Capsicum: Nature’s Storehouse of Nutrition
Table of Content
- Capsicum Nutrients
- Health Benefits of Capsicum
2.1 Improves Vision
2.2 Helps in Weight Loss:
2.3 Reduces Risk of Cancer:
2.4 Improves Cardiovascular Health:
2.5 Strengthens Overall Health and Immunity
Capsicums offer a colourful and tasty way to get your recommended dose of anti-oxidants. Aka, Bell Peppers, Sweet Peppers, and Simla Mirchi in India, Capsciums come in a variety of colours, from green, which is the most commonly seen to more exotic reds, yellows, and even purple and orange.
The colours are not just for show, though. To begin with the stronger the colour of the capsicum, the greater it’s anti-oxidant content. Secondly, the colour itself indicates differing levels and a slightly different spectrum of phytochemicals and nutrients. Understand though, that they are all basically the same green capsicums that have been allowed to ripen: the chemicals that drive the ripening cycle release natural compounds that are of differing colours.
Green bell peppers are harvested first, which actually gives them their slightly bitter taste; yellow capsciums are allowed to stay on the tree longer, they are milder and have a fruity taste, orange ones are even sweeter and make great ingredients on salads; finally, we have the red peppers. These are the most mature type of bell peppers. They are very rich in carotenoid phytonutrients and vitamin C. Their beta-carotene content is almost 11 times that of green capsicums.
Regardless of colour, the capsicum is a powerhouse of health-giving nutrients like vitamins A, B, C, and K, carotenoids, and dietary fiber.
Health Benefits of Capsicum
1. Improves Vision
Vitamin A in capsicum, notably, highest in the red variety, is highly beneficial to improve eyesight, especially night vision. Capsicums also contain Lutein—also known as the eye vitamin. Lutein is a major cartenoid found in the human eye.
It acts like an eye filter, protecting the tissues of the eyes from harsh light and harmful rays. It is said to help lower the risk of macular degeneration of the eyes. Beta-carotene, which is another notable compound present in capsicum, along with Vitamin Cm helps protect eyes from cataracts.
2. Helps in Weight Loss:
Capsaicin in capsicums are known to rapidly increase metabolic rate—the rate at which your body burns calories for energy. You may have noticed a tendency to sweat when you eat peppers, this is the capsaicin at work.
The fiber in capsicums induce a feeling of satiety, reducing hunger cravings and helping reduce the quantity of food consumed. Additionally, capsicums are low in calories—a primary requirement of every weight loss diet.
3. Reduces Risk of Cancer:
Two of the highest risks for cancer are oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. Capsicums, being rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients, help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress providing high anti-cancer benefits.
Furthermore, sulphur compounds and enzymes in capsicums prevent gastric and esophageal cancer. Lycopene, which is present in high proportions in red capsicums, reduces the risk of cancers of the prostate, bladder, cervix, and pancreas.
4. Improves Cardiovascular Health:
Every colour of capsicum has a heart-healthy nutrient to offer. Lycopene—which is known to reduce LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (good cholesterol)—is present in high levels in red capsicums. Green Capsicum contains a high level of cholesterol-lowering fiber, as well as Vitamin B6 and folate, which lower homocysteine which can injure the heart by causing clotting, which can increase the risk of heart blocks. Vitamin A and C in Capsicum are antioxidants that wipe out free radicals, and the potassium in it lowers blood pressure.
5. Strengthens Overall Health and Immunity
In addition, to the above health benefits, capsicum contains many nutrients that help build a healthy immune system. Vitamin C for instance strengthens immunity, lowers the risk of arthritis, reduces inflammation, and also builds strong collagen to support the joints, and bones.
Capsaicin in the white membranes of capsicum helps in lowering cholesterol levels and triglycerides. It destroys harmful bacteria in the stomach, effectively boosting immunity. Potassium in capsicums helps regulate fluid and mineral balance in the body, enhancing muscle function and regulating blood pressure.