Bell peppers are not only colorful and tasty but are also packed with nutrients that provide many health benefits. Though green is the most common colour, bell pepper can be found in different colours like red, yellow, purple, orange, brown and black. If we look at the nutritional value of bell peppers, they are packed with Vitamins A and C, with significant amount of folate, and Vitamin B6. These vitamins provide tremendous health benefits for both fat burning and overall good health. If we compare the nutrient values of the different bell peppers, red bell peppers have significantly higher levels of nutrients than green.
The health benefits of bell peppers vary depending on the colour with the red bell peppers offering the most and the green ones the least. The colour depends on the variety and the stage of ripeness. Most of them are sold when they are green and fully developed but not ripe. If allowed to ripen on the vine they become redder and sweeter with high amounts of Vitamins A and C. A single raw red pepper can meet the daily requirements of Vitamins A and C.
Lose weight: Bell peppers are quite low in calories, unless you plan to eat bell peppers like a candy, calorie count should not be an issue. What is also good about bell pepper nutrition facts is that there is virtually no fat, no sodium or cholesterol. Bell peppers are considered a fat-burning food because with 10 per cent fiber, your body will have to work harder to digest it.
Free radicals: Bell peppers contain Vitamins A and C which are responsible for the antioxidant fighting beta carotene. By fighting these antioxidants bell peppers can reduce swelling in the arteries that lead to heart disease, diabetes and cholesterol build-up. Together with Vitamin A and Vitamin C they counteract free radicals so as to minimise the damage caused to the arteries, nerves and tissues.
Heart: Red bell pepper contains lycopene which is a carotene that helps protect against cancer and heart disease. They contain many different powerful phytochemicals which are known to prevent blood clot formation and reduce the risk of heart attack and strokes probably due to their content of substances such as Vitamin C, capsaicin, and flavonoids. Bell peppers are recommended especially for those individuals with high cholesterol. Red bell peppers are also rich in Vitamin B including niacin, B-6, folate, and thiamin. These vitamins are beneficial in treating depression and stress-related conditions. The folate and Vitamin B6 contained in bell peppers also help fight against heart disease, while fiber in them helps reduce high cholesterol and prevents strokes and heart attacks. This is important especially for those of us looking for fat-burning foods as excess fat contributes to these diseases.
Eyesight: As you get older your vision becomes obstructed by a permanent cloudiness in your eye’s lens making you prone to cataracts. This can be removed only by surgery. Vitamin C content in bell peppers and the carotene content have been shown to be protective against cataracts. The content of Vitamin A in red bell peppers protects your vision and especially age-related macular degeneration. The phytochemicals in red bell peppers give more protection to your eyes.
Arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis strikes when the body’s infection fighting immune cells malfunction and start attacking the joints. The inflammation doesn’t only limit to the joints, sometimes it can spread to other organs such as skin, heart and lungs. Though the real cause for this is still unknown doctors often advice such patients to consume more food rich in antioxidants, such as bell peppers. One can make use of powerful antioxidants in bell peppers to mop up free radicals to alleviate the effect of rheumatoid arthritis.
So on your next visit to the vegetable market, reach out for the bell peppers and reap its health benefits.
By Nibhanapudi Suguna