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Bell peppers
Bell peppers

What's New and Beneficial About Bell Peppers

  • Bell peppers - especially varieties that mature into dazzling shades of yellow, orange, and red - are well-known for the carotenoid content. (These carotenoids are the nutrients that earn bell peppers a spot on our Top 15 list of foods for vitamin A.) A recent study comparing organic versus non-organic bell peppers, as well as the impact of freezing on their carotenoids, has provided some helpful results. While researchers did not find levels of the carotenoids lycopene or beta-carotene to be significantly higher in organic versus non-organic bell peppers, they did find levels of a third carotenoid - lutein - to be significantly higher in the organically grown version. They also found good retention of these carotenoids after the bell peppers were cut and frozen for 6 months at a very low temperature (-20C/-4F). (Between 80-90% of each carotenoid was retained after freezing.) While we always encourage consumption of vegetables in fresh form, these solid carotenoid results after freezing are reason to consider freezing if it works better in meal planning.
  • While we are on the topic of organic versus non-organic bell peppers and their nutrient content, it's worth noting that a study from Poland has recently compared differences not only in carotenoids but also flavonoids, phenolic acids, and vitamin C from bell peppers grown using these two basic cultivation methods. In this study, bell peppers from 3 organic farms were compared with bell peppers from 3 non-organic farms. Both carotenoids and vitamin C were found to be about 10% higher in the organically grown bell peppers. Total phenolic acids were about 30% higher, yet flavonoids were about 7-8% lower. When the researchers did further analysis on the flavonoid results, they found some very interesting nutrient dynamics. One of the flavonoids - quercetin - was, as expected, measurably higher in the organically grown bell peppers (by about 10%, just like carotenoids and vitamin C). However, levels of another flavonoid - kaempferol- depended as much on the specific variety of bell pepper as the growing method. In this context, the researchers concluded that kaempferol might be a flavonoid not as sensitive to growing methods as some of its fellow flavonoids. Still, taken as a whole, this study provides further evidence about the benefits organically grown bell peppers. And it adds to the many reasons that we have always supported consumption of organically grown foods on our website.
  • One of the many things we love about bell peppers is their amazing variety of colors. This wonderland of color is primarily due to their diverse array of color pigments, and especially their carotenoids. In this context, we were intrigued to find a recent study showing yellow bell peppers to have great total carotenoid content than red peppers, while at the same time determining red bell peppers to have greater amounts for two specific carotenoids, namely lutein and beta-carotene. This result is not surprising, since bell peppers are continually changing their synthesis of different carotenoids and other pigments as they mature. And not included in this study were the more deeply-shaded lilac, purple, and very deep purple (nearly black-shaded) bell peppers that also change their synthesis of anthocyanin pigments as they mature. Yet while expected, these results also remind us to take advantage of bell peppers in their full diversity of color.

WHFoods Recommendations

Because many people are long-accustomed to finding green bell peppers in the produce section of the supermarket, we want to start our WHFoods Recommendations for bell peppers with these green varieties. Our outstanding level of green vegetable intake at WHFoods is 8 servings of green vegetables per day. Many days on our 7-Day Menu reach or exceed this amount and can be used as guidelines for your personal green vegetable choices. The many different types of green vegetables available to provide you with exceptional nourishment are nothing short of astonishing! Not only can you choose from dark green leafy vegetables from the cruciferous group (for example, mustard greens, turnip greens, kale, or collards), but also from the squash/gourd group (including zucchini and cucumber), the parsley/umbelliferous group (like fennel and celery), green allium vegetables like leeks, green lettuces like romaine, the asparagus group that includes asparagus, the leguminous vegetable group that includes both green peas and green beans, and of course green bell peppers. Rather than relying exclusively on any one of these green vegetable subgroups, we recommend that you consider including green vegetables across all of these subgroups when putting together your weekly meal plan.

Of course, bell peppers can be enjoyed in a wide variety of colors - including delightful shades of yellow and orange. If you are selecting bell peppers in this color category, you'll want to count them as contributing to your yellow/orange vegetable intake. (For more details about yellow/orange vegetables, please see our Vegetable Advisor.) As a minimum daily goal for vegetable intake from the yellow/orange group, we recommend ½ cup per day. A more optimal intake level would be one cup per day. Of course, alongside of yellow and orange bell peppers, you will find carrots, sweet potatoes, yellow summer squash, and yellow corn available to help you reach your daily yellow-orange vegetable total.

If you opt for red or purple bell peppers instead of orange or yellow ones, we recommend that you treat bell peppers as part of the red/purple vegetable subgroup. Once again, you will find more information about this group in our Vegetable Advisor. Our minimum recommended intake level for this subgroup is ½ cup per day and our more optimal recommended intake is one cup. Beets, red red tomatoes, red and purple carrots, and eggplant would be examples of other vegetables in this red/purple subgroup.

