If you’re watching your weight, it’s an easy decision to bring more vegetables into your diet. And bell peppers are one of the healthiest choices of the bunch. These are vegetables rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and beta-carotene, but what about the calories? How many calories are in bell pepper?
That may surprise you – the answer isn’t as cut and dry as you may think. It all comes down to maturity and sweetness, and you can gauge that (to an extent) by color.
Green bell peppers are not mature vegetables, and because of that, the ripening process has not created additional sugars. That’s what causes the sweetness and a boost in calories. A green bell pepper will contain between 24 and 33 calories, depending on its overall size.
As green bell peppers age, they take on their color (red, yellow, orange, purple) and that added sugar. A typical red bell pepper will range from 37 to 51 calories because of that. That’s about a 65% increase in total calories. Other colors of bell peppers will also tilt the scales around that red bell range. A good rule of thumb: the sweeter the pepper tastes, the more calories it contains.
But don’t be overly concerned about this increase in calories. It’s easily matched by the increased health benefits you receive from eating those mature peppers. As they age, the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in these vegetables increase exponentially. In fact, a red pepper can have up to ten times the totals of a green. Red bells also contain lycopene, like you would find in a tomato, increasing their overall healthiness. You may be eating a few more calories, but the benefits that go along with it can’t be denied.