If you are not eating peppers you are missing out on some amazing benefits to your health!
Did you know that just 1 medium-sized red bell pepper contains 169% of the RDA for vitamin C? This makes peppers one of the richest dietary sources of this essential nutrient.
Peppers are easily obtained from supermarkets all year round and are packed with nutritional goodness so by simply slicing them up and tossing them into your salads or dipping them in your favourite hummus, they can easily be incorporated into your diet.
Red Peppers - The Body Boosters
Red peppers are worth a special mention because just like tomatoes, they contain lycopene. As I mentioned my previous blog "Get the Best From Your Tomatoes", the lycopene in tomatoes is released when they are heated. The same is true of red peppers - so slicing or chopping them up and chucking them into a stir fry or into your fajitas would be a great way to eat them - or even better add them to a tomato based sauce with a generous sprinkling of oregano this gives you a double helping of lycopene (peppers and tomatoes) and the oregano adds its own high levels of antioxidants too!
Men can reduce their risk of prostrate cancer by 35% (according to a Harvard study) by consuming a lycopene rich diet. Get eating those cooked red peppers and tomatoes!
Red peppers also have anthocyanins – the pigment that give them their vibrant red colour. These anthocyanins are associated with reducing the risk of cancer, strokes, improving brain function and helping to prevent urinary tract infections.
Anaemia is a common condition especially amongst menstruating women. Iron deficiency is one of the most common causes of anaemia with symptoms of weakness and tiredness.
But the good news is that red peppers are not only very high in vitamin C, but are also a decent source of iron too. Absorption of dietary iron is significantly increased when consumed with fruits or vegetables that are high in vitamin C as they significantly increases the absorption of iron from the gut. So by eating those red peppers containing both iron and vitamin C, you could help to prevent anaemia.
Green Peppers - The Energy Boosters
Green peppers contain chlorophyll, the pigment which gives them their lovely rich green colour. Chlorophyll helps to replenishes red blood cells, improving energy and increasing bloody flow and oxygen to the blood. Green bell peppers also contain zeaxanthin, which keeps your eyes healthy and might reduce your risk of age-related eye disorders.
Yellow Peppers - Nature's Sunglasses
Yellow peppers contain concentrated amounts of zeaxanthin and also lutein, essential cartenoids which are vital for eye health. These cartenoids can help to protect the area near the centre of your eyes' retinas (called the maculas), by dying them yellow which blocks blue light from reaching the underlying structures of the maculas. Just like wearing sunglasses, the maculas are protected them from light induced oxidative damage that could lead to macular degeneration.
Whatever their colour, peppers are delicious and amazingly good for you so why not have one (or two) today?