Bell Peppers, sliced, red, raw
1.00 cup
(92.00 grams)
Calories: 29
GI: very low

NutrientDRI/DV

 vitamin C157%



 folate11%



 fiber7%











This chart graphically details the %DV that a serving of Bell peppers provides for each of the nutrients of which it is a good, very good, or excellent source according to our Food Rating System. Additional information about the amount of these nutrients provided by Bell peppers can be found in the Food Rating System Chart. A link that takes you to the In-Depth Nutritional Profile for Bell peppers, featuring information over 80 nutrients, can be found under the Food Rating System Chart.

Health Benefits

Broad-Based Nutrient Benefits from Bell Peppers

While green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables often get more time in the public spotlight than bell peppers, it would be wrong to overlook the rich diversity of nutrients in this sometimes underrated food. In our WHFoods rating system, bell peppers achieve 16 total rankings of either "excellent," "very good," or "good" for their rich conventional nutrient content. Included among the conventional nutrients provided in excellent amounts by bell peppers are vitamin C, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), and vitamin B6. In fact, bell peppers are our Number 1 vegetable source of vitamin C at WHFoods, and our second best source of vitamin C overall (after papaya). They are also our Number 5 food source of vitamin B6.

In the "very good" conventional nutrient category, bell peppers provide us with a good number of B vitamins (including vitamin B2, vitamin B3, foloate, and pantothenic acid), as well as vitamin E, potassium, molybdenum, and fiber. Bell peppers also contain vitamin K, vitamin B1, manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium in good amounts. Overall, we get a remarkable wealth of conventional nutrients from this popular vegetable.

In addition to providing us with such a rich mix of conventional nutrients, however, bell peppers also offer an equally rich mix of phytonutrients. Because most of these phytonutrients fall into the antioxidant category, we've featured them separately in the paragraphs below.

Antioxidant Benefits from Phytonutrients in Bell Peppers

  • Flavonoids
    • -apigenin
    • - hesperidin
    • -isoscoparin
    • - kaempferol
    • - luteolin
    • - quercetin
    • *myricetin
    • * quercetin
    • * hesperidin
    • *apigenin
    • *orientin
    • *isoscoparin
  • Carotenoids
    • * alpha-carotene
    • *antheraxanthin
    • * beta-carotene
    • *capsanthin
    • *capsorubin
    • *cryptoflavin * cryptoxanthin
    • * lutein
    • *lycopene
    • *vicenin
    • * zeaxanthin
  • Hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives
    • * ferulic acid
    • *chlorogenic acid
      • *cinnamic acid
      • *coumaric acid
      • Hydroxybenzoic acid derivatives
        • *gallic acid

        In keeping with the many research studies on bell pepper carotenoids, it's worth noting the great antioxidant benefits provided by this group of bell pepper phytonutrients. One cup of freshly sliced bell pepper contains about 1,500 micrograms of beta-carotene, the equivalent of approximately 1/3rd small carrot. Interestingly, red bell peppers may contain greater amounts of beta-carotene than their fellow bell peppers in the yellow and orange category. However, these yellow and orange bell peppers still contain more total carotenoids than the reds. On the list of potential carotenoids provided by bell peppers are alpha-carotene, antheraxanthin, beta-carotene, capsanthin, capsorubin, cryptoflavin, cryptoxanthin, lutein, lycopene, vicenin, and zeaxanthin. We use the word "potential" because specific carotenoids (and other phytonutrients) can vary substantially as these vegetables mature. For example, while many varieties of bell peppers provide the carotenoids lycopene, other do not. (In fact, our nutrient profile for bell peppers does not show any lycopene to be present, since this specific carotenoid was not identified in the variety of bell pepper that was analyzed. Unless you have a special reason for wanting to increase your intake of one particular carotenoid in your meal plan, we recommend that you consider enjoying the full variety of colors in which bell peppers can be found. In that way you will be most likely to maximize your intake not only of different carotenoids but of bell pepper phytonutrients as a whole.

        Other Potential Health Benefits from Bell Peppers

        For a vegetable with 16 conventional nutrient rankings of "excellent," "very good," or "good" and an equally rich array of antioxidant phytonutrients, what we would expect in health research findings would be risk reduction for numerous chronic disease, including cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diseases related to regulation of blood sugar. What these diseases have in common (along with other diseases as well) is an underlying component of oxidative stress. We would expect this component to become less problematic with improved dietary intake of antioxidants. In addition, because many of these antioxidant phytonutrients also act in an anti-inflammatory capacity, we would expect these anti-inflammatory benefits to contribute to lower risk in each of the above disease areas. What is lacking, however, at this point in the research process are large-scale studies that focus on bell pepper intake in everyday meal plans. Animal studies have already shown blood sugar-lowering effects following intake of bell pepper extracts, and lab studies have also suggested different metabolic pathways through which blood sugar might be lowered. But human studies are needed to confirm these same benefits from ordinary food intake. In terms of cardiovascular benefits, we have seen studies showing bile acid binding by fiber-related nutrients in bell peppers. Because this binding process prevents absorption of bile acids up into the body, our liver will seek to replace them by breaking down cholesterol into its component parts - namely, bile acids. So the net result here can be a reduction in our blood cholesterol level. But similar to the research on blood sugar, we need studies on everyday meal plans to draw conclusions about food intake of bell pepper.

