Six Amazing Health Benefits of Bell Peppers
Even though it's one of the most used foods in our meals, and one of the key ingredients of the Mediterranean diet, we don’t tend to recognize the nutritional values and health benefits of the bell pepper.
The health benefits of bell peppers are numerous. It’s a food rich in fiber, folates, vitamins (mostly vitamin C) and anti-oxidants. On top of that, it also contains capsaicin, which is a component with antibiotic and analgesic action, as well as being a stimulant of the gastric mucus and the gallbladder.
Red bell pepper also contains lycopene, an anticancer component. Next, we’ll show you six health benefits of the bell pepper.
1. Health benefits of bell peppers: rich in fiber
Bell peppers are rich in fiber thanks to their high-levels of water, their low-calorie counts and low-fat contents. It’s an ideal food to add to hypocaloric diets especially if you eat it raw, grilled or steamed.
Thanks to its high-fiber content, one portion of bell pepper will make you feel satiated, which is helpful when you’re following a weight-loss diet. It also helps prevent and improve constipation thanks to its laxative properties.
Bell peppers can also reduce the cholesterol levels in your blood, and control blood sugar levels in individuals with diabetes. Also, it helps reduce gastrointestinal tract diseases.
2. The health benefits of bell peppers include stimulating gastric secretion
Sweet peppers are beneficial for those with a delicate stomach since it stimulates gastric secretion. However, spicy peppers are irritating and have a laxative effect on those susceptible to diarrhea.
3. Capsaicin properties
Capsaicin is one of the main components of spicy peppers. It has a double effect: on one hand it has a natural antibiotic property (that’s why food prepared with spicy peppers stay preserved for longer) and on the other hand, it has an analgesic effect, so it’s used as post-surgery treatment, after amputations or in cases of arthritis.
It’s also used in balms to soothe irritated skin due to psoriasis or herpes. Spicy peppers are not harmful to people with sensitive stomachs since a moderate portion of them improves digestion by stimulating the stomach mucous and the gallbladder.
4. Rich in anti-oxidants
Peppers, generally, are a big source of anti-oxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, provitamin A and many other carotenoids such as the capsanthin (a beneficial component for our health for its ability to block the negative effect of free radicals).
The production of free radicals is due to different situations. Among them, we have pollution, smoking, intense physical exercise or sun exposure. These molecules cause negative effects on our health since they can alter the DNA of proteins and lipids.
The anti-oxidants found in peppers are also capable of helping to reduce the risks of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. Low levels of antioxidants can lead to certain types of cancer and other degenerative diseases.
In addition, red peppers are rich in vitamin C, containing more than double the amount found in oranges and kiwis. Just to give you an idea, 60 grams of pepper contains the daily recommended amount of vitamin C.
5. Rich in folates
It’s recommended that pregnant women include bell peppers in their diets, thanks to its high content in folates. A deficiency of this vitamin can lead to the newborn suffering from spina bifida. Also, the folate requirement is higher in children who are at developing stages. Therefore, including peppers in their daily diets will also be beneficial to avoid vitamin deficiency.
6. Diuretic action
As we mentioned before, bell peppers are rich in minerals such as potassium and have a low proportion of sodium. This combination facilitates the expulsion of liquids from our bodies.
For that reason, eating peppers is beneficial for those who suffer from hypertension, hyperuricemia, kidney stones or liquid retention. Also, the increased production of urine helps to eliminate toxins dissolved in our bodies. And, on top of all that, potassium is essential for nerve impulse transmission and for muscle activity.
All in all, adding bell peppers to your diet is essential. As you have been able to learn in this article, bell peppers contribute many health benefits to our bodies. But remember to eat it roasted, steamed or raw to maintain a healthy and balanced diet.