The bright colors of bell
peppers contain high levels of
carotenes for heart health and
cancer protection, and are
also a rich source of vitamin
Bell peppers come in a variety of colors, but red and orange bell peppers contain the highest levels of vitamin B6 and carotenes. However, all of them are extremely rich in vitamin C, with an average serving providing more than a day’s recommended intake. In general, the deeper the color of the bell pepper, the more beneficial plant compounds it contains. These include bioflavonoids, to protect against cancer, and phenols, which help block the action of cancer-causing chemicals in the body. Peppers also contain plant sterols, which may have an anticancer effect.
- Rich source of a range of vitamins, minerals, and plant chemicals.
- Extremely rich in antioxidant vitamin C and excellent source of antioxidant vitamin E.
- Several components are strongly anticancer.
- High lutein levels protect from macular degeneration.
- Good source of vitamin B6 for reducing blood homocysteine levels; high levels of this have been linked to increased risk of heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and osteoporosis.
The carotenes in bell peppers are made more available to the body if peppers are
cooked and eaten with a little oil. Try stir-frying thinly sliced bell peppers or seed,
halve, brush with oil, and roast. If raw in a salad, drizzle over some olive oil to help
absorption. Fresh bell peppers can be seeded, sliced, and frozen in plastic bags.
DID YOU KNOW?
Bell peppers are native to South America and date back about 5,000 years. They were
introduced to Europe in the Middle Ages by Spanish and Portuguese explorers.