Tasty and versatile, bell peppers are unique foods from the plants of the species Capsicum annuum. Unlike banana, jalapeno, or cayenne peppers, bell peppers are sweet instead of spicy. This makes them a popular ingredient that adds flavor to many dishes without adding heat. Bell peppers may be eaten on their own or cooked in a variety of healthy recipes to add a nutrient-packed boost to any diet.
Although most people call bell peppers vegetables, bell peppers are actually fruits produced by flowering plants. Bell peppers come in several colors, including red, yellow, and green. Due to the ripening process, red bell peppers usually have the sweetest flavor.
Bell peppers are low in calories and high in nutrients, including several important vitamins. A one-cup serving of chopped green bell pepper contains 120 milligrams of vitamin C. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron and heal wounds. It may also play a role in preventing a variety of health conditions, including heart disease and cancer.
Other health benefits of bell peppers include:
Lower blood pressure
Experts believe that diets high in vitamin C may aid in controlling blood pressure. Vitamin C acts as a diuretic, meaning it helps remove excess body fluid. Getting rid of excess body fluid helps reduce pressure within your blood vessels.
Reduced risk of heart attack
In addition to helping control blood pressure, bell peppers contain an anticoagulant that may help prevent the blood clots responsible for heart attacks.
Despite only having 30 calories in every one-cup serving, raw bell peppers contain 2.5 grams of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber helps promote digestive health by adding bulk to your stools. This makes them easier to pass. A diet high in fiber may also reduce the likelihood of hemorrhoids.
Reduced risk of diabetes
High-fiber foods, such as bell peppers, slow down how quickly sugar is absorbed into your bloodstream. The vitamin C abundant in bell peppers may also help reduce elevated blood sugar levels in people with Type 2 diabetes.
Nutrients per Serving
A one-cup serving of chopped bell pepper contains:
- Calories: 30
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: Less than 1 gram
- Carbohydrates: 7 grams
- Fiber: 2.5 grams
- Sugar: 3.5 grams
Bell peppers are also a wonderful source of:
How to Prepare Bell Peppers
Bell peppers can be purchased year-round in most grocery stores. Because they are so easy to grow, many people like to grow fresh bell peppers in their gardens at home.
Harvest time varies based on the type of bell pepper, as well as where and when it is planted. In most cases, bell peppers are ready to harvest within two or three months of planting. The peak season for bell peppers is usually from July through August, but bell peppers continue to grow well into September.
Bell peppers can be used to make a variety of meals more nutritious. Their mild flavor makes them uniquely versatile. Try these ideas to incorporate more bell peppers into your diet:
- Enjoy slices of bell pepper dipped in hummus.
- Toss chopped bell peppers into a romaine salad with cherry tomatoes and dressing.
- Stir fry bell peppers with a medley of vegetables.
- Add chopped bell peppers into an egg bake or omelet.
- Top bell peppers with cheese and ground beef to create a healthier version of nachos.
- Include bell peppers with feta cheese in a savory pie.
- Stuff bell peppers with ground beef, cheese, and salsa.
- Stuff bell peppers with pizza sauce, crumbled sausage, and mozzarella cheese.