Whether you toss them on the grill this summer or use them to scoop up dips, bell peppers are some of the most deliciously healthy veggies. Red, green, yellow, or orange — they’re all packed with benefits that can help with things like warding off the risk of strokes, fighting chronic inflammation, boosting our eye health, and more!
Dr. Melina Jampolis, author of Spice Up, Live Long (Buy on Amazon, $14.95), recently raved about how helpful eating more bell peppers can be to Eat This, Not That.
“Bell peppers are especially rich in vitamin C. They may give us some extra defense against stroke and some kinds of cancer,” she said. “They contain beta carotene, which turns into vitamin A in the body and helps our eyes, skin, teeth, gums, and immune system stay healthy. Many also contain the powerful antioxidant vitamin C, as well as vitamin K, fiber, and antioxidant-rich polyphenols, which can have anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor capabilities.”
That’s a pretty impressive list of perks! Those antioxidant-rich polyphenols Jamolis mentioned include ample amounts of lutein, capsanthin, quercetin, and beta-carotene.
As you may know, lutein is a particularly helpful nutrient for our eye health. Getting more of it in our diets is essential for avoiding vision loss as we age. Bell peppers also get their vibrant hues from the capsanthin, which has been shown to help with eye health and improve HDL (or “good”) cholesterol levels.
Beta-carotene is another well-known eye-boosting antioxidant that also happens to strengthen our bones and immunity. As for quercetin, it helps fight off chronic inflammation and lower blood pressure. And you might want to chow down on them when you feel your allergies acting up — quercetin is great at blocking histamine, too.
Again, you’ll find these wonderful nutrients in all of the colorful varieties, but research from Journal of Food Science claims red bell peppers seem to have the highest amounts of all four antioxidants. If you have to choose just one to snack on, grabbing that one might be the best bet.
Or you can slice up one of each and enjoy a colorful salad with red, yellow, orange, and green bell peppers bringing all their healthy perks to your plate!