        The area of eye health may also turn out to be important with respect to bell pepper intake. Just one cup of sweet green bell pepper slices provides us with 314 micrograms (combined) of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. These two particular carotenoids are found in high concentrations in the macula of the eye (the centermost part of the retina), and they are required for protection of the macula from oxygen-related damage. In one condition called age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, the macula of the eye can become damaged and vision can potentially become lost. We would expect future studies on bell pepper intake to show benefits in this area of AMD risk due to the impressive lutein/zeaxanthin content of this vegetable (about 45-50 micrograms for these two carotenoids combined.) In this context, we would also like to note that a recent study has shown red bell peppers to contain greater amounts of lutein than their fellow greens or yellows. One final area of special interest in the potential for bell peppers to help lower risk of neurodegenerative disease, and particularly Alzheimer's disease. Overacculumation of amyloid proteins in the spaces surrounding certain nerve cells (called cholinergic neurons) is known to contribute to our risk of Alzheimer's. In order for these amyloid proteins to accumulate, however, they must first be freed from another protein structure called amyloid precursor protein, or APP. This process is moved along with the help of enzymes called secretases. What recent studies have shown is the ability of bell pepper extracts to block the activity of these secretase enzymes, preventing the release of amyloid proteins. In one study, extracts from both ripe and unripe bell peppers were analyzed, with ripe bell peppers showing a greater ability to block amyloid protein release. While the authors did not report the ripe bell peppers as being any particular color, we would assume that darker shaded bell peppers (from deep oranges to reds to purples) would correspond to the pepper which showed the greatest impact. Once again, we view this area of research as a promising one for demonstrating further health benefits from this vegetable.

        The area of eye health may also turn out to be important with respect to bell pepper intake. Just one cup of sweet green bell pepper slices provides us with 314 micrograms (combined) of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. These two particular carotenoids are found in high concentrations in the macula of the eye (the centermost part of the retina), and they are required for protection of the macula from oxygen-related damage. In one condition called age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, the macula of the eye can become damaged and vision can potentially become lost. We would expect future studies on bell pepper intake to show benefits in this area of AMD risk due to the impressive lutein/zeaxanthin content of this vegetable (about 45-50 micrograms for these two carotenoids combined.) In this context, we would also like to note that a recent study has shown red bell peppers to contain greater amounts of lutein than their fellow greens or yellows. One final area of special interest in the potential for bell peppers to help lower risk of neurodegenerative disease, and particularly Alzheimer's disease. Overacculumation of amyloid proteins in the spaces surrounding certain nerve cells (called cholinergic neurons) is known to contribute to our risk of Alzheimer's. In order for these amyloid proteins to accumulate, however, they must first be freed from another protein structure called amyloid precursor protein, or APP. This process is moved along with the help of enzymes called secretases. What recent studies have shown is the ability of bell pepper extacts to block the activity of these secretase enzymes, preventing the release of amyloid proteins. In one study, extracts from both ripe and unripe bell peppers were analyzed, with ripe bell peppers showing a greater ability to block amyloid protein release. While the authors did not report the ripe bell peppers as being any particular color, we would assume that darker shaded bell peppers (from deep oranges to reds to purples) would correspond to the pepper which showed the greatest impact. Once again, we view this area of research as a promising one for demonstrating further health benefits from this vegetable.

        Description

        Bell peppers belong to the nightshade (Solanaceae) family of plants, along with chili pepper, cayenne pepper, eggplant, tomatoes and common potatoes (but not sweet potatoes or yams). Their genus/species name is Capsicum annuum. This genus/species name can be a bit confusing, however, since it , is used to refer not only to sweet bell peppers, but also to many different kinds of hot peppers, including cayenne peppers, chili peppers, jalapeno peppers, and others. One of the reasons that we use the name "bell peppers" on our website is to distinguish these mild and sometimes sweet tasting vegetables from their hot pepper counterparts. In fact, in many articles about bell peppers, you will find them being referred to both as "bell peppers" and "sweet peppers."

        What makes bell peppers sweet is the combination of two features. First, they do contain a small amount of sugar—about 3-4 grams per fresh slicked cup. Even though this amount is only ½ teaspoon, it's enough to give bell peppers a bit of sweetness since they either have very small amounts, or no amounts of the pungent alkaloids called capsaicinoids. Capsaicinoids provide the "hot" in hot peppers, and a well-known rating system called the Scoville heat scale is used to rank the hotness of peppers. Bell peppers are often given a score of "0" on this scale, with extremely hot peppers like Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers achieving a score of 2 million!

