Here are red bell pepper nutrition facts and health benefits. The benefits of red bell pepper mentioned in this article are based on studies.
Red pepper—also called bell pepper, red bell pepper, capsicum, or sweet pepper—has a mildly sweet yet earthy taste. These peppers are fully mature versions of the more bitter green bell peppers.
The red pepper is a variety of Capsicum annuum, a family that also includes cultivars like jalapeño, cayenne pepper, chili pepper, and a few other hot peppers. While you’ll see other types of peppers that are red in color, only the red bell pepper is colloquially known as “red pepper.”
Capsicum annuum is native to Central and South America, and it likely began its domestication in central Mexico about 7,500 years ago. Over time, several varieties took shape and continue today as cultivars. Bell peppers were one of those varieties and were actively cultivated before Spanish exploration in the 1400s.
Red peppers, now grown around the world, remain popular for the way their sweet flavors liven up many dishes.
1. Red Bell Pepper Nutrition Facts
One cup of chopped, raw red bell pepper (149g) provides 39 calories, 1.5g of protein, 9g of carbohydrates, and 0.5g of fat. Red bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A. The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA.
Vitamin C: 190mg
Carbs: The non-fiber carbohydrates in red bell peppers are mostly glucose and fructose, both of which are naturally occurring sugars. Raw green bell peppers have slightly fewer carbs and less fiber than their red counterparts, with 6.9g of carbohydrate and 2.5g fiber per cup.
The glycemic index of bell peppers has not been studied. They are presumed to have no effect on your blood sugar due to their low carb content.
Fat: Bell peppers are very low in fat, and most of that fat is healthy polyunsaturated fat.
Protein: As is typical for vegetables, bell peppers have only a small amount of protein. For a balanced diet, be sure to include protein sources such as legumes, nuts, dairy, meat, or fish in your diet.
Vitamins and Minerals: Red bell peppers are packed with nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin B6. Vitamin C, perhaps one of the best-known antioxidants, offers a variety of health benefits: supporting immune function, facilitating cell repair, aiding in the absorption of folate, and assisting in collagen production for healthy bones, skin, and hair.
Vitamin C also facilitates iron absorption, so it may help prevent iron deficiency anemia (by building the body’s stores of iron) or aid in the recovery from mild anemia. Red peppers also contain some iron.
Red bell peppers deliver other key antioxidants that help protect cells from oxidative damage. These include carotenoids such as lycopene, beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
Bell peppers are also a source of vitamin E, vitamin K, folate, potassium, and manganese. A large red bell pepper provides 1.3 milligrams of manganese, contributing 55% to 75% of your daily needs for that mineral.
2. Health Benefits of Red Bell Pepper
Lutein and zeaxanthin carotenoids are found in relatively high amounts in bell peppers. Some studies indicate that regular consumption of foods rich in these carotenoids may reduce the risk of both cataracts and macular degeneration. Therefore, adding more bell peppers to your diet can help reduce the risk of vision loss.
Prevention of Anemia
Anemia is a common condition characterized by a decreased ability to carry oxygen in your blood. One of the most common causes of iron deficiency anemia, the main symptoms of which are weakness and fatigue.
Red bell peppers are not only considered a rich source of iron, but red bell peppers are especially rich in vitamin C, which helps increase the absorption of iron from your intestines.
A medium-sized red bell pepper can contain 169% of the RDI for vitamin C. It is the vitamin C content in bell peppers that helps to significantly increase the absorption of dietary iron.
Therefore, eating raw bell peppers with iron-rich foods such as: Meat or spinach, can help increase iron stores in the body, reducing the risk of anemia.
Immune System Support
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that fights cell damage, boosts immune system response to microbes, and has an anti-inflammatory effect. Red peppers are rich in vitamin c, though roasting them reduces their vitamin C content by up to 25 percent.
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. Lycopene is what makes tomatoes and peppers red. Red peppers are one of the highest veggies in lycopene, which has been shown to help prevent many cancers including prostate and lung.
Burn More Calories
Recent research has shown that sweet red peppers can activate thermogenesis and increase metabolic rate. 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.
May Promote Bone Health
The high manganese content in sweet peppers may also help prevent bone loss because trace elements like manganese (present in red bell peppers), copper, and zinc are characteristically low in people with the disease.