It really doesn’t matter how you prepare and eat them. Stuffed, chopped, diced or sautéed, the bell pepper is as versatile as plain yogurt. You can add it to a salad, top a pizza with it (a personal favorite!), stuff it with all kinds of goodies or eat it plain with hummus. Again, how can you go wrong? And, with its nutritional content and low calorie count, this gem of the garden is a winner all year round! Let’s learn the health benefits of bell peppers.
The bell pepper can thank its round, bell-like appearance for its name. These peppers are not as hot as their brothers and sisters in the Capsicum annuum species of plants — chili, cayenne and jalapeño peppers. According Whfoods.org, the reason that bell peppers are not as hot as other varieties is because they have very low levels of capsaicin, which is the substance found in peppers that dictates their spice levels. In fact, on the Scoville heat scale bell peppers are rated as a zero.
You might not know it, but the truth is that bell peppers come in a variety of colors — red, green, yellow, orange, purple, brown and even black. Bell peppers boast different flavors depending on their color. Whfoods.org lists the purple and green varieties as having a bitter flavor, whereas the red, orange and yellow peppers are considered sweeter.
Nutritionally, bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamin A, B6, C and folate. In addition, it contains essential minerals such as iron, copper and zinc. With only 30 calories per serving, the bell pepper fits perfectly as a complement to any healthy and well-balanced plate. So, how do you purchase the perfect pepper (try saying that 10 times fast!)? The bell pepper is relatively common in grocery stores and farmers markets, so finding the perfect one won’t be a problem. When choosing a pepper, pick one that is firm to the touch, bright in color and that feels relatively heavy compared to the size. Once you have your prized pick, take it home and whip up something fresh! You won’t be disappointed!