Sweet red peppers are the belle of the ball at any buffet table. Crisp and incredibly sweet, these ladies in red are an easy sell to anyone who is not fond of vegetables. The only limiting factor is that they can be costly during winter, but now that it’s July, we can look forward to eating more local organic peppers.
Did you know that green peppers are just unripe red peppers? Because they are not fully mature, they have a bitter after taste, and half the vitamin C and 1/10th the vitamin A compared to their red or orange siblings. Vitamin A has been shown to protect the skin for axidative stress, and vitamin C helps build collagen, which ensures youthful skin – this combination makes peppers one of nature’s beauty foods!
Paprika and chili peppers offer the same benefits, but with extra capsaicin, a chemical that can produce a strong burning sensation in the mouth. This stimulating heat has been shown to increase blood flow making it a popular remedy for libido and pain relief. That said, I do not recommend using chili pepper as it can be irritating to the digestive system.
Special Note About Nightshade Vegetables
The nightshade vegetables contain an alkaloid solanine that can increase severe pain in the joints and the soft tissue if you are sensitive to it. This can give rise to arthritis and fibromyalgia flare-ups. About 25% of Rheumatoid Arthritis suffers experience a reduction in symptoms when removing the nightshade family. The nightshade family of plants includes tomato, pepper (sweet and hot), paprika, white potato, eggplant, goji berry and tobacco. For more information on Rheumatoid Arthritis, click here.
Here are five more alluring facts to increase your red pepper consumption
1. Red peppers contain almost 300 percent of your daily vitamin C intake: Besides being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C is also needed for the proper absorption of iron. (1) If you are iron deficient, try combining red peppers with your iron source for maximum absorption.
2. Red bell peppers are a great source of vitamin B6 and magnesium: This vitamin and mineral combination shows a decrease in anxiety, especially related to pre-menstrual symptoms. (2) Vitamin B6 is also a natural diuretic, so try stocking up on red bell peppers to reduce bloating and prevent against hypertension.
3. Red bell peppers help support healthy night vision: Red bell peppers are high in vitamin A, which helps to support healthy eyesight, especially night vision. (3) So when it comes to bell peppers, seeing red is a good thing!
4. Red bell peppers are packed with antioxidants: The combined effects of vitamin A and C create a great antioxidant capacity, and with lycopene in the mix, the red bell pepper becomes a top notch superfood. (4) Lycopene is what makes tomatoes and peppers red. Red peppers are one of the highest veggies in lycopene, which has been successfully tested in the prevention of many cancers including prostate and lung.
5. Burn more calories with red bell peppers: Recent research has shown that sweet red peppers can activate thermogenesis and increase metabolic rate. (5) Red bell peppers do not contain capsaicin, which is what makes peppers hot and causes us to sweat, but they do have a mild thermogenic action that increases our metabolism without increasing our heart rate and blood pressure like the hot peppers do.
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1. Richard Hurrell, Ines Egli: "Iron bioavailability and dietary reference values" AMJ CLIN NUTR 2014 Impact Factor 6.8
2. Shaheen E Lakhan, Karen F Vieira: "Nutritional and herbal supplements for anxiety and anxiety-related disorders: systematic review" Lakhan and Vieira Nutrition Journal 2010, 9:42
3. Alexandra Braunstein, MD, Danielle Trief, MD, Nan-Kai Wang, MD, Stanley Chang, MD, and Stephen H Tsang, MD: "Vitamin A deficiency in New York City" Lancet. 2010 July 24; 376(9737): 267. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(09)61874-2.
4. Mara DUMA, Ina ALSINA: "The content of plant pigments in red and yellow bell peppers" Scientific Papers, Series B, Horticulture, Vol. LVI, 2012 ISSN Online 2286-1580, ISSN-L 2285-5653
5. Mary-Jon Ludy, Richard D. Mattes: "The effects of hedonically acceptable red pepper doses on thermogenesis and appetite" US National Library of Medicine/ National Institutes of Health. Physiol Behav. 2011 Mar 1; 102(3-4): 251–258.