Bell peppers (capsicum annuum) are sweeter cousins of red chilli peppers. Also known as casicum, they come in four different colors - red, green, orange and yellow. They are all loaded with nutrients, but red are the ones that offer the highest health benefits.
Nutritional Facts about Bell Pepper
According to USDA 100grams of bell pepper contains following nutrients
Total Carbohydrate 4.6 g 1%
Dietary fiber 1.7 g 6%
Vitamin A 7%
Vitamin C 134%
Potassium 175 mg 5%
Vitamin B-6 10%
Bell peppers are rich in phytochemicals and antioxidant compounds such as capsanthin that gives it the red color (in red bell pepper), violaxanthin (in yellow bell pepper), lutein, quercetin, luteolin and capsaicin.
Health Benefits of Bell Pepper
Bell pepper offers multiple health benefits following are the seven most powerful ones.
1. Boost Immunity
Bell peppers contain a very high amount of Vitamin C (157% of DV per 109 grams). This is powerful nutrients to boost energy as well as improve immunity. Ripe bell pepper has higher contents of vitamin C.
You can slice them and eat with salad or put it in your sandwiches or any other food to consume daily.
Those who eat less fruits and vegetables lack Vitamin C and that is why they feel fatigue and loss of energy although they are otherwise healthy individuals. For them bell peppers and other vitamin c foods are highly beneficial.
2. Help in Weight Loss
It is just not boosting energy but bell pepper also helps lowering your weight. 100 gram of chopped capsicum has only 29 calories and just 1gram of fat.
Do not underestimate this benefit of bell pepper. If you consume less calories and feel full then you are certainly going to eat less and lower your weight. Eating healthy foods such as bell peppers instead of fatty foods particularly during snacks can save you a lot of pounds of body weight.
3. Improve Eye Health
Bell peppers are rich in vitamin E and so many different types of phytochemicals called carotenoids which absorb damaging blue lights and save eyes from damage.
Eye damage from blue light takes decades to materialize as it is a slow degenerative process. That is why protecting your eyes from the I'll effects of the light, you must consume eye healthy foods. Capsicum certainly are such important food items for your eye health.
It helps to lower your risks of cataract and other age related macular degeneration of eyes.
4. Improve Your Skin
Vitamin E in bell peppers has a beneficial impact on your skin. It blocks free radicals from within the body to cause damage.
As a result, your skin maintains it's elastic properties for a much longer time. Your Skin doesn't get wrinkles or sag.
Topical application of vitamin E is recommended by dermatologists to keep your skin healthy and vibrant. Almost all good quality skin care products are rich in vitamin E.
Getting vitamin E from inside the body is much more powerful than the topical application. Bell pepper offers that internal benefits to the skin.
Other vitamins such as vitamin A and B6 also help your skin to look young and vibrant.
5. Lower cholesterol
A compound called capsaicin in the bell peppers and particularly in the red bell pepper is a powerful agent that lowers bad cholesterol LDL (low density lipoproteins).
Although the concentration of capsaicin in the bell peppers is much less than the amount present in their cousin red Chili Peppers, it is still good enough to lower your cholesterol with regular use.
Bell peppers also have numerous anti-inflammatory compounds which directly helps in reduction of heart diseases.
So with the help of capsaicin which lowers your cholesterol and the presence of many phytochemicals and oxidants, bell peppers become one of the best food for your heart health.
6. Help to Sleep well
Do you have sleeping problems? Try eating bell pepper in the evening, at least a couple of hours before going to the bed.
Bell peppers are rich in vitamin B6 which helps in production of melatonin.
Melatonin is required to regulate your body's internal clock which decides sleeping and awakening time.
Vitamin B6 also helps your brain to produce serotonin and norepinephrine. Both these compounds are responsible to keep you in good moods.
The combined effect of all this is peaceful sleep.
7. Reduce Pain
One of the most effective benefits of bell peppers is its ability to reduce pain and inflammation. It does it in more than one way.
Vitamin C and Vitamin K are both anti inflammatory agents and bell peppers have sufficient stock of both the vitamins.
In addition the compound capsaicin is a very powerful anti-inflammatory agent to reduce swelling and chronic pain. It also protects against osteoarthritis.
In addition to all these benefits, bell peppers are rich in iron content. Iron deficiency is one of the main causes of anemia and bell peppers can help to fix the deficiency.
Bell peppers raw and cooked are not only healthy but are tasty too. Add them to your regular daily diet.