Red bell peppers are definitely a kitchen staple of mine for their flavor and rich vitamin C content. Red bell peppers are sweet (not “hot” as you may think), tangy, juicy, and crunchy. They also come in a variety of colors including green, yellow, and orange, but I prefer the red varieties.
How to use | use raw, roasted, pureed, mashed, blended into salad dressings, chopped in salads, inNourish Bowls, added to homemade hummus for flavor, in stir-fry dishes, in curry dishes, or simply as a snack.
Nutrient breakdown of RED BELL PEPPERS | *per 1 large, ~160g
Fiber | 1 large bell pepper contains 3g DV
Protein | 1 large bell pepper contains 2g protein
Carbohydrates | 1 large bell pepper contains 10g carbohydrates
Vitamin A | 103% DV
Vitamin C | 349% DV far more than an orange!
Vitamin E | 13% DV
Vitamin K | 10% DV
Vitamin B6 | 24% DV
Folate | 19% DV
Potassium | 10% DV
Manganese | 9% DV
Magnesium | 5% DV
Iron | 4% DV
Antioxidants | flavonoids, carotenoids (mainly beta-carotene and zeaxanthin), and hydroxycinnamic acids
Red bell peppers may not get a lot of attention for being great sources of vitamin C as they should! They contain almost double the amount than oranges/citrus fruit. I often recommend incorporating them with iron rich foods to help increase the non-heme (or plant-based) iron sources. Red bell peppers also contain large amounts of carotenoids, vitamin E, and vitamin C which together provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. A sulfur containing amino acid cysteine found in red bell peppers may also be responsible for having potential anti-cancer benefits, this is also due to the metabolism of cysteine rather than it containing high amounts of the amino acid. Capsaicin is an active compound in peppers which give them the “heat”, but red bell peppers do not have much capsaicin in them. As with most fruits and vegetables, red bell peppers contains great amounts of fiber which help our digestive system moving, keeps us fuller for a longer period of time, and releases a steady flow of energy into our bodies.
Where to purchase | health food stores, grocery stores, or farmers markets. Purchase organic as much as possible, bell peppers are one of several foods on the “dirty dozen” list from the EWG- meaning foods that contain the most pesticide residue (which isn’t a good thing!).
Tips and tricks | the more you allow red peppers to ripen, the more vitamin C is produced and high carotenoid content. You’ll know when they’re ripe when they have a deep rich red color, are heavy for their weight, which may indicate how “juicy” they are, and also overall smooth.