Sweet pepper also known as Bell pepper, it’s one of the most commonly employed chili peppers in the Capsicum annuum family. Sweet peppers are fruit pods on the capsicum plant grown for their subtle hotness yet sweet, delicate peppery flavor they extend to the recipes. Botanically, it is a small perennial shrub in the nightshade or Solanaceaefamily, in the genus, capsicum. Scientific name: Capsicum annuum L.
Unlike their fellow capsicum members, sweet peppers have characteristic bell shape with crunchy, thick fleshy texture. On comparison with fellow chili-pepper members, bell (sweet) peppers feature characteristically less pungency that ranges from zero to very minimal hotness. For the same reasons, they generally treated like any other common vegetables instead of spice in the cuisine.
- Bell pepper contains an impressive list of plant nutrients that found to have disease preventing and health promoting properties. Unlike in other fellow chili peppers, it has very less calories and fats. 100 g provides just 31 calories.
- Sweet (bell) pepper contains small levels of health benefiting alkaloid compound, capsaicin. Early laboratory studies on experimental mammals suggest that capsaicin has anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic and anti-diabetic properties. When used judiciously, it also found to reduce triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels in obese individuals.
- Fresh bell peppers, red or green, are rich source of vitamin-C. This vitamin is especially concentrated in red peppers at the highest levels. 100 g red pepper provides about 127.7 µg or about 213% of RDA of vitamin C. Vitamin-C is a potent water soluble antioxidant. Inside the human body, it is required for the collagen synthesis. Collagen is the main structural protein in the body required for maintaining the integrity of blood vessels, skin, organs, and bones. Regular consumption of foods rich in this vitamin helps the human body protect from scurvy; develop resistance against infectious agents (boosts immunity) and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.
- It also contains good levels of vitamin-A. 100 g of sweet pepper has 3131 IU or 101% of vitamin A. In addition, it contains anti-oxidant flavonoids such as a and ß carotenes, lutein, zea-xanthin, and cryptoxanthin. Together, these antioxidant substances in sweet peppers help to protect the body from injurious effects of free radicals generated during stress and disease conditions.
- Bell pepper has adequate levels of essential minerals. Some of the main minerals in it are iron, copper, zinc, potassium, manganese, magnesium, and selenium. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Selenium is an anti-oxidant micro-mineral that acts as a co-factor for enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
- Further, capsicum (sweet pepper) is also good in B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), riboflavin, and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish. B-complex vitamins facilitate cellular metabolism through various enzymatic functions.