Nutritional Information for Sweet Bell Pepper
Sweet bell peppers are a versatile fruit that are commonly eaten like a vegetable. Peppers come in so many different shapes, sizes, and colors– from sweet bell peppers to banana peppers, serrano chilies to jalapenos. Here, the focus is sweet bell peppers, which come in red, green, yellow and orange colors. The color is based on the fruit’s ripeness, green being unripe and red, super ripe! They are filled with vitamin C and offer many health benefits.
Benefits of Sweet Bell Pepper
Cancer Prevention Benefits
Orange bell peppers have been found to cut prostate cancer growth by more than 75%! However this was only found in vitro, in a test tube. There is some research in humans that show those who eat more yellow and orange vegetables (oranges, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, carrots and butternut squash) may have less risk of prostate cancer. The carotenoids – a class of antioxidants — in these foods may be one of the main reasons why they’re so powerful. In prostate cancer survivors, higher blood levels of certain carotenoids and antioxidants may help men prevent a recurrence.
Red bell peppers contain lycopene, an antioxidant that is known to help protect the prostate. Cooked red bell peppers have even more lycopene, as cooking foods with lycopene and beta-carotene helps release more of their antioxidant activity. Men eating more lycopene in their diets seem to have a better chance at preventing prostate cancer. Researchers claim that compounds in sweet bell peppers, capsiates, are chemoprotective and anti-inflammatory, which may be true, but they tend to focus on pharmaceutical drug development rather than just push the idea that eating whole fruits and vegetables, like peppers, may help prevent cancer. It’s harder to patent a fresh pepper than a sweet pepper pill, but the scientific literature suggests whole foods are more effective than supplements at preventing cancer. In some cases, antioxidant supplements can be down right harmful.
Men's Health Benefits
Eating more fruits like sweet bell peppers will help obtain more vitamin C, fiber and phytonutrients. All of these nutrients are important to help maintain a healthy immune system and cellular function.
Ways to Use Sweet Bell Pepper
+ Saute and add to soup, stews, pasta dishes, and/ or burritos.
+ Add raw peppers to veggie sandwiches or wraps.
+ Used raw or cooked peppers in grain, bean, or green salads.
+ Enjoy raw and dip into hummus or baba ganoush for a healthy snack or appetizer.
+ Chop small and add to homemade guacamole or salsa.
Resources for Sweet Bell Pepper
American Institute for Cancer Research: www.aicr.org
Nutrition Facts: www.nutritionfacts.org
Physicians Committee: www.pcrm.org
USDA Nutrient Database: Peppers
- Boivin D, Lamy S. Lord-Dufour S, et al. Antiproliferative and antioxidant activities of common vegetables: A comparative study. Food Chem. 2009;112(2):374-380.
- Kolonel LN, Hankin JH, Whittemore AS, et al. Vegetables, fruits, legumes and prostate cancer: a multiethnic case-control study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2000;9(8):795-804.
- Antwi SO, Steck SE, Zhang H. Plasma carotenoids and tocopherols in relation to prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels among men with biochemical recurrence of prostate cancer. Cancer Epidemiol. 2015;t;39(5):752-62.
- Ghavami A, Coward WA, Bluck LJ. The effect of food preparation on the bioavailability of carotenoids from carrots using intrinsic labelling. Br J Nutr. 2012;107(9):1350-66.
- Macho A, Lucena C, Sancho R, et al. Non-pungent capsaicinoids from sweet pepper synthesis and evaluation of the chemopreventive and anticancer potential. Eur J Nutr. 2003 Jan;42(1):2-9.