Nutritional value of bell pepper and its nutrients
The bell pepper is a group of plant varieties Capsicum annum, part of a family of products known as Solanaceae which brings great benefits for the human body. Botanically, it is a fruit, but in terms of nutrition, it is still considered a vegetable. While other varieties of this species are known for their capsaicin content (this is what gives most peppers, especially chili peppers and Cayan peppers their spicy taste), bell pepper does not contain capsaicin and is referred to as “sweet pepper” in many cultures.
There are various colors of bell pepper, the most common being red, yellow and green. It can also be found in orange, brown, white and lavender shades. There are also nutrient differences between differently colored bell peppers — for example, red peppers contain eight times more vitamin A than green peppers.
The most amazing thing about bell pepper is the extremely high concentration of antioxidants in it. One bell pepper will provide you more than twice the daily recommended amount of vitamin C and three quarters of vitamin A. And the most important thing is that when you get these vitamins with food, and not in a dietary supplement – your body absorbs exactly the amount that you need and safely outputs the rest. This is especially important for vitamin A, as overdose with vitamin A can cause extremely serious side effects and harm the body. But this will not happen if you eat bell pepper – only benefit from it!
One medium red pepper (about 120 grams) contains:
Caloric content : 37 kcal
Vitamin C: 152 mg (253%)
Sodium : 5 mg
Carbohydrates : 7 gr.
Sugar : 5 gr.
Proteins : 1 gr.
Vitamin A : 3726 IU (75%)
Folic acid : 54.7 mcg (14%)
Fiber : 2 g. (8%)
Vitamin K : 5.8 mcg (7%)
Niacin : 1.2 mg (6%)
Thiamine : 0.1 mg (4%)
Vitamin B6: 0.3 mg (17%)
Health Benefits of Bell Peppers
Let us consider in more detail the 7 beneficial properties of bell pepper, which are confirmed by scientific research.
1. Bell pepper – an excellent product in a diet for weight loss
People are often interested in the “secret” of rapid weight loss. The answer to this question is more complicated, because if you lose weight quickly you can do it in a healthy, proven way so as not to harm your body from the speed of weight loss. In addition, rapid weight loss in 80% of cases leads to relapses of the same rapid weight gain.
The most general and correct recommendation in this case is to correct your lifestyle and nutrition. Particular attention is paid to snacks and homemade food, because very few people pay attention to these two factors, but they are often decisive. If you want to eat, always keep on the home table or take with you to work a container with fresh or cooked vegetables. The bell pepper is ideal for a snack, bringing only health benefits and no harm in the form of extra pounds.
With only 37 calories per 1 vegetable, bell pepper can provide your body with a huge amount of nutrients, minimally affecting the amount of calories you consume per day. It is also very useful as a substitute for many unhealthy foods. For example, want to “crunch” in a snack before lunch? Try sliced sweet peppers instead of potato chips.
2. Reduces the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Like many healthy foods, bell peppers play a role in reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease, when this product is a regular part of your diet. Bell pepper (especially red, orange and yellow) contains a large amount of carotenoids, plant-based antioxidants that help reduce the damage that oxidation causes on your cells. Most diverse carotenoids contain red bell peppers – these include beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.
It has been proven that eating foods high in carotenoids (especially beta carotene!) Helps reduce the risk of developing cancer and significantly reduce the activity of free radicals in your body.
Interestingly, one of the ways to further increase the effectiveness of antioxidants in bell pepper is their preparation. A study in California in 2008 showed that steamed bell pepper improves the activity of antioxidants, which is called the “bile acid binding capacity”. Why is it important? The increased binding capacity of bile acids means that the bile acids recycle less in the body, and then the body begins to use more effective cholesterol to process food, reducing the absorption of fat in the body and, accordingly, reducing the risk of heart disease. In turn, the poor binding ability of bile acids is associated with an increased risk of developing cancer, therefore it is recommended to use bell peppers not only fresh, but also in boiled form).
3. Maintains eye health
As already mentioned, the bell pepper contains a high level of antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. These two antioxidants are mandatory when it comes to maintaining healthy eyes. Green sweet pepper contains over half a million of lutein and zeaxanthin, which makes it one of the best natural sources of these antioxidants!
Lutein is already a well-accepted in medicine natural treatment for macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the elderly. By filtering shortwave ultraviolet radiation, which can easily damage the retina, this antioxidant helps protect the degeneration of eye cells that cause blindness. Harvard researchers have found that only 6 milligrams of added lutein per day can reduce the likelihood of developing this disease by 43%!
For older people who already have a cataract, lutein can improve vision. Other health-related benefits of bell pepper include: reducing eye fatigue, reducing light sensitivity and improving visual acuity.
