Bell Peppers can be found in a number of colors. Green, Yellow, Orange and Red Bell Peppers are the most common varieties. However, do not be surprised if you see a Black Bell Pepper as well.
Bell peppers are known for their crisp and juicy texture and their looks and color make them an ideal ingredient for salads and dressings. In certain parts of the world they are known as capsicum and eaten as vegetables.
The health benefits of bell peppers are numerous in nature, one of the most significant being the anti-oxidants that it provides the human body. Learn more about the health benefits of bell peppers in the complete article.
The bell pepper is a great combination of a tangy taste and great looks. They are beautifully shaped, almost like an ornamentatal vegetable and their glossy exterior makes then look delightful. Bell peppers are also a part of Nightshade species of vegetables (such as potatoes, tomatoes and eggplants). Bell peppers also originated in South America like the normal chilli peppers.
Did you know that the different colors of bell peppers actually come from the same plant? Yes, it is true. The green bell pepper is an unripe variety of the bell pepper. As the bell pepper matures, the color changes to yellow (or orange) and on full maturity, the color becomes red.
Bell peppers, due to their looks, are primarily used in dressings and salads. Their colorful looks and rick flavor makes them an ideal candidate for a pizza topping as well. Also, the typical shape and sweetness of the bell peppers makes them an ideal candidate for making anything stuffed.
In a lot of countries, the green bell pepper is also known as capsicum and widely used as a vegetable.
The nutritional sweetness of the bell peppers keeps on increasing while they mature. Therefore, the red bell peppers may be much sweeter than the Yellow (Orange) and Green bell peppers.
Also, along with the sweetness, the nutritional value of the bell peppers also keeps on changing from Green to the Red Variety.Bell peppers are abundant in Vitamin A and Vitamic C. The vitam A content in Yellow bell peppers is the smallest followed by Green. The red bell pepper has 50 times the Vitamin A content than that of the Yellow bell pepper. Similarly, the Vitamic C content of the Red bell pepper is twice that of the green bell pepper. The health benefits of bell peppers have been knows since ages and an exhaustive list of the health benefits is present in the ‘Health Benefits’ tab.
The bell peppers (in all varieties) are packed with anti-oxidants which helps them to be very beneficial in controling cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. Another health benefit of bell peppers is their ability to fight against cancer causing agents.
Interested to know more about the health benefits of bell peppers, here are a few sources
Most often bell peppers are green, yellow, orange, and red. Unripe fruit are green or, less commonly, pale yellow or purple. Red bell peppers are simply ripened green peppers.
Storage: Bell peppers should be store unwashed in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator which will keep for approximately 7-10 days. Because bell peppers need to well hydrated and are very sensitive to moisture loss, we recommend that you should include a damp cloth or paper towel in the vegetable compartment to help the peppers retain their moisture.
Cleaning & Cutting: Rinse the bell pepper. Hold the bell pepper upright, with its stalk to the top and its base on the cutting board. Start cutting off sections. Remove the white pith from inside of the pepper.
How to Buy: Choose peppers that have deep vivid colors, taut skin which should be free of soft spots, blemishes and darkened areas. Their stems should be green and fresh looking.
Special Steps: Bell peppers are especially sensitive to moisture loss through this stem (calyx) portion and are more susceptible to chilling injury if the stem is removed.
TIP: Bell Pepper can lose up to 15% of their vitamin C content over the course of 10-day storage in the refrigerator and up to 25% of their vitamin C over 20-days of refrigerator storage time.
Red Bell Pepper are very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Potassium and Manganese, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin B6 and Folate.
Mineral Content: Bell pepper has adequate levels of minerals that are iron, copper, zinc, potassium, manganese, magnesium, and selenium.
Vitamin & Compounds: Red bell peppers are rich source of Vitamin-C, Vitamin-A, it is also good in B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), riboflavin, and thiamin (vitamin B-1). In addition, it contains anti-oxidant flavonoids such as α and β carotenes, lutein, zea-xanthin, and cryptoxanthin.
Carbohydrate Content: Red Bell Pepper provide only 31 calories per 100 g
Red bell pepper contains small levels of health benefiting an alkaloid compound capsaicin. Laboratory studies suggested that capsaicin has anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic and anti-diabetic properties. When used judiciously, it also found to reduce triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels in obese individuals.
Vitamin C: Red peppers contain almost 300 percent of your daily vitamin C intake. Besides being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C is also needed for the proper absorption of iron.
Anxiety: Red bell peppers are a great source of vitamin B6 and magnesium. This vitamin and mineral combination shows a decrease in anxiety, especially related to pre-menstrual symptoms.
Bloating: Red bell peppers also reduce bloating and prevent against hypertension.
Eye Health: Red bell peppers are high in vitamin A, which helps to support healthy eyesight, especially night vision.
