Health Benefits of Bell Peppers
Bell peppers are crunchy, sweet, juicy fruits, which we eat like a vegetable. They are from the same family, Capsicum annuum, as jalapeno and cayenne peppers. However, bell peppers have a recessive gene reducing their capsaicin content, which is why they aren’t spicy like those other peppers.
Bell peppers are part of the nightshade family along with tomatoes, tobacco, eggplant and potatoes. They are native to South and Central America. Bell peppers are shiny and can be green, red, orange, yellow and sometimes purple or white. Many green bell peppers are the unripe version of the other colors. To choose a good bell pepper, opt for heavy peppers with smooth skin. Ripe bell peppers contain more nutrients than unripe ones.
Bell peppers have high water content, which gives them their crispness. They also contain fiber. They are low in fat and calories. They have a wide array of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making them an important part of a healthy diet. These nutrients help maintain strong and healthy bodies.
Bell peppers are exceptionally high in vitamin C. Bell peppers contain twice the amount of vitamin C as an orange or 169 percent of the recommended daily value. Vitamin C boosts the immune system and reduces inflammation. Bell pepper’s vitamin C content also plays a role in preventing anemia as it aids in the absorption of iron.
Bell peppers are rich in B6 and folate. These two nutrients are key players in cellular renewal and nervous system health. Bell peppers are rich in several minerals, including potassium, manganese, and magnesium. They also contain a healthy dose of vitamin E.
Vitamin K is also found in bell peppers. Vitamin K is crucial for the absorption of calcium in the body and is thought to help protect against osteoporosis. Vitamin K is also important for proper blood clotting. Plus, these crunchy, colorful peppers provide almost 100 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin A.
Bell peppers also have over 30 important carotenoids like lutein, lycopene, beta-carotene and zeaxanthin. There are not many other foods that contain this many antioxidant carotenoids. In fact, only tomatoes and bell peppers make the list. For this reason, they are good for overall eye health. These antioxidants also protect the body against free radicals and have anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown the importance of antioxidants in helping to reduce the likelihood that certain cancers will develop.
All these nutrients combined equal one super-saturated, tasty pepper. Not only do they provide key nutrients for our day-to-day life, but they play a part in preventing chronic diseases and reducing oxidative stress. To enjoy these benefits and more, try our delicious salsa. It comes in medium, mild and spicy, so everyone can have a favorite!