red bell pepper contains over 200 percent of our Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps to boost the immune system and aids in helping the body absorb Iron.
Red bell peppers also contain small amounts of capsaicin. Capsaicin is what gives a pepper its hot taste. It has been known to reduce bad cholesterol, it helps to control diabetes, and is shown to ease inflammation.
100 grams of bell peppers contain 100 percent of your RDA of vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for your eyes and especially helps in night vision.
They contain many anti-oxidant flavonoids such as Alpha and Beta carotenes, lutein, cryptoxanthin and zea-xanthin. These are types of anti-oxidants, and they are known to help defend the body from free radicals and the enzyme lutein is known to protect the eyes from macular degeneration and cataracts.
Bell peppers supply the body with essential minerals such as iron, zinc, copper, magnesium, manganese, selenium and potassium.
There are many B vitamins such as pyridoxine (B-6), niacin (B-3), thiamine (B-1) and riboflavin (B-2) in bell peppers. B-complex vitamins help cellular metabolism through enzymatic functions. Pyridoxine is essential in keeping the nervous system healthy and in cellular renewal.
They are a good source for vitamin E. Vitamin E plays an important role in keeping hair and skin looking youthful.
They are known to contain an amino acid that has sulfur in it, this amino acid is called cysteine and is thought to help protect against some types of cancer.
Bell peppers help to increase our metabolism by creating a mild thermogenic action. This action can help us burn calories without increasing our blood pressure or heart rate like hot peppers do.
Picking the Right Bell Pepper
It is best to choose peppers that have taut skin, vivid colors and are free of soft spots or blemishes. Choose a pepper that is fresh looking and has a deep green stem. The pepper should be heavy for its size and well hydrated. Moister content is important to make sure that it is fresh and has not lost nutrients through dehydration. The pepper should be firm and give slightly under pressure. Picking the right pepper will ensure a tasty and nutritional meal.