While the word ‘pepper’ brings to mind spice, bell peppers have a milder taste. They are often used to add flavor and texture to favorite dishes but are enjoyed as a snack, as well. With the many health benefits of these peppers, it’s no wonder they are more popular.
If you haven’t added these peppers to your diet regularly yet, now is the time. They are beneficial to your health for more reasons than you could imagine. If you want to live a healthy lifestyle and feel good, consuming peppers are an excellent way to do that.
Bell peppers come in different colors, including green, yellow, orange, and red. An interesting fact is that the green, yellow, orange, and red peppers are all from the same plant. They all begin as green peppers, and the more mature they become, the more they change color.
This vegetable is one that keeps much of its nutritional content even when you freeze them. With that being the case, you can add them to freezer meals or buy in bulk when they are on sale. After you read the excellent reasons to eat bell peppers, you’ll be wanting to have them with every meal.
Health Benefits of Bell Peppers
1. Contributes to Bone Health
Peppers contain quite a bit of Vitamin C. This is a vitamin that is necessary to produce collagen, which is what helps keep your bones healthy. Without collagen, your bones, skin, and blood vessels could all lose their strength and what keeps them together.
2. Promotes Eye Health
This vegetable contains carotenoids, which can help prevent eye disease. They can also heal injuries to your eyes.
The reason carotenoids are so beneficial to eyesight has to do with blue light. Carotenoids absorb blue light, which is a type of light that is highly damaging to the eyes. This can help your eyesight, prevent you from losing it, and prevent macular degeneration in your eyes.
Carotenoids are found in fruits and vegetables that are bright red, yellow, and orange. So, keep this in mind if you are looking to increase the number of carotenoids in your diet.
According to the National Institute of Health, these peppers also contain vitamins A and C, which promote healthy eyesight. If you struggle with night driving, you’ll be happy to hear that these vitamins help with that, mainly.
3. Lowers Cholesterol
Capsaicin is a nutrient that can help lower the bad cholesterol in your body. It is found in all peppers, but the spicier peppers contain more of it.
This nutrient can decrease the hardening of arteries, reverse obesity, lower blood pressure, and reduce stroke risk. The reason it can help with all of those health issues is that it lowers cholesterol. More specifically, it lowers the levels of bad cholesterol in your body.
4. Helps Prevent Cancer
In red peppers, you will find high amounts of lycopene. This is a nutrient that helps prevent cancers such as prostate, cervix, bladder, and pancreas cancer.
Another way they can help prevent cancer is through the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties they contain. It’s important to note that one of the leading causes of disease is excessive inflammation and oxidative stress. Both of these issues can be reduced if peppers are a regular part of your diet.
Two of the antioxidants that play a significant role in this are phenolics and flavonoids. Flavonoids have been found to have biochemical and pharmacological effects on the body. This reaction means there will be less of the oxidative stress and inflammation, making it a way to reduce the risk.
5. Boosts Your Immune System
Being full of Vitamin C, this sweet vegetable is a good boost for the immune system. In one cup of red peppers, you will consume 157% of the daily recommended value of Vitamin C. Keep in mind that the riper it is, the higher the vitamin content will be.
6. Helps Boos Carotenoids (antioxidants found in bell peppers)
This protection is another instance where the number of carotenoids found in these peppers is a benefit. Carotenoids have an antioxidant effect, and they limit the impact of free radicals. This vegetable also contains sulfur, which is another compound that helps with cancer prevention.
7. Promotes Heart Health
When arteries become inflamed, you can develop heart disease or diabetes. Since peppers contain both Vitamin C and Vitamin K, which are anti-inflammatory properties, eating them regularly can reduce your risk.
These peppers also contain antioxidants that contribute to heart health. Additionally, the peppers contain vitamin B6 and folate, both of which can lower homocysteine levels. High homocysteine levels increase the risk of developing heart disease, so dropping them is essential.
8. Aids in Healthy Sleep Patterns
If you’re having trouble falling asleep at night, increasing the number of peppers you consume can help. This vegetable contains high amounts of vitamin B6, which increases the production of melatonin. An increase in melatonin will help you sleep, and over time will help regulate your sleeping patterns.
9. Improves Your Mood
Another vitamin found in this vegetable is vitamin B6. This Vitamin promotes serotonin and norepinephrine production in your brain. Both of those chemicals are directly related to your mood, and an increase can help you be happier.
As if the vitamin B6 wasn’t enough, these peppers also contain Vitamin C. This Vitamin aids your neurotransmitter function properly, which improves cognition. In turn, your mood will improve, and you’ll feel less stressed.
10. Keeps Skin and Hair Healthy
The Vitamin E found in the peppers will help keep your skin looking healthy and fresh. It’ll allow you to have younger-looking skin for a longer time, and it’ll help keep it clear of blemishes, too.
It has the same effect on hair, too, making it more durable and more vibrant. If you are willing to get your hair a little messy, you can apply the vegetable directly to your hair.
To apply it to your hair, you would boil the peppers in water for 5 minutes, then wait for it to cool. Then, you should use it to your hair and scalp, massaging it in as you go. Leave it on your head for 15 minutes and then wash your hair with water.
This hair treatment will promote hair growth and health. It’ll also improve blood circulation on your head. You can do it as often as you want, but twice a week will have the best results.
Easy Ways to Add Bell Peppers to Your Diet
Peppers are one of the easiest vegetables to add to your regular diet. They are delicious, mild, and pair well with most meals. They can be eaten as a healthy snack, a side dish, or even as a part of the main dish.
Another idea for increasing your intake of peppers is to double up. If a recipe calls for just one color of bell peppers, switch it up and add all the colors instead.
Other ways you can enjoy peppers include:
-adding them to a pizza
-add them to a stove-top recipe
-include them in your favorite soup or pasta dishes
-put them in a salad
-add them to sandwiches or wraps
-include them in your chili
-dip them in a vegetable dip
-stuff them and put them on the grill (see directions below)
-add them to a hamburger
-dice them up and put them on your hotdog
Grilled Stuffed Peppers
One of the best ways to eat peppers are grilled, and stuffing them with other delicious foods is key. Grilled stuffed peppers are a delicious meal for lunch or dinner and can be made to serve just one person.
All you have to do is cut the top off a pepper and take out the seeds. Then, fill them with other things you like to eat with peppers. There is a wide variety of foods that go well with peppers, so try to experiment so you can switch it up sometimes.
You could fill them with taco meat, shredded chicken, beans, rice, other vegetables, cheese, or a mixture of all. Remember to cook any raw meat before adding it, though, because the pepper won’t take long to grill.
Then, once everything is inside the grilled stuffed peppers, put them on the grill until the pepper is soft. This part can be left up to personal preference because everyone likes their peppers cooked for different amounts of time.
Bell peppers are extremely healthy and are so versatile, too. This flexibility makes them easy to add to your favorite meals, and opens up many ideas for new meals.
You can eat the peppers as a side, cooked into the main dish, or as the main dish itself. No matter which option you choose, you’ll find plenty of ideas for implementing the peppers. If you’re stuck on ideas, you can reference the list above or try the grilled stuffed peppers.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring, as these peppers will quickly prove. The possibilities are endless, and you can be creative with the foods you pair with your peppers.