Pepper Health Benefits, Nutritional Value and Uses

What is Pepper?

Beautiful bell peppers with bright colour, smooth surface and healthy green stem. Peppers are native to Mexico and other Central American region from where they spread to the rest of the world.

Bell pepper, also known as sweet pepper, is 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.

Health Benefits of Pepper

All peppers are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, but red peppers are simply bursting with them. Antioxidant vitamins A and C help to prevent cell damage, cancer, and diseases related to aging, and they support immune function. They also reduce inflammation like that found in arthritis and asthma. Vitamin K promotes proper blood clotting, strengthens bones, and helps protect cells from oxidative damage.

Control cholesterol: Another benefit of capsaicin: A study in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that adding hot chilis to daily meals may protect against the buildup of cholesterol in the blood compared with eating a bland diet. (The hotter the chili, the more capsaicin.)

Burn off fat: Both hot and sweet peppers may enhance weight-loss efforts. Research has shown that capsaicin-the substance that gives hot red peppers (or chilies) their kick, and boosts our metabolism-keeps immature fat cells from developing into full-fledged ones. And a study presented in April found that a compound in some sweet peppers (called CH-19 Sweet), which resembles capsaicin, provides similar positive metabolic effects-minus the burning mouth and lips.

Lower your risk of breast cancer: Toss a sliced red pepper into a salad for about a third of your daily carotenoid needs. Research reported in the International Journal of Cancer in 2009 found that premenopausal women who ate two or more servings of foods rich in carotenoids each day reduced their risk of breast cancer by 17 percent. Why? Carotenoids can interfere with estrogen’s signalling ability.

Keep arthritis at bay: Half a cup (125 mL) of chopped red or yellow sweet peppers  has almost double your daily needs of vitamin C (green ones also contain lots).

Uses of Pepper

Peppers add a flavourful kick to your meal, plus they’re loaded with vitamins and disease-fighting properties.

Throw diced hot peppers into ome­lettes and scrambled eggs, top a spinach quiche with thin banana pepper slices, or make jalapeño cornbread as a spicy side for poached eggs.

They can also be stuffed with rice, meat, cheddar cheese, dried fruits, nuts, etc., and, then cooked/roasted.

They can also be grilled and served with sauce, cheese, and olive oil or with dips.

Used in preparing hot sauce; Purée an onion, a large can of tomatoes, a red sweet pepper, a jalapeño or red chili, a handful of cilantro and a large pinch of cumin. Bring to a boil and simmer for 40 minutes.

Fresh raw bell peppers are being used as vegetables in cuisines. They can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in stir-fries.

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