Capsicum is the genus of pepper plants, which includes sweet peppers such as bell peppers. These peppers are a part of the nightshade family along with eggplant, potatoes and tomatoes. This vegetable is native to the Americas but is produced and used worldwide in international cuisines and as natural remedies. Capsicums are sweet and tangy, though the green varieties tend to taste more bitter.
Table of Contents:
- Types of Capsicum
- Nutritional Value of Capsicum
- Capsicum Benefits
- Weight Loss Benefits of Capsicum
- Best Ways to Incorporate Capsicum in Meals
Types of Capsicum
Capsicum comes in different colours and species and because of that the vegetable lends varied nutritional and flavour profiles. Some of the most common types of capsicums include:
- Red capsicum
- Yellow capsicum
- Green capsicum
- Orange capsicum
- Purple/Black capsicum
These different colours are due to distinct pigments that attribute to varying nutrients and antioxidants profile.
Red Capsicum – Red capsicums, for example, contain more phytonutrients than any of the other capsicums, making them the type with the highest antioxidant content. It has 11 times more beta-carotene, and one and a half times more vitamin C than green varieties.
Green Capsicum – Green capsicums contain less sugar than red, yellow or orange varieties. People sometimes report digestive issues with green capsicums, as this variety contains more short-chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine.
Nutritional Value of Capsicum
Among the different types of capsicum, there are also different nutritional profiles. For the benefit of weighing in on the nutritional value of a capsicum, we will include all colors and varieties of the capsicum.
Capsicum contains very low fat and is very high in fibre as well as water content. There is also a low amount of carbohydrates and calories in capsicum and is the reason why it is so beneficial for weight loss programs or if you’re looking for a healthy, light snack.
|Nutrients||Value (in 1 cup)|
|Total Carbohydrate||6.9 gram|
|Dietary fiber||2.5 gram|
Vitamins and Minerals
Capsicum not only contains high amounts of fibre, but it contains high amounts of micro-nutrients that are extremely beneficial to your body’s function. Capsicum is extremely high in vitamin C and covers about 213% of your daily recommended intake. Vitamin C is essential for many processes in the body including immune function, wound healing and the synthesis of collagen.
In addition to vitamin C, capsicum is also high in vitamin A, comprising 93% of your daily recommended intake. Vitamin A is vital for immune support, reproduction and vision strength. Red and orange peppers are especially high in carotenoids, a form of vitamin A.
Also, capsicum is relatively high in vitamin B6, a vitamin that is significant for the metabolism of protein, fats and carbohydrates. And folate, which is a crucial B-vitamin required for the production of white and red blood cells in the bone marrow. Capsicum also contains trace amounts of niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, and pantothenic acid.
Free radicals are produced by the body through oxidation and exposure to toxins like pollution, certain food, over-exposure to sunlight, and alcohol.
These free radicals can produce chain reactions that can damage cells. Antioxidants help stop this process by inhibiting oxidation and protecting cells from further damage.
6 Proven Health Benefits of Capsicum
Capsicum contains a whole array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that protect our cells and boost the immune system. Here are some additional benefits of capsicum you may not have been aware of:
1. Capsicum Helps Improve Eye Health
Capsicum is incredibly beneficial for vision health. Capsicums are high in lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids that protect your retina from oxidative damage. Our eyes, being directly exposed to oxygen and light, can promote the growth of free radicals which cause damage to their cells. These two carotenoids kill free radicals, thus protecting our eyes. Studies show that consuming foods that contain high amounts of carotenoids can protect your eyes from macular degeneration and blue light effects.
2. Capsicum Prevents Anaemia
Anaemia is a condition that is usually caused due to low iron in the body. A characteristic of the condition is that it reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood. As a result, most people with anaemia, feel sluggish and tired without a clear reason. Capsicum is very high in vitamin C and is also moderately high in iron. The combination of these two vitamins and minerals allows the iron to be absorbed by our bodies more effectively and thus increases the oxygen in the blood.
3. Capsicum Reduces Anxiety\
Capsicum is high in both magnesium and vitamin B6. Studies show that these two vitamins are essential for nerve function and help relieve anxiety and prevent panic attacks. Another study reflects on magnesium and how it helps to ease tense muscles that result from anxiety. It also helps with proper heartbeat regulation.
4. Capsicum Prevents Cancer
Capsicum contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that have been shown to prevent certain types of cancers. The carotenoid lycopene present in capsicum has proven itself to be effective in lowering the risk of cervix, prostate, pancreas and bladder cancer. In fact, orange capsicum has been found to cut prostate cancer growth rate by 75%.
5. Capsicum Boosts Immunity
Capsicum is very high in Vitamin C. Red capsicum has the highest vitamin C content among most fruit and vegetables. Foods high in vitamin C are beneficial for the immune system. Vitamin C in capsicum can also protect the body against infection by encouraging the production of white blood cells.
6. Capsicum Improves Bone Health
Capsicum is rich in manganese, a mineral that is a cofactor in the formation of bone cartilage and bone collagen and is essential for bone mineralization. The Vitamin K in capsicum also plays a role in strengthening bones and protecting against osteoporosis.
Weight Loss Benefits of Capsicum
Capsicum contains a nutritional profile excellent for weight loss. Not only are capsicums rich in vitamins and minerals, but they are high in fibre and water content. Choosing vegetables and fruits that are high in fibre and nutrient-dense is key to weight management. Fibre and water also provide the feeling of satiety and can effectively suppress the appetite and prevent overeating.
