Sweet peppers belong to the same capsicum family as chili peppers, but their flesh is mild and sweet. They add crunch, mild flavour and colour to a meal. With literally hundreds of varieties to select from, there is a pepper to suit everyone's taste. Peppers range from green, red, yellow and even purple. Green peppers ripen to red and yellow if left on the vine. Once picked a green pepper will not turn red. They are eaten green or ripe and are used for salads, stuffing, soup, stews, relishes, and pickles. They are crisp and refreshing raw, and pleasantly assertive when cooked to tenderness. Quick cooking does not diminish the nutritional value of peppers.
Key Ingredients of Sweet Bell Peppers
Per Serving: 100g, raw red pepper Per Serving: 1 raw red pepper, 164g
Bright and Nutritious
Like all fruit and vegetables, peppers are low in calories, high in complex carbohydrates, contain no cholesterol and almost no fat. Peppers have many vitamin and mineral ingredients that make them a healthy food choice. They are an excellent source of vitamin C and a source of folate, potassium, vitamin K, niacin, thiamin and manganese. The nutritional ingredients of peppers vary by colour and variety, but they are all of nutritional importance.
Peppers are rich in antioxidant nutrients, which play an important role in health maintenance. They neutralize harmful chemicals called "free-radicals" that cause cell damage in the body. Antioxidants have been strongly linked to the protection from numerous diseases, heart disease to cancer, eye disease to regulation of the immune system.
In addition, peppers are a good source of the antioxidant carotenoids Beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, a large class of natural plant pigments responsible for the red, orange and yellow colours of peppers. They exhibit strong antioxidant properties and may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and some types of cancer.
About 40% of the carotenoids we eat are converted to vitamin A; the rest function as antioxidants. Lycopene is also a carotenoid that promotes heart health by preventing LDL "bad" cholesterol oxidation and may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Phytochemicals (antioxidants) are a group of natural plant chemicals that may be protective, disease-preventing ingredients found in all fruits and vegetables. Phytochemicals are involved in many processes including decreasing cholesterol levels and preventing cell damage. Peppers are packed with numerous phytochemicals such as Quercetin. Quercetin is found in green peppers and has anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce the risks of heart disease and some cancers.
Peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C, which is necessary to make and maintain collagen, the connective tissue that holds the body and organs in place. Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds, keeps gums healthy, resist infection, aids in the absorption of iron and many other vital functions. It is associated with lowering the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
Some peppers are an excellent source of vitamin A, one of the fat-soluble vitamins. Excess amounts are stored in the liver and fatty tissue. It plays a significant role in fending off infections and illness. The body needs vitamin A for growth and repair. Vitamin A is also an antioxidant that protects cells from oxidation damage. Vitamin A is essential for normal vision and is necessary for normal cell growth and division, the development of bones and teeth, and for the health of skin, mucous membranes and the tissue that lines the intestines, airways and other organs.
Peppers are a source of potassium. Potassium is an essential mineral that helps to regulate the body's balance of fluid. It is essential for many metabolic processes and is instrumental in the transmission of nerve impulses, proper muscle function, and maintaining normal blood pressure.
Peppers are a source of dietary fibre. Considerable evidence has shown the advantages of a diet of high fibre. Dietary fibre consists of remnants of edible plant cells that resist digestion and absorption in the stomach and small intestines of humans.
There are two different types of fibre. Both types are needed in a healthy diet. Insoluble fibre is “bowel friendly” because it helps maintain regularity. Insoluble fibre is found in fruits and vegetables, especially the skins. Soluble fibre is “heart friendly”. It may help lower blood cholesterol and reduce the risks associated with diabetes by helping control blood sugar levels. All foods that contain fibre contain some of each type. Recent research has shown that dietary fibre contained in fruits and vegetables is also important for keeping the bowel working normally and may protect bowel cells from cancer-causing damage.
Peppers are a source of vitamin K, which ends up in the liver and forms the ingredients for blood clotting. Blood coagulation is not the only important function of Vitamin K, it is also necessary for the formation of new bone material and healthy bone structure.
Peppers are a good source of folate. Folate (folic acid) is a water-soluble B group vitamin. Because the body doesn't keep excess amounts of the water-soluble vitamins in reserve, the body must replenish them daily. Folate plays a crucial role in every body function that requires cell division. This helps explain the importance in fetal development. Prior and during pregnancy, folate helps prevent neurological defects, such as spina bifida, in the fetus. All women of childbearing age need to have a regular source of folate.
The many tasks of folate include making blood cells, building muscles, healing wound and producing chemicals that keep the brain and nervous system functioning properly. Folate is essential for a healthy cardiovascular system. High folate content may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Peppers are a good source of Vitamin B6 is needed in the body to release energy in forms that the cells can use. It is instrumental in the functioning of the nervous and immune systems and the manufacture of red blood cells.
Peppers are a source of niacin, a B vitamin, required to release energy in carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. It promotes normal circulation and functioning of the nervous system.
Peppers are a source of thiamin, a water-soluble B vitamin that the body requires to break down carbohydrates, fat and protein. It is also required for the proper functioning of the nerve cells.
Manganese is a trace mineral in peppers that plays an important role in the formation of bone and connective tissue in the body and plays a role in healing wounds. Peppers are a source of manganese.