Bell peppers and a crunchy and colourful addition to any salad. They are also enjoyed roasted or baked, sprinkled with olive oil, or added to stir fries and stews. Green peppers are actually unripened yellow or red peppers, and therefore are less nutritious then their more mature counterparts, with red peppers being the most nutritious. The health benefits of Bell Peppers include lung health, cancer prevention and healthy eyesight.
Bell Pepper Nutrition
Bell peppers are best known for their exceptionally high content of vitamin C. Just half a cup of chopped red or yellow peppers supplies more than 200% of the Daily Value for vitamin C. Red peppers also contain beta-carotene (an antioxidant and precursor to vitamin A), as well as the phytonutrients lycopene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein and zexanthin. Peppers are also a source of fibre, folate and magnesium.
Bell Peppers for Healthy Lungs
Since peppers contain a wide array of antioxidants, they help detoxify the body and prevent disease. The carotenoid antioxidant, beta-carotene, has been shown to help protect the lungs from disease and studies have shown that people with emphyseama have vitamin A deficiencies.
Bell Peppers for Cancer Prevention
The antioxidant lycopene has applications in the prevention of certain types of cancer, particularly prostate, lung, bladder and pancreatic. Because peppers are rich in folate, fibre and vitamin C, eating them may help offset colon cancer.
The antioxidant beta-cryptoxanthin has been shown to have applications in lung cancer prevention.
Bell Peppers for Healthy Eyesight
Another health benefit of bell peppers is related to their ability to improve eyesight. The antioxidants lutein and zexanthin help prevent and slow macular degeneration, a type of age-related loss of eyesight. Supplementing with these antioxidants is now standard practice for this condition. There is also evidence that compounds on bell peppers can help prevent cataracts.
Bell peppers belong to the nightshade family of vegetables (along with tomatoes, eggplant and potatoes). Although evidence is lacking, there is some concern that nightshade vegetables could aggravate arthritis symptoms.