Capsicum is also called as bell peppers. It is a vegetable that is rich in flavour and can be used in various dishes like pizza, pulao, curries and chutneys. Capsicum is native to America but used in various cuisines worldwide.
It is used to garnish, and a new dish can be made with capsicum, which can be used in salads and many more. It is a versatile vegetable that offers many health benefits.
Capsicum belongs to the Solanaceae family, like tomatoes, potatoes and eggplant.
It is used in traditional medicine, and preliminary research on capsicum stated that it has various medical benefits.
Capsicum contains a chemical compound called capsaicin, making it a medically important vegetable.
Types of capsicum
Capsicum is available in various colours. Some of the common coloured capsicums are red, yellow and green. Red and yellow coloured capsicum are called as bell pepper, and green coloured is called as capsicum.
Some of the commonly found capsicum colours are
The different colours of the capsicum are due to the pigments, nutritional value and antioxidant profile.
For example, red capsicums contain phytonutrients, making them the highest antioxidant content. Red capsicum contains 11 times more beta-carotene and 1 1/2 times more vitamin C than the green variety. Green capsicum contains less sugar when compared to other varieties.
Nutritional Value of Capsicum
The nutritional value of capsicum differs from the colour of the capsicum. The various nutritional value of capsicum of various colours is given below.
According to USDA, 100g of raw capsicum contains the following nutritional value.
|Nutritional value of red
|Nutritional value of green
|Nutritional value of yellow
Nutritional benefits of Capsicum
Helps Improve Eye Health
Capsicum can benefit your eye health owing to its high carotene content—lutein and zeaxanthin. Carotenoids protect the retina from oxidative damage and promote eye health.
Research states that consuming foods rich in carotenoids like capsicum protects the eyes from macular degeneration. Additionally, green capsicum contains the highest vitamin C levels, reducing cataract risk.
Anaemia is common among females, and the most common cause of anaemia is due to iron deficiency. When the iron level decreases, it leads to decreased oxygen levels in the blood. The reason anaemic people often feel tired and sluggish after not doing any major activity.
Capsicum contains a high amount of vitamin C and iron. This combination increases the effective absorption of iron and prevents anaemia.
Research states that one medium-sized red bell pepper contains about 169 per cent of vitamin C of the recommended dietary intake (RDI). Regular consumption reduces the risk of anaemia.
Magnesium and vitamin B6 are essential for nerve health. Capsicum contains a good amount of vitamins and minerals that benefit the nervous system and reduces anxiety.
It also helps with panic attacks. Foods rich in magnesium help to relax tensed muscles, which causes anxiety.
Capsicum contains a compound called as capsaicin, which acts as an endorphin. These compounds reduce the risk of depression and stress.
Capsicum is rich in antioxidants that reduce the risk of cancer. Owing to their brightness, capsicum contains an important carotenoid called lycopene. Evidence states that regular capsicum consumption reduces the risk of bladder, pancreas, cervix and prostate cancer.
NCBI states that capsaicin has the ability to inhibit the growth of prostate tumour cells both in vivo and in vitro.
Improves Bone Health
For proper bone growth, magnesium is required. Magnesium helps in the formation of bone cartilage, which is essential for bone mineralisation.
Capsicum contains a good amount of magnesium that regulates bone health and prevents bones from becoming fragile.
Capsicum also contains a good amount of vitamin K that helps strengthen bones and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. Calcium in capsicum also helps strengthen bones and regulates strong bone growth.
Capsicum contains a good amount of dietary fibre. It helps regulates the digestion process and also provides relief from constipation. Regular consumption helps regulate metabolism and promotes weight loss.
Capsicum is relatively high in vitamin B6, which is important for the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and fats. The vitamin also helps regulates blood glucose levels and will not cause a sudden spike in blood.
It also contains a lot of water and other important vitamins and minerals, promoting weight loss. Compared to other coloured capsicum, red capsicum contains less sugar and is suitable for weight loss.
