The bell pepper is sweeter than its spicier brethren, which might be the reason it is so popular. Bell peppers come in green, yellow, red and orange varieties. The red bell pepper contains the most nutrients of the group, but all are great for your health.
Here are the Top 10 from Health Fitness Revolution and author of the book ReSYNC Your Life Samir Becic:
- Eye Health: Bell peppers contain over 30 different types of carotenoids including alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin. Carotenoids are a phytonutrient family that is responsible for the bright red, yellow and orange coloring in many fruits and vegetables. Researchers have found that they help heal eyes and ward off eye disease because they absorb damaging blue light as it enters the eye.
- Prevent Cancer: Carotenoids also have powerful antioxidant effects that can prevent certain types of cancers. Carotenoids deactivate free radicals, which are the cell-damaging oxygen atoms that react with other molecules in your body. Make sure to let bell peppers ripen to maximize the amount of antioxidant benefits they possess- ripening increases the carotenoid content in bell peppers. They also have sulfur which helps prevent cancer.
- Boosts Immunity: The amount of vitamin C increases with ripening as well, and bell peppers are full of vitamin C. 1 cup of sliced red bell peppers gives you 157% of your daily vitamin C content, making them a great way to stay healthy.
- Balances Mood: If you are feeling blue, try to increase the amount of vitamin B6 you consume. Naturally occurring in bell peppers, B6 helps your brain produce serotonin and norepinephrine, two chemicals that affect your mood.
- Natural Sleep Aid: Not able to fall asleep at night? Eat some bell peppers! The vitamin B6 found in bell peppers also aids in melatonin production, which your body needs to regulate its internal clock.
- Weight Loss: Bell peppers are very low in fat and calories- about 1 gram of fat and 29 calories per cup- which makes them an ideal snack option, or a great supplement for a main meal. This small amount of fat is enough to provide a reliable storage for bell pepper’s fat-soluble nutrients.
- Beautiful Skin: Bell peppers contain a solid amount of Vitamin E, which helps keep skin looking fresh and young, and hair strong and vibrant.
- Lowers Cholesterol: Although bell peppers contain less capsaicin than their spicier cousins, they do have some. And that’s good news for those with high cholesterol, because capsaicin is a nutrient that lowers the levels of bad cholesterol in your system.
- Helps With Pain: The bell pepper relieves chronic pain in a couple ways. Vitamin C and vitamin K, both found in bell peppers, have anti-inflammatory properties, which reduces swelling and protects against osteoporosis. Capsaicin also relieves chronic pain.
- Heart Healthy: The anti-inflammatory properties in bell pepper also lowers inflammation in arteries. That means that bell peppers help prevent heart disease and diabetes.