The golden rule of keeping the weight off is to eat a lot of vegetables, and such veggies as ball peppers are always the right choice. What makes them good for your health?

Overview

Bell peppers are close relatives of chili peppers and tomatoes; they are native to Central and northern parts of South America. Unripe bell peppers have a green (or, sometimes, pale yellow) color, while ripe peppers are usually colored red, orange and yellow. Nonetheless, the Permagreen variety always remains green (hence the name), and there are also ripe bell peppers colored brown, lavender and even dark purple.

Different types of bell peppers

Taste and nutritional value

The color of the pepper directly influences its taste and nutritional value. Unripe (green) bell peppers often taste slightly bitter than ripe peppers, and red bell peppers are normally sweeter than orange and yellow ones.

A large red pepper contains enough beta-carotene to be converted into more than 100% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A. (While overdosing on vitamin A can harm your health, taking too much beta-carotene has no negative consequences). A large unripe bell pepper contains 8 times less beta-carotene than a ripe one: thus, paying more for red bell peppers has its obvious benefits.

Some 90-95% of the mass of the bell pepper (of any color) are water; thus eating bell peppers when it is hot or you are thirsty is a very good idea.

Ball peppers are extremely rich in vitamin C and contain significant amounts of vitamins B6, K, E, folate, potassium and manganese. They are extremely low in calories, fats and carbohydrates; what’s more, a large bell pepper (either red or green) contains substantial quantities of dietary fiber that helps to prevent constipation.

Pepper nutritional value

Cooking

The best thing about bell peppers is that they do not require cooking: all you need to do it cut them to get rid of whitish seeds (and there are also people who like the taste of ribs and seeds). Slice bell peppers into thin strips put them in a bag and get yourself a healthy alternative to potato chips.

Use them for salads: bell peppers taste especially good if mixed with onions, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli and cauliflowers.

bell pepper salad

Those who like to cook may try to grill bell peppers to give them slightly smoky flavor or stir fry them in a small amount of oil (10 minutes of frying is usually enough to make the peppers tender). You can also roast bell peppers in a gas stove (in about 5 minutes over the gas flame their outer layer becomes black and charred); if you put the roasted peppers into a brown paper bag for about 15 minutes, they will be very easy to peel.

Roasted veggies

It is also possible to steam bell peppers either to prepare them for stuffing or to cook a side dish. Peppers (without stems and seeds) should be placed in a steaming basket and steamed in an upright position; 4 minutes is usually enough to make them soft. Steamed peppers are often stuffed with rice, cheese and chopped vegetables.

Cooking bell pepper