RED peppers are the belle of the ball at any buffet table. Crisp and incredibly sweet, these ladies in red are an easy sell to anyone who is not fond of vegetables. The only limiting factor is that they can be costly during winter, we can look forward to eating more inexpensive local peppers.
Did you know that green peppers are just unripe red peppers? Because they are not fully mature, they have a bitter after taste, and half the vitamin C and 1/10th the vitamin A compared to their red or orange siblings. Vitamin A is important for eye health, and vitamin C may prevent the common cold.
Paprika and chili peppers offer the same benefits, but with extra capsaicin, a chemical that can produce a strong burning sensation in the mouth. It’s not in red peppers because a recessive gene eliminates it.
Here are five reasons to increase your red pepper consumption:
Red peppers contain more than 200 per cent of your daily vitamin C intake. Besides being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C helps the proper absorption of iron. If you are iron deficient, try combining red peppers with your iron source for maximum absorption.
Red bell peppers are a great source of vitamin B6 and folate
Both these vitamins and minerals can help prevent anemia.
Red bell peppers help support healthy night vision
Red bell peppers are high in vitamin A, which helps to support healthy eyesight, especially night vision. So when it comes to bell peppers, seeing red is a good thing!
Red bell peppers are packed with antioxidants.
The combined effects of vitamin A and C create a great antioxidant capacity, and with lycopene in the mix, the red bell pepper becomes a top notch superfood. Lycopene is what makes tomatoes and peppers red. Red peppers are one of the highest veggies in lycopene, which has been shown to help prevent many cancers including prostate and lung.
Burn more calories with red bell peppers
Recent research has shown that sweet red peppers can activate thermogenesis and increase metabolic rate. Red bell peppers do not contain capsaicin, which is what makes peppers hot and causes us to sweat, but they do have a mild thermogenic action that increases our metabolism without increasing our heart rate and blood pressure like the hot peppers do.
Sprinkle on this spice to calm a cold, detox your skin, and even help fight cancer.
A little pepper may go a long way with your health—it might even help ward off breast cancer. A chemical compound in peppercorns called piperine may be able to help prevent a breast cancer tumor from developing, a University of Michigan Cancer Center study suggests. Pepper’s potential cancer-preventing properties are heightened when it’s paired with turmeric; combine the two in a delicious Indian-style dish, such as yellow curry.
All stuffed up? Pepper is a natural decongestant—it contains chemicals that irritate your mucus membranes, making them produce a thinner, more watery mucus (translation: giving you a runny nose) to help clear out your nasal passages, explains Neil Schachter, MD, a professor at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and author of The Good Doctor’s Guide to Colds and Flu. Just add a few pinches of pepper to a bowl of chicken soup—the perfect comfort food when you’re sick—and you’ll soon be breathing easier.