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Bell Peppers - Varieties, Nutrition And Health Benefits

Updated on January 3, 2016
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Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

Bell Peppers

bell peppers of different colors
bell peppers of different colors | Source

About Bell Peppers

Latin Name : Capsicum annuum

In India, bell peppers are called "Shimla Mirch".

Bell peppers are native to Mexico, Central Northern South America though today you can find them growing in most parts of the world. China today is the leading producer of bell peppers followed by Mexico.

Available in a variety of vivid colors ranging from the common green color it is available in white, yellow, orange, red, purple, brown and even black colors. They are all from the same plant Capsicum annuum and belong to the nightshade family of which potato, tomato and eggplant are members.

Also known as sweet peppers, capsicum or simply peppers, bell peppers are plump and bell shaped with thick, crunchy flesh. Compared to other cultivars of this species, bell peppers are almost sweet with pungency ranging from zero to minimally hot.

Green and purple peppers are slightly bitter while the red, yellow and orange ones are sweet in taste.

Bell peppers are not hot as capsaicin which accounts for the pepper's hotness is present in extremely small amounts in bell peppers depending on their color.

All types of unripe bell peppers start off green in color but depending on the cultivar its genetic color is exhibited when it is allowed to mature fully.

The colored bell peppers are more expensive than the green ones as they need a longer time to harvest.

Cooking bell peppers on low heat for a shot time preserves the delicate phytonutrients it contains as studies have found that high heat destroys a high percentage of them.

Paprika is prepared from dried red bell peppers as well as from chili peppers.

White Bell Pepper

White bell pepper in Budapest
White bell pepper in Budapest | Source

Bell Pepper Nutrition

Depending on their color different colored bell peppers have different nutrients that are predominant in them. For example,

Green peppers have an excess of chlorophyll, yellow ones have a higher amount of lutein and zeaxanthin, the orange ones more of alpha, beta and gamma carotene. Red bell peppers have more of lycopene and astaxanthin.

Bell peppers are an excellent source of over 30 carotenoids and along with tomato are the only 2 vegetables that contain at least 2/3 of the 8 nutrients like vitamin E & C, and the carotenoids, alpha carotene, beta carotene, lycopene, lutein, cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin.

Red bell peppers have the maximum amount of vitamin C, carotenoids and total antioxidant capacity among all colored bell peppers.

Bell peppers are also rich in sulfur containing compounds which provide anti cancer benefits.

They are low in calories and fat unlike chili peppers and provide just 31 calories per 100 grams.

The red bell peppers provide more than double the amount of of vitamin C than the green ones while their vitamin A content is almost 9 times higher and the beta carotene content almost 2 and one half times more.

Bell peppers contain low levels of several Bcomplex vitamins and many minerals.


Red Bell Pepper Nutrition

 
Bell peppers (Capsicum annuum var annuum), red,
 
 
raw, Nutrition value per 100 gms
 
 
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
 
Principle
Nutrient Value
Percentage of RDA
Energy
31 Kcal
1.50%
Carbohydrates
6.03 g
4%
Protein
0.99 g
2%
Total Fat
0.30 g
1%
Cholesterol
0 mg
0%
Dietary Fiber
2.1 g
5.50%
Vitamins
 
 
Folates
46 mcg
12%
Niacin
0.979 mg
6%
Pyridoxine
0.291 mg
22%
Riboflavin
0.085 mg
6.50%
Thiamin
0.054 mg
4.50%
Vitamin A
3131 IU
101%
Vitamin C
127.7 mg
213%
Vitamin E
1.58 mg
11%
Vitamin K
4.9 mcg
4%
Electrolytes
 
 
Sodium
4 mg
<1%
Potassium
211 mg
4.50%
Minerals
 
 
Calcium
7 mg
1%
Copper
0.017 mg
2%
Iron
0.43 mg
5%
Magnesium
12 mg
3%
Manganese
0.112 mg
5%
Phosphorus
26 mg
4%
Selenium
0.1 mcg
<1%
Zinc
0.25 mg
2%
Phyto-nutrients
 
 
Carotene-?
1624 mcg
--
Carotene-?
20 mcg
--
Cryptoxanthin-?
490 mcg
--
Lutein-zeaxanthin
51 mcg
--

Maturing Bell Peppers

Maturing bell peppers
Maturing bell peppers | Source

Health Benefits Of Bell Peppers

Bell peppers are rich in a variety of phytochemicals which give them excellent antioxidant properties. They thus help to neutralize free radicals and help in reducing risk of heart disease and cancer.