4. Improves immunity
The health benefits of paprika are clearly manifested in immunomodulating ability. The presence of large amounts of vitamin A is important to combat both serious illnesses, such as cancer, and more short-term illnesses, such as the common cold.
Much research has been done on improving immunity from vitamin A supplements, especially in low- and middle-income countries, where children are extremely susceptible to vitamin deficiencies that lead to diseases. In one study, vitamin A supplementation reduced child mortality by 24%. It was also noted that vitamin A improves the immunity of children to such diseases as measles, as well as intestinal infections.
Another study related to children in Colombia showed that the country saved more than $ 340 million in the treatment of diseases, adding to the diet of 100,000 children vitamin A, who were deficient.
If you experience an increased level of stress, bell pepper can also help improve immunity, due to its high content of vitamin C. . And vitamin C is necessary for the correction of a weakened immune system associated with high levels of stress, which affects the progression of absolutely any disease.
In general, bell pepper is a product that can help reduce any inflammation in your body that, in fact, underlies most diseases.
Other high vitamin C foods include acerola, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, rosehips, oranges, and others.
5. Helps maintain good mental health.
Good vitamins found in bell peppers are also beneficial for maintaining primary cognitive health. That is why bell pepper is considered one of the best products for the brain.
One of these benefits of bell pepper is the high presence of vitamin B6, which increases the level of serotonin and norepinephrine, sometimes called “happy hormones.” High levels of these hormones are associated with improved mood, higher levels of energy and greater concentration, while low levels are usually associated with several mental disorders such as ADHD.
Vitamin B6 deficiency has also been proven to contribute to cognitive impairment that occurs with age and may even increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and / or dementia.
6. Bell pepper is good for the skin.
A large amount of vitamin C is useful not only for your immune system, but also great for your skin! Along with the carotenoids found in bell peppers, vitamin C improves skin health and promotes collagen production.
People with high vitamin C content have less dry and wrinkled skin, and also have a lower risk of developing skin cancer. Doctors strongly recommend that, in addition to the healthy habit of getting sunbathing, you also take care of protecting your skin, including through proper nutrition.
7. Promotes healthy pregnancy
Bell pepper contains 14% of the daily recommended amount of folic acid, a vital nutrient for pregnant women. In fact, the daily recommendation for folic acid is increased by about 50% in pregnant women because of its role in preventing birth defects and keeping unborn children healthy.
Not only does folic acid help reduce birth defects, it also contributes to the development of a healthy neural tube, helps the baby to grow and grow in the womb properly.
History and interesting facts about bell pepper
Bell peppers have been a popular food for many families for thousands of years. The earliest period when people were supposed to have consumed pepper was 6,100 years ago in southwestern Ecuador, where families grew them on their own farms.
The earliest mention of bell pepper, in particular, occurred in 1699, when Lionel Wafer mentioned it as in his book “New flight and description of the isthmus of America”. Back in 1774, Edward Long mentioned this vegetable when he wrote about the different varieties of pepper currently grown in Jamaica.
Bell pepper is a unique pepper because it lacks capsaicin found in other varieties of Capsicum annum. Because of the recessive form of the gene, it is the only sort of pepper that has a sweet taste, unlike the bitter and burning taste of its “relatives”.
The potential harm of bell peppers
The benefits of a bright bell-shaped vegetable surpass any possible harm. Nevertheless, it is worth paying attention to some moments.
If you are allergic, then you may have an allergy or intolerance to bell peppers. If you find that you have any symptoms of an allergic reaction immediately after eating bell pepper, such as eczema, itching, nasal congestion, or digestive problems, stop eating and consult a doctor immediately.
If you have cramps, bloating, diarrhea, or vomiting immediately after eating bell pepper, you may also have a non-allergic intolerance. Do not forget to consult a doctor immediately if you ever feel this.
It is not recommended to eat red bell pepper in the first three months of breastfeeding, so as not to provoke food allergies in an infant.
So, we have learned what the bell pepper is, its benefits and harms for the health of women and men. Let’s summarize a little:
- You can find sweet peppers in different colors, the most common of which is red, green and yellow. Different colors carry different nutritional content.
- Bell pepper is the only pepper that is not spicy, because it lacks the substance capsaicin.
- Bell pepper contains an incredible amount of vitamins C and A, which contributes to a healthy immune system and a reduced risk of disease.
- Antioxidants in bell peppers also keep your eyes and skin healthy and can even keep your brain working at maximum levels.
- Folic acid in bell peppers is great for pregnant women, so that their children grow in the right way.
- Bell pepper was first mentioned in the XVII century as a universal food product.
- It is important to purchase organic bell peppers, because otherwise they may have a high content of pesticides. Organic bell peppers also have significantly more antioxidants than inorganic peppers.
- Rare food allergies to bell pepper, in which case the use of this product should be limited or excluded.