        Most of the bell peppers found in the supermarket are what growers call the 4-lobed, block-like type. These varieties are sometimes referred to as "classic" bell peppers. But you may also find bell peppers that are more elongated in shape, and that display three lobes instead of four. These more elongated varieties are sometimes referred to as the Lamuyo type. But much more famous that the bell pepper shapes are their amazing colors.

        Most varieties of bell peppers start off green in color and undergo color changes during the process of maturation. These color changes can range from emerging yellow and oranges to reds and purples and lilacs and even deep purple shades that appear nearly black in color. Sometimes these darker versions are referred to as chocolate bell peppers. We have also seen brown bell peppers and ivory bell peppers. These colorful bell peppers are often more expensive than their green counterparts since extra growing time is needed for color development and this additional time means increased production costs. With respect to color, it's also worth noting that some varieties of bell peppers can stay green throughout the maturation process, and some varieties can also undergo color changes very early in the development process.

        One relatively new and increasingly popular bell pepper option in many produce sections are "mini bell peppers." Like their name suggests, these bell peppers are only about 1/3rd the size of a typical bell pepper and especially "munchable" as snacks. Mini bell peppers are not simply "young" bell peppers but unique varieties that can be challenging to grow at present due to their lesser disease resistance. At present, you'll often find mini bell peppers pre-packaged in a way that highlights their amazing array of colors.

        Before leaving this Description section, we also want to mention the dried spice commonly known as "paprika". Paprika - irrespective of its flavor—is typically made from ripened and dried peppers which are ground into powder form. However, the flavor of paprika depends on the particular pepper - or combination of peppers—from which it was ground. While dried bell peppers are often used as a main or sole ingredient in paprika, so are other types of peppers including many different varieties of chili peppers, especially pimiento (also spelled "pimento") chili peppers. (The word "pimiento" can mean both "paprika" and "pepper" in Spanish. Some commercially available paprikas feature dried bell pepper as a base ingredient with varying amounts of other dried chili peppers to produce an array of flavors and degrees of sweetness/hotness.

        History

        Bell peppers are native to North, Central, and South America as well as to the Caribbean. Over time they have not only been distributed throughout the the world, but have become widely cultivated in a very large number of countries.

        When analysts track the production of bell peppers, they often separate the marketplace into greenhouse grown versus non-greenhouse grown bell peppers. In the United States, we consume a large amount of both types, with the greenhouse type mostly coming from imports. With respect to imports, the largest provider of both greenhouse and non-greenhouse bell peppers to the U.S. is Mexico. Bell peppers also arrive in the United States from Canada, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Spain.

        In terms of global bell pepper production, China, Mexico, Turkey, Indonesia, and Spain produce the most green peppers (including both bell and chili peppers), with the U.S. ranking next highest in total production.

        Within the U.S., a large number of farms grow bell peppers, and many states participate in the process. However, at present, California, Florida, New Jersey, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, and Michigan account for most U.S. bell pepper production.

        How to Select and Store

        Choose peppers that have deep vivid colors, taut skin, and that are free of soft spots, blemishes and darkened areas. Their stems should be green and fresh looking. Peppers should be heavy for their size (reflecting their thick, well-formed and well-hydrated walls) and firm enough so that they will only yield slightly to a small amount of pressure. Avoid those that have signs of decay including injuries to the skin or water-soaked areas. The shape of the pepper does not generally affect the quality, although it may result in excessive waste or not be suitable to certain recipe preparations. Peppers are available throughout the year but are usually in greater abundance during the summer and early fall months.

        For many vegetables, degree of ripeness is a central and fairly straightforward factor when you making a food selection in the produce department. In the case of bell peppers, however, there is no single moment of ripeness that represents the "optimal" choice for this vegetable. There are definitely bell peppers that you will want to avoid due to overripeness. In this case, what we mean by "overripeness" is especially soft or wrinkly. At a minimum, we recommend the selection of bell peppers that have retained a "slight sponginess" in the way that the sides of the pepper respond to gentle pressure. The sides of the pepper should yield slightly, but not to the point of giving way to the pressure. This type of "feel-based" testing is your best way to identify bell peppers that have not overripened.

        At the other end of the ripening spectrum, however, it can be acceptable to select bell peppers that are even more firm than described above. In their earlier stages of maturation, bell peppers can naturally remain less spongy to the touch. This lesser degree of sponginess does not mean that the bell peppers are problematic to eat however, or that they lack good nutrient content. Less mature bell peppers still provide a wealth of nutrients. However, it is also true that the carotenoids and anthocyanins in bell peppers aren't generally available in plentiful amounts until bell peppers have reached later stages in their maturation process. So if you are focusing on these particular types of phytonutrients, you'll usually do best to select bell peppers in their later stages of maturation in which is the rule of slight sponginess is your best selection method.

        It's important to remember that bell peppers can take on many different color shades, and that hybrids are available that contain two or more color shades in the same bell pepper. In addition, bell peppers can develop these color shades during different stages of maturation. As long as you avoid overripeness by using the pressure test method described above, you can enjoy bell peppers from different stages of development and varying shades of color and still count on receiving strong nutrient benefits.

