Sweet Peppers, also known as bell peppers, are most commonly colored green, yellow, orange and red. Depending on the variety, they may also be colored white, lavender, purple and brown. Sweet peppers range in taste from the more bitter green pepper to the sweet red peppers. Peppers were first introduced to Europe in 1493 and they are native to Central America, Mexico, and northern South America. Sweet peppers are grown across the world, with China being the biggest grower. What may be surprising is that, aside from water (92% of the pepper), the rest of the pepper is comprised of carbs, protein, and fat. Some people may see these compounds and think that makes peppers unhealthy, but they are actually considered a healthy food. They are very versatile and can go into a wide variety of dishes, be used with dips, or eaten plain.
Good for your metabolism
Studies are showing promising results that the sweet red pepper is great for increasing your metabolism. Studies are being conducted in relation to the activation of thermogenesis and an increased metabolic rate. Even though red sweet peppers don’t contain capsaicin which is what is known to make peppers hot, they do have a mild thermogenic action. This has been studied and known to increase our metabolism without increasing our heart rate and blood pressure like hot peppers do which makes it a better choice for individuals with heart problems.
Promotes eye health
The sweet pepper contains over 30 different types of carotenoids which include alpha-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene. The carotenoids are a phytonutrient family that is the reason for the red, yellow and orange coloring found in may fruits and vegetables. These carotenoids have been found to help heal eyes and to help fight eye diseases. Research conducted with sweet peppers have found that the carotenoids absorb the damaging blue lights as it enters the eyes and stops the damage.
Helps with weight loss
Nutritionists suggest adding sweet peppers to your diet to help you lose weight or to maintain a healthy weight. One serving of sweet peppers have roughly 1 gram of fat and only 29 calories. Nutritionists suggest adding sweet peppers as a snack or an addition to your main meal. Plus, the small amount of fat found in the peppers provides reliable storage for sweet pepper’s fat-soluble nutrients.
Regulates blood pressure
If you are looking to add more potassium to your diet, make sure you are reaching for sweet peppers. All colors of the peppers are a great source of potassium. Potassium is needed to maintain a proper balance of your fluids and minerals in your body. Plus, research shows that potassium enhances muscle function and regulates blood pressure. Adding one cup of sweet peppers adds between 260 to more than 300 mg of potassium to your diet. As an added bonus, sweet peppers contain fiber which also can help regulate heart health by controlling cholesterol levels.
High in vitamins
Sweet peppers are a great source of vitamin A which is essential to eye health. Red sweet peppers contain nearly a day’s worth of vitamin A in one cup. The sweet pepper has high levels of vitamin C which supports tissue health and a good immune system. One cup of sweet peppers provides over 100% of the daily allowance of vitamin C. Pregnant women or women who hope to become pregnant should add sweet peppers to their diet as well. Peppers have folate which aids in the support of the function of red blood cells and helps to prevent certain types of birth defects in unborn children. Studies are being done in regard to folate and the prevention of colorectal cancer. Sweet peppers are also a source of vitamin K which is necessary for the clotting function of blood.
Though most people tolerate bell peppers quite well, in rare cases, people may be allergic to them. Someone with a very sensitive pollen allergy may also be allergic to bell peppers due to cross-contamination.
Try these delicious and healthy sweet pepper recipes
Roasted Red Bell Pepper Sauce
Sweet Potato Fritter