The main health benefits of bell-pepper are in the vitamins A and C
that it provides. One raw bell-pepper provides more vitamin C than one
cup of orange juice.
Bell-Peppers or capsicum (shimla mirch in Hindi) originated in South
America and made their way to other countries via traders and
explorers. A highly adaptable plant, bell-pepper grows in many
The main producers of bell-peppers today are
Mexico, Turkey, Romania, Spain, and China. Bell-Peppers are also very
popular in the US, and are a main ingredient in Louisiana Creole and
Cajun cuisine. They are also used in Italian and Mediterranean cooking.
Bell-Peppers (so called because of their bell shape) come in many
different colors: green, yellow, orange, red, and purple, and vary in
taste from spicy, to sweet, to tangy. The bell-peppers available in the
US are much sweeter than those available in India.
The health benefits of bell-pepper also vary depending on the color,
with the red
bell-peppers offering the most, and the green ones, the least. The
color depends on the variety and stage of ripeness. Most of them are
sold when they are green and fully developed but not ripe. If allowed
to ripen on the vine, they turn redder and sweeter, with the highest
amounts of vitamin A and C.
Vitamins A and C function like antioxidants, neutralizing free radicals
in the body reducing the risk of disease. Free radicals are naturally
produced when the body uses oxygen, but if they are not neutralized,
they cause cell damage, which may
lead to health problems such as arthritis, heart disease and cancer. A
single raw red pepper, sweet or hot, can meet the daily requirements
for vitamin A and C.
Vitamins A and C also help strengthen the immune system. Red bell
peppers are rich in lycopene which may promote heart
health and reduce
the risk of prostate, cervical, and ovarian cancer.
Red bell-peppers are also rich in B vitamins, including niacin, B-6, folate,
and thiamin. Studies have shown that these vitamins are
beneficial in treating depression
and stress-related conditions.
Bell-Peppers are great for weight-loss, as one large green bell
pepper has only 22 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrate, has no fat or cholesterol
and contains only 13 milligrams of sodium.
To derive the maximum benefits from bell-peppers,
it's best to eat them
raw, as cooking can destroy some vitamin C. The vitamin C breaks down
when bell- peppers are roasted, fried, or grilled above 375°F. Raw
peppers are great in
salads and salsas.
Use more red peppers than green as they provide more vitamins.
Cooked or raw, bell-peppers are a nutritious and colorful addition to
any meal. Check out the bell-pepper recipes below. Although, they are
better raw in terms of nutrition.
If you boil them, the vitamin C
evaporates along with the boiling water.
http://extension.umaine.edu The Complete Book of
Nutritional Healing, Deborah Mitchell