Bell Peppers Nutrition Facts
Bell peppers are the fruits of certain plants from the nightshade family.
They are related to chili peppers, tomatoes and breadfruit.
Also called sweet peppers or capsicums, bell peppers which are eaten as vegetables, either raw or cooked.
Like their close relatives, the chili peppers, bell peppers are sometimes dried and powdered. In that case they are referred to as paprika.
They are low in calories and exceptionally rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants.
Bell peppers come in various colors, such as green (unripe), red, yellow, and orange.
Green, unripe fruits have a slightly bitter flavor and are not as sweet as those that are fully ripe.
Vitamins and Minerals
Bell peppers are loaded with various vitamins and minerals, and are exceptionally rich in vitamin C.
• Vitamin C: One medium-sized red bell pepper contains 169% of the RDA for vitamin C, making it one of the richest dietary sources of this essential nutrient.
• Vitamin B6: Pyridoxine is the most common type of vitamin B6, which is a family of nutrients that are important for the formation of red blood cells.
• Vitamin K1: A form of vitamin K, also known as phylloquinone. It is important for blood clotting and bone health.
• Potassium: An essential mineral that may improve heart health if consumed in adequate amounts).
• Folate: Also known as folic acid, folacin, or vitamin B9, folate has a variety of functions in the body. Adequate folate intake is very important during pregnancy).
• Vitamin E: A powerful antioxidant, essential for healthy nerves and muscles. The best dietary sources of this fat-soluble vitamin are oils, nuts, seeds, and vegetables.
• Vitamin A: Red bell peppers are high in pro-vitamin A (beta-carotene), which is converted into vitamin A in the body.
Bottom Line: Bell peppers are very high in vitamin C, and one bell pepper may provide up to 169% of the RDA. Other vitamins and minerals found in bell peppers include vitamin K1, vitamin E, vitamin A, folate, and potassium.
Other Plant Compounds
Bell peppers are rich in various antioxidants, especially carotenoids, which are much more abundant when they are ripe.
• Capsanthin: Abundant in red bell peppers, capsanthin is a powerful antioxidant responsible for their brilliant red color. Studies indicate that this carotenoid may help protect against cancer.
• Violaxanthin: The most common carotenoid antioxidant in yellow bell peppers.
• Lutein: While being abundant in green bell peppers and black paprika, lutein is absent from ripe bell peppers. Adequate intake of lutein may improve eye health.
• Quercetin: A polyphenol antioxidant found in a wide variety of plants. Studies indicate that it may be beneficial for the prevention of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer.
• Luteolin: Similarly, to quercetin, luteolin is an polyphenol antioxidant that may have a variety of beneficial health effects
Bottom Line: Bell peppers contain many healthy antioxidants, including capsanthin violaxanthin, lutein, quercetin and luteolin. These plant compounds are associated with many health benefits.
Benefits of Bell Peppers
Prevention of Anemia
Anemia is a common condition characterized by reduced ability of the blood to carry oxygen.
One of the most common causes of anemia is iron deficiency, the main symptoms of which are weakness and tiredness.
Not only are red bell peppers a decent source of iron, they are also exceptionally rich in vitamin C, which increases the absorption of iron from the gut.
In fact, one medium-sized red bell pepper may contain 169% of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin C.
Absorption of dietary iron is significantlyincreased when consumed with fruits or vegetables that are high in vitamin C.
For this reason, eating raw bell peppers with iron-rich foods, such as meat or spinach, may help increase your body’s iron stores, cutting the risk of anemia.
Bottom Line: Like other fruits and vegetables, bell peppers may have many health benefits. These include improved eye health, and reduced risk of anemia and some chronic diseases.