Health Benefits of Green Peppers

Bell peppers, which have long been a staple of Latin American cuisine, originated in South America as early as 5,000 BCE.

Bell peppers are available year-round, though they are less expensive during the summer months. Beyond their use in Latin American cuisine, peppers have become wildly popular with cooks around the world. 

Although bell peppers come in an assortment of colors, each color bell pepper has a unique taste and nutritional profile. Green peppers are one of the most savory types of sweet bell peppers, and they tend to stay fresh a little longer than red or yellow bell peppers. 

Health Benefits

Green peppers are a popular vegetable to keep in your kitchen because they are incredibly versatile and can be added to almost any savory dish. Aside from their versatility, the compounds in green peppers can offer a wide array of health benefits. 

Improve Eye Health

Green peppers are packed with a chemical compound called lutein. Lutein gives certain foods—including carrots, cantaloupe, and eggs—their distinctive yellow and orange coloring. Lutein is an antioxidant that has been shown to improve eye health. 

Specifically, lutein helps strengthen the part of the eye that often becomes damaged by blue light. Getting enough lutein in your diet may help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts from developing. 

Prevent Anemia

Anemia is a condition that stems from not having enough iron in your blood. This can limit your production of healthy red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout your body. The main symptoms of anemia include fatigue and weakness. 

Not only are green peppers high in iron, but they’re also rich in Vitamin C, which can help your body absorb iron more efficiently. This combination makes green peppers a superfood when it comes to preventing and treating iron-deficient anemia. 

Nutrition

While oranges may be known for their high Vitamin C content, green peppers actually have double the amount of Vitamin C by weight that oranges and other citrus fruits have. Green peppers are also an excellent source of: 

  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin K
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin E
  • Folates
  • Vitamin A

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Nutrients per Serving

One ½ cup serving of chopped green peppers contains: 

  • Calories: 15
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
  • Sodium: 2 milligrams
  • Carbohydrates: 3 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Sugar: 2 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram

Things to Watch Out For

Green peppers are safe for most people to eat in moderation. However, some people may be allergic to green peppers, and especially people who are already sensitive to pollens. Keep an eye out for signs of an allergic reaction, such as shortness of breath or swelling of the tongue or throat, and call a doctor if necessary. 

How to Prepare Green Peppers

To prepare green peppers, the first step is to cut around the stem. Then, cut your remaining green pepper in half and remove any remaining seeds. It can be a good idea to wash your green peppers at this point to make sure the seeds come off completely. Although they aren’t toxic and it won’t hurt anything if you miss a couple, green pepper seeds taste bitter and don’t pair well with most dishes. 

Once you’ve removed the seeds, green peppers are easy to prepare. You can cut them into wedges to eat fresh, dice them to mix into dishes, or leave them halved so you can stuff them and bake them. 

Some dishes that taste great with cooked green peppers mixed in include: 

  • Spaghetti
  • Tacos
  • Meatloaf
  • Burgers
  • Stir Fry
  • Chili
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Neha Pathak, MD on September 17, 2020

Sources

SOURCES: 

Allergy: “Characterization of allergens in plant-derived spices: Apiaceae spices, pepper (Piperaceae), and paprika (bell peppers, Solanaceae).”

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “Relationship between iron status and dietary fruit and vegetables based on their vitamin C and fiber content.”

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon.

Mayo Clinic: “Anemia.”

Nutrients: “Dietary sources of lutein and zeaxanthin carotenoids and their role in eye health.”

University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: “Bell Peppers.” 

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