        At WHFoods, we encourage the purchase of certified organically grown foods, and bell peppers are no exception. Repeated research studies on organic foods as a group show that your likelihood of exposure to contaminants such as pesticides and heavy metals can be greatly reduced through the purchased of certified organic foods, including bell peppers. In many cases, you may be able to find a local organic grower who sells bell peppers but has not applied for formal organic certification either through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) or through a state agency. (Examples of states offering state-certified organic foods include California, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.) However, if you are shopping in a large supermarket, your most reliable source of organically grown bell peppers is very likely to be bell peppers that display the USDA organic logo

        Unwashed bell peppers stored in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator will keep for approximately 7-10 days.

        Here is some background on why we recommend refrigerating bell peppers. Whenever food is stored, four basic factors affect its nutrient composition: exposure to air, exposure to light, exposure to heat, and length of time in storage. Vitamin C, vitamin B6, and carotenoids are good examples of nutrients highly susceptible to heat, and for this reason, their loss from food is very likely to be slowed down through refrigeration. In this context, it also seems worth repeating that bell peppers are our Number 1 vegetable source of vitamin C at WHFoods, and also our Number 5 source of vitamin B6. So you can see how this principle might be especially important in the case of bell peppers.

        Because bell peppers need to still well hydrated and are very sensitive to moisture loss, we further recommend that you include a damp cloth or paper towel in the vegetable compartment to help the peppers retain their moisture. Do not cut out the bell pepper stem prior to storage in the refrigerator. Bell peppers are especially sensitive to moisture loss through this stem (calyx) portion and are more susceptible to chilling injury if the stem is removed. Sweet peppers can be frozen without first being blanched. It is better to freeze them whole since there will be less exposure to air which can degrade both their nutrient content and flavor.

        Before closing this section on bell peppers nutrients and refrigeration, we would like to add one possible exception to the refrigeration rule. If you have purchased a variety of bell pepper that is still mostly green yet in the process of changing color, and you prefer to let the new color-related nutrients develop more fully, you may want to keep the bell pepper for a day or two at room temperature rather than placing it in your refrigerator. At a temperature of about 68F/20C, your bell pepper can proceed more quickly with its change in color. For example, if you are wanting to focus on carotenoid intake, a bell pepper variety that is ready to change color from green to yellow or orange should be able to develop its carotenoid content more quickly at room temperature than inside of your refrigerator.

        Tips for Preparing and Cooking

        Tips for Preparing Bell Peppers

        Before coring and/or cutting the pepper, wash it under cold running water. If the pepper has been waxed, you should also scrub it gently but thoroughly with a natural bristle brush.

        Use a paring knife to cut around the stem and then gently remove it. Peppers can be cut into various shapes and sizes. To easily chop, dice or cut the peppers into strips, first cut the pepper in half lengthwise, clean out the core and seeds, and then, after placing the skin side down on the cutting surface, cut into the desired size and shape. Peppers can also be cut horizontally into rings or left whole for stuffed peppers. The pulpy white inner cavity of the bell pepper is rich in flavonoids and can be eaten, even though some people have a personal preference for removing this section.

        The Nutrient-Rich Way of Cooking Bell Peppers

        Of all of the cooking methods we tried when cooking bell peppers, our favorite is Healthy Sauté. Healthy Sauté—similar to Quick Steaming and Quick Boiling, our other recommended cooking methods—follows three basic cooking guidelines that are generally associated in food science research with improved nutrient retention. These three guidelines are: (1) minimal necessary heat exposure; (2) minimal necessary cooking duration; (3) minimal necessary food surface contact with cooking liquid.

        To Healthy Sauté bell peppers, heat 3 TBS of broth (vegetable or chicken) or water in a stainless steel skillet. Once bubbles begin to form add sliced red bell peppers, cover, and Healthy Sauté for 3 minutes on medium heat. After 3 minutes add 2 TBS broth, then cook uncovered on low heat for another 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer to a bowl and toss with our Mediterranean Dressing. (See our Healthy Sautéed Red Bell Peppers recipe for details on how to prepare this dish.)

        How to Enjoy

        A Few Quick Serving Ideas

        • Add finely chopped bell peppers to tuna or chicken salad.
        • After Healthy Sautéeing chopped peppers, celery and onions, combine with tofu, chicken or seafood to make a simple Louisiana Creole dish.
        • Purée roasted and peeled peppers with Healthy Sautéed onions and zucchini to make a deliciously refreshing soup that can be served hot or cold.
        • Bell peppers are one of the best vegetables to serve in a crudité platter since not only do they add a brilliant splash of color, but their texture is also the perfect crunchy complement for dips.

        WHFoods Recipes That Include Bell Peppers

        If you'd like even more recipes and ways to prepare bell peppers the Nutrient-Rich Way, you may want to explore The World's Healthiest Foods book.

