Bell peppers (Capsicum annuum) are fruits that belong to the nightshade family.
They are related to chili peppers, tomatoes, and breadfruit, all of which are native to Central and South America
The bell pepper is sweeter than its spicier brethren a d is hence known as sweet peppers or capsicums. Bell peppers come in green, yellow, red and orange varieties. The red bell pepper contains the most nutrients of the group, but all are great for your health.
They are excellent sources of nutrients such as vitamins C, A and B6. Besides, they also contain vitamin E, vitamin K, folate and potassium; and antioxidants as well.
Health Benefits of Bell Peppers
Bell peppers contain over 30 different types of carotenoids including alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin.
Lutein protects the eye from cataracts and degeneration of the eye.
Beta carotene is a Pro-Vitamin A.
Vitamin A is a nutrient that supports healthy eyesight, particularly night vision as it aids in the function of the retina and prevents the development of cataracts.
2. Good Antioxidant
Capsicum has a rich mix of phytonutrients, which makes it a good source of antioxidants. Phytonutrients are compounds found in plants that protect them from bugs.
These antioxidants counteract environmental toxins and cell degradation.
3. Prevent Cancer
Carotenoids have powerful antioxidant effects that can prevent certain types of cancers. Carotenoids deactivate free radicals, that cause the development of cancer. Thus, bell peppers help in preventing different types of cancers in the stomach, colon, breast, prostate and lung. They also have sulfur which helps prevent cancer.
4. Weight Loss
Bell peppers are very low in fat and calories. Bell peppers contain a negligible amount of fat i.e. 1 Cup will contain only 0.41 grams of fat. Also, red bell peppers can activate thermogenesis and increase metabolic rate.
5. Boosts Immunity
It has a good dose of vitamin C, which will boost your immunity and also protect and maintain the lining of the heart. 1 cup of sliced red bell peppers gives you 157% of your daily vitamin C content, making them a great way to stay healthy.
6. Skin Health
Bell peppers contain a solid amount of Vitamin E, which helps keep skin looking fresh and young, and hair strong and vibrant. Also, Vitamin C contained in red bell peppers helps to form collagen, a structural fiber that is needed to hold everything together. Collagen is required by your skin to remain healthy and even minor deficiencies in vitamin C can cause skin problems.
7. Reduces inflammation
Vitamin C and vitamin K, both found in bell peppers, have anti-inflammatory properties, which reduces swelling and protects against osteoporosis. Capsaicin, an ingredient found in capsicum is beneficial in treating arthritis.
8. Lowers Cholesterol
Bell peppers contain less capsaicin than their spicier cousins, but they do have some. And that’s good news for those with high cholesterol because capsaicin is a nutrient that lowers the levels of bad cholesterol in your system. Also, half a cup of red bell pepper provides about 1 gram of fiber which facilitates healthy digestion and maintains cholesterol levels.