Antioxidants: The combined effects of vitamin A and C create a great antioxidant capacity, and with lycopene in the mix, the red bell pepper becomes a top notch superfood. Lycopene is what makes tomatoes and peppers red. Red peppers are one of the highest veggies in lycopene, which has been successfully tested in the prevention of many cancers including prostate and lung.
Burn calories: Recent research has shown that sweet red peppers can activate thermogenesis and increase metabolic rate. Red bell peppers do not contain capsaicin, which is what makes peppers hot and causes us to sweat, but they do have a mild thermogenic action that increases our metabolism without increasing our heart rate and blood pressure like the hot peppers do.
Bone Health: A large red bell pepper provides 1.3 milligrams of manganese, a mineral that helps develop strong bones and connective tissues.
Carotenoids: Red bell peppers are good sources of carotenoids, which are the pigments that give bell peppers their bright hue.
Cancer: All the colored capsicums contain very high anti-oxidant and phytonutrients that are especially helpful in preventing cancers of the bladder, cervix, pancreas and prostate.
Blood clots: The very high content of vitamin C in capsicum makes it very effective in preventing blood clot, thus preventing strokes.
Immune System: Red Bell Pepper contain plenty of vitamin C, which powers up your immune system and keeps skin youthful.
Fiber: Dietary fiber is found in plant foods. While your body can digest and absorb carbohydrate, protein and fat, it’s unable to break down fiber. This plant bulk pushes food through your system, which helps prevent constipation.
Anti-inflammatory: Red bell peppers contain several phytochemicals and carotenoids, particularly beta-carotene, which lavish you with anti-inflammatory benefits.
Cholesterol: These colorful juices can significantly help to reduce cholesterol. The concentrated anti-oxidant fights oxidative stress that is the main culprit in oxidizing the LDLs in our blood.
Cardiovascular Benefits: Red bell peppers are rich in lycopene, thus making them excellent for a healthy heart.. Increased homocysteine levels can lead to a higher risk of heart disease. Potassium contained in bell peppers lowers about 162 milligrams of blood pressure which is also beneficial for heart.
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.
Fights Oxidative Damage: Red, green and yellow bell peppers are rich in vitamin C which helps in the production of collagen. Collagen keeps the skin firm and protects the cells from further damage. It increases the ability of the skin to fight against oxidative damage.
Pain relief: Capsaicin in red bell pepper blocks transmission of pain, so it can help relieve pain to a certain degree. It is also effective for eliminating headaches and migraines.
Respiratory problems: The high level of vitamin C coupled with flavonoids make red bell pepper is a very good food that helps prevent respiratory problems like asthma, emphysema, wheezing, lung infections, etc.
Sore throat: Gargle some red bell pepper juice to help eliminate a sore throat. The anti-septic properties does the work super well.
Allergic Reaction: It’s possible that you have a food allergy to bell peppers. A food allergy is an abnormal reaction of your immune system to the proteins found in bell peppers. For an unknown reason, your immune system overreacts when bell pepper proteins enter your body. This reaction causes chemicals to fight off the proteins and causes swelling and inflammation throughout your body. Common symptoms of a food allergy include nasal congestion, asthma, trouble breathing, digestive complications, cramping, skin rashes, hives and eczema.
Intolerance: If you’re intolerant to bell peppers, your digestive system lacks an enzyme to break down the proteins in the pepper. Another cause of food intolerance is a sensitivity to a substance found in the pepper that causes a sensitivity in the body.
Food Poisoning: Stomach cramps are a common symptom of food poisoning. Abdominal cramping may be one of the first signs of food poisoning. Food poisoning symptoms slowly increase and cause moderate to severe stomach pain, cramping, nausea, vomiting, excessive diarrhea and a low-grade fever. Food poisoning occurs if the bell pepper has been contaminated with a bacteria, toxin or parasite. The most effective way to prevent food poisoning is to wash your hands while handling food, cook the bell pepper thoroughly and to eat it before it is overripe.
Surgery: Bell Pepper might increase bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using bell pepper at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Here are some beautiful and delicious recipes for bell peppers.
1) Roasted Red-Pepper Salad with Anchovy White Beans: We love our greens, but in this salad they are more of an accent to the tender white beans and sweet, meaty roasted red peppers.
2) Roasted Red Bell Peppers with Eggplant (Funghetto)
3) Sweet Red Pepper-Beet Soup: This tangy chilled puree gets its striking color from earthy beets and red bell peppers. They’re cooked with shallots and then blended into a silken soup. Goat cheese, a traditional partner to beets, lends creaminess. A squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkling of sea salt heighten the flavors
4) Sausage Stuffed Bell Peppers: We love our greens, but in this salad they are more of an accent to the tender white beans and sweet, meaty roasted red peppers.