They are extremely rich source of vitamin A which makes them good for providing and maintaining eye health, protecting against cataracts, boosting immunity and lowering cancer risk. The lutein and zeaxanthin content also prevents development of macular degeneration and cataracts.

The beta carotene in it protects against breast cancer in young women while lycopene lowers the risk of ovarian cancer.

The anti inflammatory properties of bell pepper provided by beta carotene, zeaxanthin and vitamin C not only reduces inflammation of arthritis and rheumatism but also reduces risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

The synergistic effect of lycopene and vitamin E both of which hare found in bell peppers reduces tumors of prostate cancer.

Apigenin and vitamin B6 reduce the risk of breast and lung cancer predominantly.

Bell peppers prevent the oxidation of cholesterol and thus prevent the deposition of plaque in arteries also due to its high levels of quercetin and luteolin.

The good folate content lowers the risk of heart attack as it improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure.

Bell pepper also protects against development of type 2 diabetes due its vitamin C, dietary fiber and cryptoxanthin content. Even the caffeic acid found in them reduce diabetes risk.

As you can see many nutrients in bell pepper are multi purpose in action preventing a number of diseases and health conditions.

Consume organically grown bell peppers as these have higher levels of carotenoids, phenolic compounds and vitamin C as has been found in a study.


Bell Pepper Marmalade Recipes - Sweet Capsicum Jam recipe

References

  • https://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2012/jul2012_Bell-Peppers_01.htm
  • http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=50&tname=foodspice
  • http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/bell-pepper.html
  • http://www.integrativehealthreview.com/eating-nutrition/the-many-health-benefits-of-bell-peppers/
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_pepper
  • http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodtip&dbid=68
  • http://foodforbreastcancer.com/foods/bell-peppers
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22368104
  • http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=dailytip&dbid=239

Disclaimer

The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.

Stuffed Peppers- How To Make Stuffed Bell Peppers

Hummus (red bell pepper hummus recipe)

© 2014 Rajan Singh Jolly

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    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 14 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      b3, not devoid of nutrients but certainly have lower nutrient density including the phytonutrients and the antioxidant activity

    • profile image

      b3 15 months ago

      Does that mean white bp's are devoid of nutrients?

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 22 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Audrey, thanks for appreciating my effort and also sharing the hub. Have a nice day.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 22 months ago from Nashville Tn.

      Dear rajan - Thanks so much for this excellent hub on the benefits of Bell Peppers. I didn't know that all Bell Peppers start out green. How interesting! I also appreciate knowing the nutritional value of each variety.

      You've covered it all! Sharing.

      Audrey

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 22 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @Kim, thanks for reading and appreciating the information. Have a nice day and Namaste.

      @Paul, thanks for visiting and also sharing this hub. Just writing on here more now that mst of the other writing sites have gone kaput. Also have 2 websites but more busy with my you tube channels with Indian recipes.

      Hope you have fully recovered now.

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 22 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Rajan, I have always enjoyed eating green bell peppers especially when stuffed with meat. My folks grew a lot in our garden. This is an awesome well-researched hub with great useful information. Please share with me on Facebook the other sites you are now writing on. I am sharing this with HP followers and also on Facebook.

    • profile image

      Kim 22 months ago

      Loved your article thank you very much. It's truly amazing how informative and detailed this was. I loved the scientific vitamin and nutrients chart you included too. It's great seeing how it can help prevent cancers, stop developing diabetes and cholesterol as well as other common malicious health issues Americans come down with. Thanks again, namaste Rajan! Kim

    • FatBoyThin profile image

      Colin Garrow 2 years ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      I didn’t realise there was any difference in bell peppers – thought it was simply that they were harvested at different times. This is all very interesting. Great Hub, voted up

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thelma, thanks for stopping by and I'm glad you will find bell peppers in Germany.

      Thanks for the vote and sharing the hub.