        Individual Concerns

        Bell Pepper is one of the vegetables that belong to the nightshade (Solanaceae) family. For helpful information about nightshade vegetables—including our WHFoods Recommendations—please see our article, Which foods are classified as "nightshades," and is it true that foods from this group can potentially contain problematic substances?

        Nutritional Profile

        Bell peppers are an outstanding source of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. These phytonutrients include flavonoids (luteolin, quercetin, hesperidin) and hydroxycinnamic acids (especially ferulic and cinnamic acids). But the hallmark phytonutrient group found in bell peppers is the carotenoid family, with more than 30 different carotenoids being provided by this vegetable. Included in bell pepper carotenoids are alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, cryptoxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin. Bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), vitamin C and vitamin B6. They are a very good source of folate, molybdenum, vitamin E, dietary fiber, vitamin B2, pantothenic acid, niacin and potassium. Additionally, they are a good source of vitamin K, manganese, vitamin B1, phosphorus and magnesium.

        Introduction to Food Rating System Chart

        In order to better help you identify foods that feature a high concentration of nutrients for the calories they contain, we created a Food Rating System. This system allows us to highlight the foods that are especially rich in particular nutrients. The following chart shows the nutrients for which this food is either an excellent, very good, or good source (below the chart you will find a table that explains these qualifications). If a nutrient is not listed in the chart, it does not necessarily mean that the food doesn't contain it. It simply means that the nutrient is not provided in a sufficient amount or concentration to meet our rating criteria. (To view this food's in-depth nutritional profile that includes values for dozens of nutrients - not just the ones rated as excellent, very good, or good - please use the link below the chart.) To read this chart accurately, you'll need to glance up in the top left corner where you will find the name of the food and the serving size we used to calculate the food's nutrient composition. This serving size will tell you how much of the food you need to eat to obtain the amount of nutrients found in the chart. Now, returning to the chart itself, you can look next to the nutrient name in order to find the nutrient amount it offers, the percent Daily Value (DV%) that this amount represents, the nutrient density that we calculated for this food and nutrient, and the rating we established in our rating system. For most of our nutrient ratings, we adopted the government standards for food labeling that are found in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's "Reference Values for Nutrition Labeling." Read more background information and details of our rating system.

        Bell Peppers, sliced, red, raw
        1.00 cup
        92.00 grams
        Calories: 29
        GI: very low
        NutrientAmountDRI/DV
        (%)
        Nutrient
        Density
        World's Healthiest
        Foods Rating
        vitamin C117.48 mg15798.9excellent
        vitamin A144.03 mcg RAE1610.1excellent
        vitamin B60.27 mg1610.0excellent
        folate42.32 mcg116.7very good
        molybdenum4.60 mcg106.5very good
        vitamin E1.45 mg (ATE)106.1very good
        fiber1.85 g74.7very good
        vitamin B20.08 mg63.9very good
        pantothenic acid0.29 mg63.7very good
        vitamin B30.90 mg63.6very good
        potassium194.12 mg63.5very good
        vitamin K4.51 mcg53.2good
        manganese0.10 mg53.2good
        vitamin B10.05 mg42.6good
        phosphorus23.92 mg32.2good
        magnesium11.04 mg31.7good
        World's Healthiest
        Foods Rating
        Rule
        excellent DRI/DV>=75% OR
        Density>=7.6 AND DRI/DV>=10%
        very good DRI/DV>=50% OR
        Density>=3.4 AND DRI/DV>=5%
        good DRI/DV>=25% OR
        Density>=1.5 AND DRI/DV>=2.5%

        In-Depth Nutritional Profile

        In addition to the nutrients highlighted in our ratings chart, here is an in-depth nutritional profile for Bell peppers. This profile includes information on a full array of nutrients, including carbohydrates, sugar, soluble and insoluble fiber, sodium, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and more.

