It is widely believed that bell peppers share the same nutritional characteristics regardless of color. Even though all peppers are good for you, color does indicate the nutritional value when it comes to these members of the nightshade family. The main factor in pepper color is the degree of ripeness. Green bell peppers are harvested before they have ripened fully while the red ones have matured. In order to better understand how ripening makes bell peppers better for you, let’s take a look at a few red pepper nutrition facts. Note that like most other fruits and vegetables, red bell peppers provide more of their nutrients when they are eaten raw rather than cooked.
All peppers contain many of the same nutrients, but red bell peppers contain higher concentrations of the following:
Peppers are rich in vitamins A and C with red bell peppers containing about one and a half times the levels of those vitamins when compared to the green ones. A single medium-sized bell pepper contains roughly twice the vitamin C that you need on a daily basis. It also provides about a quarter of the vitamin A. In addition, you get approximately 10 percent of your daily vitamin E requirement. Red bell peppers are also good sources of B-complex vitamins like thiamine, riboflavin and niacin. Vitamin B6 is important for making neurotransmitters and your body may need it to lower your risk of breast cancer. Red bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamin B6.
Red bell peppers contain the compound known as lycopene. Lycopene is a pigment that also functions as an antioxidant. Lycopene’s benefits include its ability to fight cancer. It is an anticancer compound that is particularly effective against prostate and breast cancers. Red bell peppers are also rich in beta-carotene; in fact, they have about 11 times the beta-carotene found in green bell peppers. Not only is beta-carotene consisted an antioxidant, it is also a vitamin A precursor.
Bell peppers also contain two carotenoids called zeaxanthin and lutein. Both are considered important for protecting eye health and vision. They may lower your risk of developing macular degeneration in your latter years.
A single large red bell pepper can provide most of the manganese that you need each day. Your body uses manganese to produce essential bone-building enzymes. Red bell peppers also provide calcium and iron as well as magnesium and phosphorous. Your body needs iron to make red blood cells and magnesium to help synthesize fatty acids; magnesium is also important for the transmission of nerve impulses. Phosphorous and calcium are used for maintaining dental and bone health, and phosphorous is also necessary for cognitive function.
Your body needs fiber to aid the passage of stool and it can keep your bowel movements regular. In addition, fiber can help to prevent colon cancer as well as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Research has shown that people who consume adequate amounts of fiber each day are less likely to develop chronic diseases.
A single medium-sized red bell pepper can provide approximately 2.5 g of fiber, which is about 10 percent of the daily recommended amount.