      Hope you have a nice day my friend. So good to see you.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 3 years ago from Germany

      I love bell peppers but I have not eaten these for a few months now. I have not seen bell peppers in the supermarket where I live for a few months in the Philippines. I miss this vegetable and I´m glad I´ll be flying back soon to my adopted country. Thanks for making me hungry Rajan. LOL! Great hub as usual. Voted up and shared.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Yes of course they add color along with health benefits. Appreciate your visit and comments. Thanks, Rochelle.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 3 years ago from California Gold Country

      Very informative. I use bell peppers a lot in my cooking-- I knew they had a lot of nutritional benefits, but they also add ao much color to the plate to make meals attractive and inviting.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thank you Eddy and nice to see you like the info on bell peppers.

      Thanks for the vote and sharing.

      Have a nice day!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Another wonderful addition to this great series of yours Rajan. Voted up and shared.

      Here's wishing you a great day.

      Eddy.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @precy anza, maybe you could find a way of including this healthy vegetable more often in your diet. Thanks for the visit and sharing.

      @Nithya, thanks.

      @Audrey, all that color provides a lot of health benefits for sure. Glad you like them. Thanks for appreciating.

      @Devika, thanks for the visit and votes.

      @Rebecca, thank you.

      @ologsinquito, you are right. Some research has pointed in this direction. Thanks for stopping by.

      @Daisy, thank you very much.

      @Dora, it's only during my research that I learned of the existence of white bell peppers as I've not seen them here. Thank you for visiting.

      @Bill, thank you and good to know you love them. Good to see you always.

      @Debby, thanks for dropping by.

      @suzette, thanks for appreciating and liking the info. Thanks for being here.

      @Dianne, I too prefer them stuffed but with potatoes and spices. I appreciate your visit and comments.

      @Flourish, I'm glad the hub provided you with some new information. Thanks for coming by.

      @Audrey, yes they seem to be quite rare. Thanks for being here.

      @Linda, good to know you prefer to eat all the colored ones. This way you can get a variety of carotenoids. Thanks for visiting.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I never had or seen white bell peppers, I've eaten every other color :)

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 3 years ago from California

      I have never heard of white bell peppers before--one of my favorite vegetables!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      I certainly did not know they came in white or purple! Very cool! We grow green, red and yellow ones, and I like to mix them in "Texas eggs" in the morning and baked rice for a little flavor punch. I also didn't know their connection to paprika. Very interesting!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      My best bell pepper dish is stuffed green peppers, which you post a video of here. Thanks for the information, makes me glad I love them so much!

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 3 years ago from Taos, NM

      Great hub! I love bell peppers and eat all the colors of them. They are so healthy and there is so much you can do with peppers. I love them roasted and I love stuffed peppers. They are great in salads and for just a snack. This is truly and informative and interesting hub!

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 3 years ago

      Very good information

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      All right! Something I can relate to! I love peppers...all kinds...all shapes....and now I feel good about that because you have told me about their benefits. Thank you, Rajan, and blessings to you always.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      First time seeing or hearing about the white bell pepper. Also learned much about the other colors. Thank you.

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image

      Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Rajan,

      Thanks for writing this comprehensive article about bell peppers. Your food-related article are always very informative.

      I've purchased green, red, yellow, and orange bell peppers in my local farmers' market. The green ones are usually a lot less expensive than the others, so they're the ones I buy most of the time. The orange ones have the sweetest taste.

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

      Very good article on this popular vegetable. I have no doubt that bell peppers may have some protective effect against cancer.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Amazing! I didn't know there were black and white bell peepers. I love using colorful ones in salads. Thanks for outlining the health benefits of bell peppers along with some recipes. Those stuffed peppers look delicious!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Bell peppers are among my best vegetables and I so enjoy cooking with the different flavors of each. I like the photos and you always create such interesting hubs. Informative and well-researched. Voted up, interesting and useful.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 3 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Rajan - What a magnificent array of beautiful peppers. I've never seen white ones before. I love stuffed bell peppers. Interesting how the different varieties fill different nutritional needs.

      Thanks so much for keeping us all on a healthy track - Big hugs - Audrey

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Great hub with lots of useful information about bell peppers.

    • precy anza profile image

      precy anza 3 years ago from USA

      You always write very informative hubs Rajan. :) My mom would always tell me to eat bell peppers but I'm not just into them. Sometimes I do, just sometimes. Good to learn it is a good source of A vitamin and anti inflammatory. Up and shared!