        Bell Peppers, sliced, red, raw
        (Note: "--" indicates data unavailable)
        1.00 cup
        (92.00 g)
        GI: very low
        BASIC MACRONUTRIENTS AND CALORIES
        nutrientamountDRI/DV
        (%)
        Protein0.91 g2
        Carbohydrates5.55 g2
        Fat - total0.28 g--
        Dietary Fiber1.85 g7
        Calories28.522
        MACRONUTRIENT AND CALORIE DETAIL
        nutrientamountDRI/DV
        (%)
        Carbohydrate:
        Starch0.00 g
        Total Sugars3.70 g
        Monosaccharides3.70 g
        Fructose1.99 g
        Glucose1.71 g
        Galactose0.00 g
        Disaccharides0.00 g
        Lactose0.00 g
        Maltose0.00 g
        Sucrose0.00 g
        Soluble Fiber-- g
        Insoluble Fiber-- g
        Other Carbohydrates0.00 g
        Fat:
        Monounsaturated Fat0.00 g
        Polyunsaturated Fat0.06 g
        Saturated Fat0.02 g
        Trans Fat0.00 g
        Calories from Fat2.48
        Calories from Saturated Fat0.22
        Calories from Trans Fat0.00
        Cholesterol0.00 mg
        Water84.83 g
        MICRONUTRIENTS
        nutrientamountDRI/DV
        (%)
        Vitamins
        Water-Soluble Vitamins
        B-Complex Vitamins
        Vitamin B10.05 mg4
        Vitamin B20.08 mg6
        Vitamin B30.90 mg6
        Vitamin B3 (Niacin Equivalents)1.08 mg
        Vitamin B60.27 mg16
        Vitamin B120.00 mcg0
        Biotin-- mcg--
        Choline5.15 mg1
        Folate42.32 mcg11
        Folate (DFE)42.32 mcg
        Folate (food)42.32 mcg
        Pantothenic Acid0.29 mg6
        Vitamin C117.48 mg157
        Fat-Soluble Vitamins
        Vitamin A (Retinoids and Carotenoids)
        Vitamin A International Units (IU)2880.52 IU
        Vitamin A mcg Retinol Activity Equivalents (RAE)144.03 mcg (RAE)16
        Vitamin A mcg Retinol Equivalents (RE)288.05 mcg (RE)
        Retinol mcg Retinol Equivalents (RE)0.00 mcg (RE)
        Carotenoid mcg Retinol Equivalents (RE)288.05 mcg (RE)
        Alpha-Carotene18.40 mcg
        Beta-Carotene1494.08 mcg
        Beta-Carotene Equivalents1728.68 mcg
        Cryptoxanthin450.80 mcg
        Lutein and Zeaxanthin46.92 mcg
        Lycopene0.00 mcg
        Vitamin D
        Vitamin D International Units (IU)0.00 IU0
        Vitamin D mcg0.00 mcg
        Vitamin E
        Vitamin E mg Alpha-Tocopherol Equivalents (ATE)1.45 mg (ATE)10
        Vitamin E International Units (IU)2.17 IU
        Vitamin E mg1.45 mg
        Vitamin K4.51 mcg5
        Minerals
        nutrientamountDRI/DV
        (%)
        Boron-- mcg
        Calcium6.44 mg1
        Chloride22.08 mg
        Chromium-- mcg--
        Copper0.02 mg2
        Fluoride-- mg--
        Iodine0.92 mcg1
        Iron0.40 mg2
        Magnesium11.04 mg3
        Manganese0.10 mg5
        Molybdenum4.60 mcg10
        Phosphorus23.92 mg3
        Potassium194.12 mg6
        Selenium0.09 mcg0
        Sodium3.68 mg0
        Zinc0.23 mg2
        INDIVIDUAL FATTY ACIDS
        nutrientamountDRI/DV
        (%)
        Omega-3 Fatty Acids0.02 g1
        Omega-6 Fatty Acids0.04 g
        Monounsaturated Fats
        14:1 Myristoleic0.00 g
        15:1 Pentadecenoic0.00 g
        16:1 Palmitol0.00 g
        17:1 Heptadecenoic0.00 g
        18:1 Oleic0.00 g
        20:1 Eicosenoic0.00 g
        22:1 Erucic0.00 g
        24:1 Nervonic0.00 g
        Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
        18:2 Linoleic0.04 g
        18:2 Conjugated Linoleic (CLA)-- g
        18:3 Linolenic0.02 g
        18:4 Stearidonic0.00 g
        20:3 Eicosatrienoic0.00 g
        20:4 Arachidonic0.00 g
        20:5 Eicosapentaenoic (EPA)0.00 g
        22:5 Docosapentaenoic (DPA)0.00 g
        22:6 Docosahexaenoic (DHA)0.00 g
        Saturated Fatty Acids
        4:0 Butyric0.00 g
        6:0 Caproic0.00 g
        8:0 Caprylic0.00 g
        10:0 Capric0.00 g
        12:0 Lauric0.00 g
        14:0 Myristic0.00 g
        15:0 Pentadecanoic0.00 g
        16:0 Palmitic0.02 g
        17:0 Margaric0.00 g
        18:0 Stearic0.00 g
        20:0 Arachidic0.00 g
        22:0 Behenate0.00 g
        24:0 Lignoceric0.00 g
        INDIVIDUAL AMINO ACIDS
        nutrientamountDRI/DV
        (%)
        Alanine0.02 g
        Arginine0.03 g
        Aspartic Acid0.26 g
        Cysteine0.02 g
        Glutamic Acid0.19 g
        Glycine0.03 g
        Histidine0.02 g
        Isoleucine0.02 g
        Leucine0.03 g
        Lysine0.03 g
        Methionine0.01 g
        Phenylalanine0.05 g
        Proline0.02 g
        Serine0.05 g
        Threonine0.04 g
        Tryptophan0.01 g
        Tyrosine0.01 g
        Valine0.03 g
        OTHER COMPONENTS
        nutrientamountDRI/DV
        (%)
        Ash0.43 g
        Organic Acids (Total)0.00 g
        Acetic Acid0.00 g
        Citric Acid0.00 g
        Lactic Acid0.00 g
        Malic Acid0.00 g
        Taurine-- g
        Sugar Alcohols (Total)0.00 g
        Glycerol0.00 g
        Inositol0.00 g
        Mannitol0.00 g
        Sorbitol0.00 g
        Xylitol0.00 g
        Artificial Sweeteners (Total)0.00 mg
        Aspartame0.00 mg
        Saccharin0.00 mg
        Alcohol0.00 g
        Caffeine0.00 mg

