• The Health Benefits of Bell Peppers

    The Health Benefits of Bell Peppers

    Bell peppers come in an array of vivid colours from yellow, red and orange through to green, black and even purple. Scientifically they are known as capsicum annunm and are members of the nightshade family, which include potatoes and tomatoes.

    Their cultivation spans over 9000 years and was originated in South and Central America, although bell peppers do grow in a variety of different weather conditions, they prefer the warmer climates.
    In terms of weight it may come as no surprise that China is by far the largest commercial producer of Bell peppers in the world, followed by Mexico and the United States.

    Bell peppers contain more than 30 different caroteniods including lycopene, cryptoxanthin, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, in addition the sweet peppers are a rich source of flavonoids like luteolin, hesperidin and quercetin, collectively these make bell peppers a powerhouse of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients and a recommended staple food source for your diet.

    Including bell peppers into your diet can help to combat LDL cholesterol (the Bad stuff), this is as a result of the quercetin and luteolin content inhibiting the LDL oxidation process. Along with the anti-inflammatory nutrients this makes bell peppers a great choice for improving your overall cardiovascular health.

    It has been found that the nutrient content increases with ripening, as does the total antioxidant capacity. Eating the bell peppers raw maximises their nutrient benefits, whereas cooking can destroy up to 40 percent of the nutrients.

    Bell peppers are a shining star amongst vegetables when it comes to antioxidant benefits, with the vitamin C content being no exception. The vitamin C content found in bell peppers is more than twice the amount found in oranges, offering great immune boosting benefits for your health and is good news for maintaining the health of your cartilage, bones and teeth.

    There are concentrated forms of beta-carotene and the antioxidant pigment zeaxanthin found in bell peppers. Lutein is another carotinoid within the multicoloured peppers and when combined with zeaxanthin they offer excellent benefits for eye health, in particular age-related macular degeneration, or AMD and cataracts.

    Any whole food so rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients must surely be beneficial to the war on cancer. It is well documented that chronic oxidative stress and chronic excessive inflammation can lead to cancer formation. Therefore foods rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories can support the whole body in fighting the free radicals that lead to oxidation and inflammation. Interesting studies are showing that the phytonutrients found in bell peppers have a direct beneficial impact on cancers of the digestive tract and oesphagus.

    Bell peppers can be a valuable source of sulphur-containing compounds. Sulphur is essential for maintaining youthful skin, a healthy digestive system and can relieve pain and remove toxins and waste products from the body. It has even been considered a beauty mineral because it helps to keep the complexion clear and keeps your hair shiny and smooth.

    The nutrients found in bell peppers.

    A closer look at the nutrients found in bell peppers and their benefits to your health.

    Vitamin C
    - Supports the immune system
    - Increases iron absorption
    - Protects cells from oxidating damamge
    - Helps to reduce the risk of heart disease, including coronary heart disease and stroke
    - Helps in the formation of collagen, carnitine and catecholemines
    - Helps prevent and fight cancer

    Vitamin A
    - Maintains normal skin function
    - Maintains a healthy vision
    - Promotes a healthy functioning immune system
    - Maintains a healthy neurological function
    - Reduces inflammation through fighting free radical damage.

    Pyridoxine - Vitamin B6
    - Protects the immune system
    - Maintains a healthy metabolism
    - Helps to produce energy from food
    - Promotes healthy hormones
    - Maintains healthy cells
    - Assists in the absorption of vitamin B12
    - Improves neurological function
    - Reduces premenstrual symptoms
    - Helps to prevent arteriosclerosis and heart disease

    Folate - Vitamin
    - Promotes brain development and improves functioning
    - Promotes a healthy nervous system
    - Decreases risk of some cancers, including breast cancer
    - Supports a healthy cardiovascular system
    - Helps nervous system development in the fetus
    - Assists in the production of red blood cells
    - May reduce the risk of depression.

    Vitamin E

    - Protects cells from damage
    - Antioxidant, fights free radical damage
    - Supports a healthy immune system
    - Helps regulate blood pressure
    - Aids in the repair of muscles
    - Slows down the signs of ageing
    - Balances cholesterol
    - Repairs skin damage
    - Balances hormones
    - Thickens hair
    - Improves vision and supports eye health
    - Slows down the decline of Alzheimer's disease.

    Riboflavin - Vitamin B5
    - Helps to produce energy from food
    - Antioxidant, fights free radical damage
    - Helps to metabolise fats and proteins
    - Assists in the proper functioning of the nervous system
    - Helps to synthesise vitamins B6 and folate
    - Improves eye health

    Niacin - Vitamin B3
    - Helps to maintain healthy cholesterol levels
    - Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
    - Balances blood sugar levels
    - Helps to reduce acne
    - Helps to improve skin health
    - Supports proper neurological functioning
    - Helps to protect against Alzheimer's disease
    - Helps to promote joint mobility
    - Can help prevent erectile dysfunction
    - Helps to improve digestion

    Manganese - Mineral
    - Supports the formation of healthy bones through absorption of calcium
    - Supports collagen production
    - Helps with the control of blood sugar
    - Contributes to the prevention of oxygen related damage and damage from ultraviolet (UV) light
    - Antioxidant, fights free radical damage. Diets low in manganese have been linked to skin problems and asthma
    - Proper functioning of the thyroid gland.
    - Promotes metabolism of fats and carbohydrates.

    A great fun video as a serving suggestion.

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    Holland & Barrett, the good life.

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    Forks Over Knives.

    The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health.

    Healing Beyond Medicine: How self-empowerment, a raw vegan diet, and change of lifestyle can free us from sickness and disease.

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