Peppers don’t have that spicy image for nothing! Peppers are an excellent way to spice up otherwise bland dishes. Peppers are fruits of small perennial shrubs in the nightshade (solanaceae) family and belong to the genus, capsicum. The bell pepper or sweet pepper is the most popular type of pepper. The small spicy varieties are commonly called chili peppers. In the United States, bell peppers add sweet flavor to hundreds of popular dishes, from crisp salads to savory pizza and vegetable-laden stir-fries.
Nutritional Content of Peppers
All peppers are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K, but the red varieties are simply bursting with them. Peppers are low in calories and fats, while being nutrient dense, containing fiber and providing numerous vital components. Peppers also contain capsaicin, a plant alkaloid that has numerous health benefits.
Health Benefits of Peppers
1. Promotes weight loss: Both hot and sweet peppers may enhance weight loss efforts owing to capsaicin which boosts and speeds up metabolism. In addition, the fiber content and its low calorific value make them useful in weight loss diets.
2. Reduce risk of cancer: Consumption of green, yellow and red peppers regularly provides the body with vitamin A and vitamin C that fights free radicals and other sources of cell damage. Peppers also contain lycopene, a nutrient known to decrease the risk of ovarian cancer. Also, capsaicin has been shown to have some anti-carcinogenic properties.
3. Prevents cardiovascular diseases: Peppers help protect against cardiovascular diseases if they are regularly consumed owing to the beneficial action of capsaicin and other important phytonutrients and antioxidants found in peppers.
4. Control cholesterol: A study showed that adding hot chilies to daily meals may protect against the buildup of cholesterol in the blood.
5. Antioxidant nature: The high amount of nutrients and vitamins in peppers including vitamin C boosts the immunity system and lowers the risk of diseases such as arthritis.
6. Anti-inflammatory properties: Red bell peppers contain several phytochemicals and carotenoids, particularly beta-carotene, which will lavish one with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
7. The capsaicin in peppers has multiple health benefits. Capsaicin has been studied for its bad cholesterol reduction, ability to control diabetes, bring relief from pain and relieve inflammation.
8. The vitamin B6 in peppers is essential for the good functioning of the nervous system and helps renew cells.
9. Promote eye health: Peppers are excellent sources of lutein and zea-xanthin, nutrients that help ward off the development of eye diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration. Peppers are also packed with beta-carotene which is known for its ability to promote good vision and eye health.
10. Prevent Parkinson’s disease and other neurological diseases: Studies have shown that peppers have a great potential in fighting against neurological diseases.