        Note:

        The nutrient profiles provided in this website are derived from The Food Processor, Version 10.12.0, ESHA Research, Salem, Oregon, USA. Among the 50,000+ food items in the master database and 163 nutritional components per item, specific nutrient values were frequently missing from any particular food item. We chose the designation "--" to represent those nutrients for which no value was included in this version of the database.

        References

        • Agricultural Marketing Resource Center (AgMRC). Bell and Chili Peppers Profile. (2011). Iowa State University, Ames, IO. Available online at: http://www.agmrc.org. 2011.
        • Alpay K,. Ertas M, Orhan EK et al. Diet restriction in migraine, based on IgG against foods: A clinical double-blind, randomised, cross-over trial. Cephalalgia. 2010 July; 30(7): 829—837. 2010.
        • Ambrosini GL, de Klerk NH, Fritschi L et al. Fruit, vegetable, vitamin A intakes, and prostate cancer risk. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2008;11(1):61-6. 2008.
        • Chassy AW, Bui L, Renaud EN et al. Three-year comparison of the content of antioxidant microconstituents and several quality characteristics in organic and conventionally managed tomatoes and bell peppers. J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Oct 18;54(21):8244-52. 2006.
        • Cooper AJL, Krasnikov BF, Niatsetskaya ZV et al. Cysteine S-conjugate β-lyases: Important roles in the metabolism of naturally occurring sulfur and selenium-containing compounds, xenobiotics and anticancer agents. Amino Acids. 2011 June; 41(1): 7—27. 2011.
        • Core J. Grower's Choice: Organic and Conventional Vegetable Production Explored. Agricultural Research. Washington: Apr 2006. Vol. 54, Iss. 4; p. 20-21. 2006.
        • Devore EE, Grodstein F, van Rooij FJA et al. Dietary antioxidants and long-term risk of dementia. Arch Neurol. 2010 July; 67(7): 819—825. 2010.
        • Durucasu I and Tokusoglu O. Effects of Grilling on Luteolin (3`,4`,5,7-tetrahydroxyflavone) Content in Sweet Green Bell Pepper (Capsicum annuum). Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences Year: 2007 Vol: 10 Issue: 19 Pages/record No.: 3410-3414. 2007.
        • Garcia-Closas R, Berenguer A, Sanchez MJ et al. Dietary sources of vitamin C, vitamin E and specific carotenoids in Spain. The British Journal of Nutrition. Cambridge: Jun 2004. Vol. 91, Iss. 6; p. 1005-1011. 2004.
        • Kollmannsberger H, Rodriguez-Burruezo A, Nitz S et al. Volatile and capsaicinoid composition of ají (Capsicum baccatum) and rocoto (Capsicum pubescens), two Andean species of chile peppers. J Sci Food Agric. 2011 Jul;91(9):1598-611. 2011.
        • Kumar R, Dwivedi N, Singh RK et al. A review on molecular characterization of pepper for capsaicin and oleoresin. Int J Plant Breeding and Genetics 2011, 5(2): 99-110. 2011.
        • Lalitha V, Kiran B and Raveesha. Antifungal and antibacterial potentiality of six essential oils extracted from plant source. International Journal of Engineering Science and Technology Year: 2011 Vol: 3 Issue: 4 Pages/record No.: 3029-3038. 2011.
        • Naef R, Velluz A and Jaquier A. New volatile sulfur-containing constituents in a simultaneous distillation-extraction extract of red bell peppers (Capsicum annuum). J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Jan 23;56(2):517-27. 2008.
        • O'Sullivan L, Jiwan MA, Daly T, O'Brien NM et al. Bioaccessibility, uptake, and transport of carotenoids from peppers (Capsicum spp.) using the coupled in vitro digestion and human intestinal Caco-2 cell model. J Agric Food Chem. 2010 May 12;58(9):5374-9. 2010.
        • Starkenmann C and Niclass Y. New cysteine-S-conjugate precursors of volatile sulfur compounds in bell peppers (Capsicum annuum L. cultivar). J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Apr 13;59(7):3358-65. 2011.
        • Zoran I, Avital BY, Yaccov P et al. Total antioxidant activity (TAA) of bell pepper during prolonged storage on low temperature. Journal of Agricultural Sciences Year: 2008 Vol: 53 Issue: 1 Pages/record No.: 3-12. 2008.

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