These days I’m looking at produce in a whole new light. Now that I go grocery shopping with my fake-food-blockers on, I’m reveling in the bright and tasty delights of the produce section. Today, bell peppers caught my eye, so I bought a basketful and came home to read up. Turns out, these brilliant peppers are not only a delightful flavor accent—they pack a whollop of healthy attributes on their own.
A few of the bell pepper’s benefits:
- It contains vitamins A and C. (It’s back-to-school and the weather’s changing — if you aren’t thinking antioxidants right now, you’re crazy.)
- It has anti-inflammatory properties. Sufferers of arthritis, asthma or psoriasis should definitely dial into the bell pepper’s calming effects.
- It contains fiber. Appetite control, anyone?
- It can settle your stomach. While this surely isn’t true of spicy peppers, sweet peppers can alleviate symptoms of indigestion, acidity, nausea and heartburn. They can even ward off peptic ulcers.
So, Red or Green?
Red bell peppers pack triple the vitamin C and eight times the vitamin A, MSN Health reports. Not to mention reds have way more carotenoids. If you’re feeling wild, swap your sweet pepper for a hot one, which MSN Health says can help you burn extra calories by increasing your body heat production after consumption.
But back to bell peppers: should we even bother with green? Well, why not. They taste good, they’re cheaper, and they still have a healthy dose of nutritiousness. Since they never fully ripened, they also have a longer shelf life.
Whatever color you choose, buy ‘em now: they’re at their prime in summer and early fall. Oh, and pick the good ones, advises Men’s Fitness. We probably don’t need experts to tell us this, but pass on the shriveled, blemished and cracked ones, they say — the healthy bell pepper is robust, glossy and firm.
Get ready to ring your bell… peppers!
Now you know that peppers aren’t just healthy because they can make a nutritious (but really dull) dish taste great. For better health and a straight shot at shedding pounds, crunch into a pepper by itself, toss some slices on your burger, or add it to one of these lovely dishes:
Asparagus, tomato & red pepper French bread pizza – Let your veggies take center stage with this great red bell pepper recipe from Mayo clinic:
Arrange French bread slices on a baking sheet. Add pizza sauce and a mixture of diced asparagus, Roma tomatoes, red bell peppers and minced garlic. Sprinkle lightly with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 400 F until the cheese is lightly browned and the vegetables are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Couscous & peppers – This delightful bell pepper recipe from Real Simple really couldn’t be any simpler:
Cook a box of couscous and stir in 1 diced bell pepper, a can of chickpeas, 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper… and voilà!
Stir-fried vegetable & shrimp omelet – You know you can’t go wrong with a healthy, mega-filling omelet for breakfast, but have you ever whipped one up for dinner? Follow Martha Stewart’s lead and slip bell peppers into her sophisticated omelet recipe, which is way too long to put in this blog post (well, it’s Martha!).
For more health-rockin’ foods you’ve probably never thought twice about, check out 8 Foods to Help You Lose Weight, our latest post at U.S. News.
So, bell pepper lovers: what’s your favorite recipe?