Bell peppers are extremely nutritious:
It is a shame that they are still a little bit under-rated in our American cooking. Let's see which ones are the best food for macular health and why.
Red, yellow, and orange peppers get their colors from plant pigments called carotenoids. These pigments also give them some of their most important health effects. They act like sunscreen, safeguarding the ripening peppers from sun damage. It is a gift from nature that those pigments have a similar protecting effect on us. Like other antioxidants, carotenoids also help boost immunity and fight against aging.
They're valuable for vision as well, especially orange peppers. They are a high source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two macular carotenoids. This makes them an excellent food for macular health. In fact, orange peppers contain more zeaxanthin than any other fruit or vegetable.
Bell peppers have a very prominent place in the Mediterranean diet. If you are looking for more ways to use bell pepper in the kitchen, go to our delicious frittata recipe!
Although we eat them as a vegetable, peppers are actually fruits. All bell peppers (Capiscum annuum) start out green. The color and the taste change depending on how long they're allowed to ripen. Temperature also plays a large role in the development of colored peppers. It just takes extra time and extra care to grow purple, red, yellow, and orange peppers. This why they are more expensive than the green ones.
A word about beautiful purple peppers:
Peppers that turn purple on the vine, are an intermediate phase between green and red. This phase lasts only about seven to 10 days. Temperature plays a large role in the development of colored peppers.
All sweet peppers are a well known source of vitamins C and E and high in antioxidants. Like blueberries, and red wine, purple peppers contain anthocyanin pigments. Anthocyanins are flavonoids found in dark red, blue and purple fruits and vegetables. They are antioxidant and are traditionally known for fostering eye health. The deeper the color, the greater the concentration in anthocyanins.
Once considered a novelty, deep purple bell peppers are now easier to find. So use them more often, for their beautiful color AND their health benefit. They will make a beautiful and unusual pop of color in a salad, and bring their antioxidant benefit to your diet.