One of the nightshade family is bell pepper fruits (Capsicum annuum). They are connected to chili peppers, tomatoes and breadfruit, all of them are originated from Central and South America.
Bell peppers (also known as sweet peppers or capsicum) may be eaten either raw or cooked. If you dried and powdered bell peppers or chili peppers, they are called paprika.
Bell peppers have a significant role in a healthy diet because they are low in calories and very rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants.
Bell peppers exist in many colors, such as red, orange and green (unripe bell peppers). The last type (the unripe peppers) are not as sweet as the ripe one and have a more bitter taste. The few following lines give you full information about peppers.
The main component of fresh, raw bell peppers is water (92 %). The other compounds are carbs and small amounts of protein and fat.
A 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of raw, red bell peppers give us these main nutrients:
- Calories: 31
- Water: 92 %
- Protein: 1 gram
- Carbs: 6 grams
- Sugar: 4.2 grams
- Fiber: 2.1 grams
- Fat: 0.3 grams
Every 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of bell peppers gives about 6 grams of carbs, which are considered to be the major of their calorie content.
Glucose and fructose are the main sugars that form the carbs in bell peppers. The sweet taste of mellow bell peppers originated from these sugars
Bell peppers are a good source of fiber, about 2 % of their fresh weight.
Vitamins and minerals
Bell peppers have a lot of vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin A: The body converts the pro-vitamin A (beta carotene) into vitamin A. Red bell peppers are very rich in this beta carotene.
- Vitamin B6: This family of nutrients has a leading role in the formation of red blood cells. Vitamin B6 family (especially pyridoxine) is found in bell peppers.
- Folate: Also known as vitamin B9. Folate has a great role in the healthy nutrition of pregnant women. It also has many roles in the whole body.
- Vitamin C: This is an essential nutrient for the body. Red bell pepper is one of the richest dietary sources of vitamin C, as one medium-sized red bell pepper gives the body about 169 % of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) of it.
- Vitamin E: It is a fat-soluble vitamin that highly found in oils, nuts, seeds, and vegetables. Vitamin E is a very good antioxidant that is necessary for the health of nerves and muscles.
- Vitamin K1: also known as phylloquinone. Bell peppers have this vitamin K1 which has an essential role in blood clotting and bone health.
- Potassium: This is an important mineral for the health of the heart.
Other plant compounds
The ripe fruit of bell pepper is rich in many antioxidants, especially carotenoids.
The main compounds in bell peppers are:
- Capsanthin: The red color of bell peppers comes from this powerful antioxidant which is highly found in them.
- Violaxanthin: This antioxidant is mainly found in yellow bell peppers.
- Lutein: To increase your eye health, you need an exact intake of lutein. Lutein is not found in ripe bell peppers, but the green (unripe) bell peppers are rich with it.
- Quercetin: It is a polyphenol antioxidant that – according to some studies – can assist in preventing particular chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.
- Luteolin: It is also a polyphenol antioxidant with the same health effects as quercetin.
Health benefits of bell peppers
Bell peppers are said to be a healthy food like all of the plant foods.
You can decrease the chance of a lot of chronic diseases like cancer and heart diseases, by high consumption of fruits and vegetables.Bell peppers have a lot of many other health benefits.
The primary cause of some types of visual weakness is aging and infections. This visual weakness is to embrace macular degeneration and cataracts.
Good and healthy nutrition has an important role in eliminating these eye diseases.
Bell peppers have a good amount of Lutein and zeaxanthin (both are carotenoids). These carotenoids can increase the health of the eye when they are taken inaccurate amounts.
The exact effect of them is that they protect the eye retina from oxidative damage. The retina is the light sensitive inner wall of the eye.
Some researches and studies refer that eaten a steady food that contain large amounts of carotenoids can eliminate any risk of both cataracts and macular degeneration.
And so, If you add bell peppers to your food, it will assist in decreasing the risk to any visual weakness.
If the ability of the blood to transport oxygen in the body is decreased, It is called anemia.
Anemia is known by weakness and tiredness. The main cause of anemia is the lack of iron.
As we mentioned before, red bell peppers are very rich in vitamin C, one medium-sized red bell pepper contains 169 % of the RDI for vitamin C. In addition to that, they are also rich in iron. Vitamin C increases the absorption of iron from the intestine, And so, help in reducing the risk of anemia.
So, If you eat red bell peppers with foods that are rich in iron – like meat or spinach -, that will assist in elevating the level of iron in your body and lower down any chance for anemia.
Some people may have allergy for bell peppers, but it is a rare allergy. Bell peppers are mostly healthy and well-tolerated.
Due to allergic cross-reactivity, the people who have pollen allergy may also be allergic to bell peppers.
If the foods have the same allergens or allergens similar in chemical structure, An allergic cross-reactions may happen.
The bottom line
At the end, we can say that due to a large number of vitamins, especially vitamin C -, carotenoids and antioxidants that found in bell peppers, they have many health benefits.
These benefits include the improvement of eye health and decreasing the chance of many chronic diseases.
And so, bell peppers are a very good addition to a healthy diet.