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Bell pepper is a vegetable from nightshade family and closely related to tomatoes, Bell pepper. Canadian Academy of Sports Nutritionpotatoes and eggplant. It is also called “sweet pepper”. There are many varieties, shapes, sizes and colors (green, yellow, red, purple and brown). One cup of chopped bell pepper contains 7 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber and 1 gram of protein.

Average calories: 32 per one cup, chopped.

Bell pepper: one cup, chopped












Vitamins found in higher amounts: vitamins C, A, B6, K, B3 and B1 and E.

Minerals found in higher amounts: potassium, manganese, magnesium and copper.

Phytonutrients found in higher amounts and their health benefits: the phytochemicals present in bell peppers are phytosterols, carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene, capsanthin and capsolutein), flavonoids (especially kaempferol and quercetin), phenolic compounds (especially caffeic acid), and capsaicin.

Carotenoids are powerful antioxidants that support healthy eyes and protect from age-related eye problems. Capsanthin and capsolutein are the main coloring carotenoids in bell peppers.

Flavonoids and phenolic compounds are potent antioxidants with anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and immune-boosting properties.

One cup of chopped bell pepper contains 14 mg of phytosterols, especially stigmasterol and campesterol. They are plant sterols that can lower bad cholesterol and improve cardiovascular health.

Capsaicin is the active phytochemical in chili pepper but is found in a small amount in bell peppers as well

The attributed health benefits of capsaicin are as follows:

  1. Blocks the release of substance-P, a neurotransmitter that signals pain. Topical forms of capsaicin are used to relieve pain in arthritis, muscle ache, strains and sprains, fibromyalgia, and pain associated with nerve damage as in diabetic neuropathy, shingles, and phantom pain.
  2. Causes apoptosis (programmed cell death; cell suicide) in prostate and lung cancers.
  3. Inhibits the growth of cancer cells in leukemia.
  4. Reduces itching and inflammation in psoriasis.
  5. Helps adjust blood sugar level.
  6. Helps lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  7. Prevents from platelet aggregation.
  8. Helps lose weight by increasing thermogenesis.
  9. Improves sexual erectile dysfunction by enhancing blood flow to the area.

Topical capsaicin is widely used by athletes to alleviate pain and discomfort from strains and sprains and to heat up as a pre-competition warm up. It is not banned in sports, but it is a prohibited substance in equestrian sports due to its analgesic effect.

Also found in carrots, navy beans and tomatoes, para-coumaric acid is found in significant amounts in green and red peppers. It is an antioxidant that reduces the formation of nitrosamines, demonstrating anti-cancer activity against stomach cancer.

The unique aroma of green peppers is due to an odor-producing compound called “methoxypyrazines”.

A distinctive phytonutrient in bell peppers is “Solanine”, which is produced by other vegetables from nightshade family, such as potatoes, tomatoes and eggplant. It is an alkaloid toxin that the plant produces as a defence mechanism against insects and diseases. Solanine worsens inflammation. This is why bell peppers are not recommended in any inflammation or sports injuries, such as strains and sprains, arthritis, bursitis, and tendinitis.