Capsicum contains antioxidant properties, which prevent oxidative stress. Oxidation of cells occurs when exposed to pollution, overexposure to the sun and certain foods that cause allergies.
These free radicals can damage the cells and lead to abnormal cell multiplication, which leads to cancer. Antioxidants can prevent cell damage and promote healthy cell division.
Benefits for Skin
Capsicum is rich in vitamin C, which benefits our skin. It also helps build collagen, which maintains the skin’s firmness and protects it from any harm.
It also prevents wrinkles and fine lines from occurring. Regular consumption of capsicum gives a natural glow to the skin.
Capsicum for weight loss
Capsicum is a vegetable that is rich in dietary fibre. It gives you a feeling of fullness and prevents you from overeating. Owing to its dietary fibre content, it helps with bowel movement and prevents constipation.
Ways to incorporate capsicum into your diet
Capsicum can incorporate into your diet easily. It can be made as chutney, dips or in salads—some easy capsicum dishes are given below.
Vegetarian Stuffed Capsicum
- Medium-sized capsicum 2
- Peeled and boiled medium-sized potatoes 2
- Onion 1
- Paneer 100 grams
- Peas and carrots 1/2 cup
- Garlic cloves 3-4
- Green chillies 1-2
- Ginger grated 1/2
- Red chilli powder 1 tsp
- Cumin seeds 1 tsp
- Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
- Garam masala 1/2 tsp
- Coriander powder 1 tsp
- Olive oil or coconut oil 1 tbsp
- To a pan, add oil, cumin seeds, grated ginger, green chillies and cook.
- To the mixture, add onion and cook till they become translucent.
- After the onions cook, add red chilli powder, salt, coriander powder, turmeric powder and salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the aroma releases.
- Now add the boiled potatoes and mash them. Add other veggies like peas, carrots and vegetables of your choice.
- At the end, add the grated paneer and fresh coriander leaves and mix well. Set aside the mixture.
- Cut the capsicum from the top and remove the seeds. Fill the half-cut capsicum with the prepared stuffing and bake it in an oven at 350 Fahrenheit.
- You can also fry in a pan until the capsicum starts to brown on its sides.
Muhammara dip is a sweet and tangy dip. It is high in antioxidants, fibre and protein.
Large capsicum 3
Walnut 1 cup
Gluten-free breadcrumbs 1/2 cup
Mild chilli flakes 2 tbsp
Virgin olive oil 2 tbsp
Lemon juice 1 tbsp
Tahini 1 tbsp
Paprika 1/2 tsp
- Bake the walnut until it becomes crisp on both sides and chop it coarsely for garnishing purposes and set aside.
- You can char the capsicum in an oven or on a stove till the skin of the capsicum becomes charred.
- Now transfer the capsicum to a plastic wrap or airtight container and steam for ten minutes.
- Remove the seeds and skin from the capsicum.
- Now add all the ingredients in a blender and blend till it becomes a smooth paste.
- Transfer the paste to a bowl and use it as a dip for pita bread, veggies or bread. Garnish with walnuts.
Capsicum is a colourful vegetable which contains various health benefits. Regular consumption can benefit your eye health, hair, and skin, strengthens bones, prevents anaemia and many more health conditions.
It contains only meagre calories and blends well with all veggies. It is one of the best sources of beta-carotene and other essential nutrients the body requires.
However, it is recommended people with bleeding disorders and blood pressure should not consume capsicum as it can cause negative effects.
Is Capsicum a Fruit?
Capsicum is a vegetable, but botanically the edible part is a fruit.
Who should not eat capsicum?
Capsicum can increase bleeding, and people with bleeding disorders should avoid it. Additionally, people with broken or damaged skin should avoid it. Consuming too much capsicum can cause a sudden rise in blood pressure. So people with high blood pressure should avoid it.
Which capsicum is best for health?
Compared to other colours of capsicum, red capsicum contains the highest antioxidant, vitamin C and E levels. However, consuming other colours also promotes health.
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