By now everyone should be aware of how necessary fruits and vegetables are for a healthy diet – we hear it all the time! But do you know why they are healthy? Do you know what each nutrient does for our body? Here we will take a deeper look at seven of the leading vitamins and minerals that are found in our sweet bell peppers. It is not only important to include these fruits in our own diet, but encourage others around us to do the same.
- Vitamin C
Bell Peppers (especially red and yellow) are some of the best sources of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a necessity in everyone’s diet as it supports the immune system, helps us absorb iron, protects us against heart disease, repairs and regenerates our skin and other tissues, and even helps our body figure out what to do with all the preservatives we receive from packaged foods (which can raise the risk of cancer!) The average person need at least 70-90 mg of vitamin C per day. In half a cup of raw red and yellow pepper there is 101-144 mg. That’s more than we even need!
- Vitamin A
Vitamin A is crucial for eye and skin health. It is also needed to keep a healthy immune system! Women (19 and older) need 700 mcg per day, whereas men (19 and older) need 900 mcg per day. Bell Peppers are great sources – in half a cup of cooked red pepper there is about 106 mcg of Vitamin A. Other awesome sources include the sweet potato, pumpkin, and carrot.
- Vitamin B6
One red bell pepper contains 25% of your daily dose of Vitamin B6. This vitamin helps keep our nervous system and organs in tip-top shape by playing a vital role in our memory, movement, energy dispersal, and our blood flow. It even acts as a natural pain treatment and can improve our mood!
We often hear about foods that are high in antioxidants, but do we even know what antioxidants are? Everyday our bodies are faced with “free radicals” which can cause all sorts of illnesses and chronic diseases. For example, when our skin is exposed to ultraviolet lights from the sun, we need antioxidants to help fight against the damage it can cause. Most of these antioxidants need to come from fresh fruits and vegetables.
While red peppers normally are the highest in other nutrient values, raw yellow peppers actually contain the most antioxidants, 27% more than red! Surprisingly, raw red bell peppers contain the lowest. However, when cooking bell peppers, it is best to go with red. Because if you are looking for increasing your antioxidants, it is the only colour that contains an antioxidant that becomes 4 times more available when cooked.
Bell peppers are a good source of both soluble and insoluble fibre, with raw red peppers containing 1.6 g in half a cup. Soluble fibre can help lower cholesterol and glucose levels, while insoluble fibre promotes movement through the digestive tract.
Bell peppers are also a source of Folate. Folate is a vitamin B that does not get stored in your body, therefore you need to consume some through food every single day. It is especially important for pregnant and breastfeeding moms as it helps you make red blood cells. If you are not consuming enough folate, you may start to feel tired, weak, and have difficulty concentrating. The average individual needs to consume around 400 mcg per day, while pregnant women need to consume even more. In one cup, red raw peppers contain 42 mcg of folate. While it may not seem like very much, every little bit helps.
Potassium is a mineral that keeps your heart beating. It also helps us build muscle and protein, lowers our blood pressure, and keeps our kidneys functioning appropriately. One cup of raw red bell peppers contains about 4% of our daily intake of potassium.
There are many great reasons to include sweet bell peppers in your diet. Not only do they taste crunchy and delicious, but they have also been proven to be so good for you! Our greenhouses are now packed full of ripening peppers and we cannot wait for them to be in your kitchen! Enjoy!