Yes, Bell Pepper is Paleo!
Bell pepper is the fruit of certain plants in the family Capsicum (nightshades). It is related to eggplants, tomatoes and chilli peppers and are native to Central and South America. Bell pepper is commonly red and green in color but other varieties come in yellow, orange, purple, brown and even black. The green and purple ones have slightly bitter taste while the red, yellow and orange are sweet and fruity.
Bell pepper has a beautiful bell shape with glossy skin and usually features three or four lobes. It has a sweet, tangy taste and crunchy texture. Capsaicin is the compound found in peppers that give bell pepper its slight “hot” taste.
The mild sweet flavor and fresh crisp of bell pepper makes it a perfect addition to dishes like pizza, salads, soups, stews and dips. It can be consumed raw or cooked.
Nutrients of Bell Pepper
Bell pepper is a very nutrient-dense Paleo food. It contains numerous amounts of vitamins and minerals and healthy antioxidants.Bell pepper is loaded with vitamins A, B, C, E and K and minerals iron, copper, potassium, magnesium, folate, dietary fiber and phosphorus.Bell pepper contains exceptionally high amounts of antioxidants and flavanoids including carotenes, capsanthin, capsaicin, violaxanthin, lutein, quercetin and luteolin.
This Paleo food is low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium.
Remarkable Health Benefits of Bell Pepper
With all the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants found in bell pepper, it is indeed a healthy Paleo food. Below are the astounding benefits of bell pepper:
- Bell pepper is one of the richest sources of vitamin C which is a natural antioxidant. Its antioxidative properties neutralize free radicals therefore reducing the risk of diseases such as atherosclerosis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and other inflammatory conditions. Vitamin C is also responsible in preventing infections.
- The antioxidants found in bell pepper have anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant essential for healthy nerves and muscles. It helps protect the cells from damage and supports a strong immune system. Capsaicin is a compound that give peppers its hot taste. It has anti-inflammatory benefits which can protect against diseases associated with inflammation.
- The excellent amounts of vitamin A in the forms of carotenoids in bell pepper have anti-inflammatory properties and both are required to protect against macular degeneration and cataract formation. These are lutein and zeaxanthin. When consumed in sufficient quantities, they are effective in improving eye health by protecting the retina from oxidative stress.
- Potassium is another component of bell pepper that is good for heart health. It regulates the blood pressure levels in the body, thus reducing risk of heart diseases.
- Bell pepper contains both vitamin B6 and folic acid which are important for regulating homocysteine levels and formation of red blood cells. It also has phylloquinone, a form of vitamin K that prevents blood from clotting.
- Sufficient amounts of dietary fiber in bell pepper is good for digestive health, therefore preventing constipation and formation of haemorrhoids. Fiber can also lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
But Bell Pepper is a Nightshade!
Bell pepper belongs to the Solanaceae family, commonly known as nightshades. These include tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and peppers. We already know that nightshades can cause musculoskeletal problems such as arthritis and joint pains to some people. If you are one of the few that are nightshade intolerant, then might as well stay away from bell peppers.
Other Names for Bell Pepper
Sweet peppers, capsicums
What Experts Say About Bell Pepper
Along with carotenoids and lycopene, bells supply nearly three times your daily value for vitamin C, all of your daily vitamin A requirement (as beta carotene) and a nice dose of B6. – Mark Sisson
All you ever wanted to know about Bell Pepper and Paleo
Mark’s Daily Apple. A Visual Guide to Peppers
Mark’s Daily Apple. Smart Fuel: Bell Peppers
Paleo Porn. Are Peppers Paleo?
Original Eating. Peppers
SF Gate. What Are the Benefits of Eating Green Bell Peppers?
World’s Healthiest Foods. Bell Peppers
The Paleo Diet. Paleo Nightshades
Authority Nutrition. Bell Peppers 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits
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photo credit: peppers