Healthy Eating – Berry Power – Capsicum (Bell Pepper)
The Bell Pepper is from the plant family Solanaceae of the Genus ‘Capsicum’; it is a cultivar of the species ‘annuum’. Capsicum is a native of Mexico and closely related to the tomato. They are recognised as a vegetable but is officially a berry fruit.
The common name of “Pepper” is thought to refer to anything that has a hot taste. Bell Peppers have no connection to the Peppercorn, which is where the term Pepper originated.
The hot palate usually associated with plants of the Capsicum genus is not associated with Bell Peppers because they do not contain ‘capsaicin’. Capsaicin is present in common chillies also of the Capsicum genus, which gives them their hot taste.
Bell Peppers typically come in Red and Green varieties but they are also available in Yellow, Orange and Purple.
From a Health Perspective, Capsicum is extremely high in Vitamin C and contain a significant portion of the recommended daily source of Vitamin B6. Other B group Vitamins are also present including Thiamine (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Niacin (Vitamin B3), Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) and Folate (Vitamin B5).
Capsicum is also a source of Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc, Phosphorous and Iron.
Vitamin B and the high levels of Vitamin C and in capsicum.
Capsicums may assist in the prevention of infection and may assist in the treatment of common colds, flu and fever.
Capsicum has anti-inflammatory properties and may assist in the treatment of the symptoms associated with Arthritis.
Mild regular intake of capsicum may assist in maintaining regular bowel function, however excessive consumption may have a laxative effect.
Capsicum helps speed up the digestion of food, improves metabolism and can assist in the burning of calories.
Bell Pepper Capsicum can assist with lowering cholesterol and improving blood pressure, which can lead to the prevention of heart attack and stroke.
The Antioxidant properties of Bell Peppers assists in the neutralisation of free radicals, which can lead to, improved overall health and may assist in the prevention of cancer.
Incorporating capsicum into the diet
There is perhaps no better flavouring for savoury dishes than the Bell Pepper Capsicum. It can be found incorporated into many dishes in an equal number of ways.
Capsicum is great on Pizzas and as a topping on savouries and entr?Ã¯Â¿Â½e dishes.
Stuffed Capsicums are a popular dish around the world, especially in Italy. Bell Peppers can be stuffed with various fillings and oven baked. They make an ideal side dish or can be incorporated into a main meal.
Bell Pepper Capsicums can be chopped and infused in olive oil to make ideal flavoured oil for salad dressing or as a drizzling for toast or savouries.