Ideal vegetables for weight reduction
Bell peppers belong to the nightshade (Solanaceae) family of plants, along with chili pepper, cayenne pepper, eggplant, tomatoes and potatoes. Unlike other chili peppers, it has less calories and fats. They are rich source of vitamin C, vegetable fiber, provitamin A (beta- carotene) vitamin B6 vitamin E and potassium, calcium, manganese and phytochemicals, such as, lycopene and beta-carotene (the precursor for vitamin A). All these nutrients have disease preventing and health promoting properties. Most varieties of bell peppers, including sweet green peppers, are available all year round, but they are most abundant and tasty during the months of August and September.
USES AND PREPARATION
Raw: When bell peppers are young and tender, they may be eaten raw in salad and they provide maximum nutritional benefits.
Cooked: The healthiest way to cook peppers is to roast them in oven. Fried peppers are not easily digested, because of their high oil content. Sweet green peppers are used in cooking a variety of culinary recipes.
Used in making salad: Both green and red peppers add colourful appetizing beauty to any salad.
Help in cancer prevention: Sweet (bell) peppers contain antioxidant vitamins that block the activity of other chemicals known as free radicals that have potentials to cause cancer. Consuming bell pepper is recommended for those that want to prevent and reduce the incidence of cancer (stomach and colon cancer).
Prevents obesity: Peppers are low in carbohydrate or calories and fat and high in fiber. Excess fat and carbohydrate are the major causes of obesity. Green and red sweet peppers are low in fat, and carbohydrate makes them an excellent food for preventing and treating obesity (excessive body fat).
Cures / prevents constipation: The high vegetable fiber content of bell peppers facilitates the bowel movement and help relieve and prevent constipation (difficulty in evacuation of firm faeces.).
Good for people suffering from Type 2 diabetes mellitus (excess sugar in the body): Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Sustained high blood sugar levels characterise it. Bell pepper is recommended for diabetic patients, because fiber offers special benefits in promoting healthy blood sugar control.
Boost Immunity: Fresh bell peppers, red or green, are rich source of vitamin-C. Studies have shown that regular consumption of foods rich in this vitamin C helps the human body develop resistance against infectious agents (boosts immunity) and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body. In addition, it contains anti-oxidant flavonoids such as α and β carotenes, lutein, zea-xanthin, and cryptoxanthin. Together, these antioxidant substances in sweet peppers help to protect the body from injurious effects of free radicals generated during stress and disease conditions.
Reduce risk of developing cardiovascular disease: This special variety of pepper provides fiber that can help lower high cholesterol levels a major risk factor that causes heart attack and stroke. They also contain vitamin B6. Studies have shown that high intake of vegetables like bell peppers that are vitamin B6 and potassium help to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Photo Credit: Picky Cook