Capsicums contain high amounts of vitamin B6. This vitamin is essential for many metabolic processes. It helps break down proteins into amino acids, aids in the synthesis of glucose from carbohydrates and breaks down fats effectively. Vitamin B6 can also help maintain your blood glucose and prevent blood sugar spikes. When one is losing weight, it’s important to keep their blood sugar balanced in order to prevent sugar cravings and overeating.
Red capsicums contain higher amounts of antioxidants and nutrients that aid in weight loss than other varieties. These phytonutrients help in preventing conditions like free radical formation and internal inflammation that act as predisposing factors to obesity and associated metabolic disorders.
So if you are confused as to which capsicum to choose for your weight loss journey, the more red the vegetable, the better. However, if you are looking to dramatically reduce sugar or if you are diabetic, green capsicums contain less sugar than other varieties and can provide a good low-sugar snack.
Best Ways to Incorporate Capsicum in Meals
Owing to the availability of different varieties of capsicum with varying colours, tastes, and benefits, there are lots of ways to incorporate capsicum into meals. capsicum can be used in recipes such as curries, pizzas, breakfast hashes, stir-fries, and pasta dishes. soups, salads, or roasted as a topping for hummus. The best way to incorporate capsicum into your diet is by pairing it with a dip and eating it raw. Capsicum is sweet and tangy making this veggie perfect for eating on its own. The vegetable can also be juiced along with other fruits, lemon juice and greens. Capsicum can be destemmed and cored, making it perfect for stuffing rice, quinoa, potatoes or other meats inside. Here is a recipe for a fragrant, hearty stuffed capsicum.
Vegetarian Stuffed Capsicum
- 4 medium-sized capsicum
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled, cubed and boiled
- 1 large onion
- 100 g paneer
- ½ carrot, chopped,
- ½ cup peas
- 1-2 green chilli
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- ½ piece of ginger
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- ½ tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp dry mango powder
- ½ cup coriander leaves
- 1 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
- Heat oil in a pan on medium heat. Add cumin seeds and cook until they start to splutter. Add grated ginger, garlic and green chillies to the mixture.
- Now, add onions and cook until onions are translucent.
- Next, add salt, red chilli powder, garam masala, coriander powder, turmeric powder, and dry mango powder and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Further, add boiled potatoes and mash slightly with the rest of the mixture. Add carrots and peas or other vegetables of choice.
- Now, add the grated paneer and chopped coriander leaves. Mix together and then set aside.
- For stuffing, cut the capsicum and remove the seeds. Cut the bottom slightly so the capsicum can sit on a flat surface.
- Now, fill the capsicum with the stuffing and flatten slightly. Bake stuffed capsicum in a 350F oven until capsicum is slightly browned on all sides.
Another way to enjoy capsicum is in sauces and dips. Roasting capsicum produces a rich, smooth-textured vegetable that can be used in tomato sauce and dips like Muhammara. Muhammara is a roasted red pepper and walnut dip that is popular in Lebanon. This recipe is gluten-free and features a unique ingredient, pomegranate molasses which you can make yourself by boiling down pomegranate juice. You can use any type of capsicum you like except for green because it can be quite bitter.
This toasty, sweet and tangy dip is high in protein, antioxidants and fibre.
- 1 cup walnuts
- 3 large red capsicums (yellow or orange work too)
- ½ cup gluten-free breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp mild chilli flakes
- 1 tbsp tahini
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp paprika
- 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses (plus more for drizzling)
- Kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Toast walnuts on a baking sheet, halfway through baking, toss around and redistribute evenly.
- Bake until golden brown (about 8-10 minutes). Let it cool. Pick out a few walnuts for garnish, coarsely chop and set aside.
- Meanwhile, place the oven rack in the upper third of the oven, close to the element or broiler.
- Broil capsicum on a baking sheet, flipping over halfway through until skin is charred (12-15 minutes). Alternatively, you can char peppers over a gas burner on medium-high.
- Transfer peppers to a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap, or place in a plastic zip bag.
- Steam peppers for 10 minutes. Remove skins from peppers and discard seeds.
- Now, in a food processor, combine capsicum, gluten-free bread crumbs, oil, chili flakes, tahini, lemon juice, paprika, toasted walnuts and 2 tbsp of pomegranate molasses. Pour for a minute or so, then blend until smooth and season with salt.
- Transfer dip to a bowl and drizzle with pomegranate molasses and top with chopped walnuts. Serve with pita, veggies or bread.
Capsicum is a vegetable that comes in a wide array of colours and varieties and offers an impressive nutritional profile containing vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and compounds specific to capsicums like capsanthin and capsorubin.
Some of the most prevalent nutrients found in capsicum are vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6 and folate. Red capsicums are one of the most vitamin C-rich foods in the world. Just 100g gives you 213% of your daily recommended intake.
If you are looking to lose weight, capsicum can be a great food to incorporate into your daily diet. Because the vegetable contains a high amount of fibre and water, it can aid weight loss and help boost metabolism. capsicum can easily be incorporated into daily meals. Try stuffed capsicum, incorporate it into a delicious curry or simply eat it raw with hummus or guacamole.
Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQs)
Is capsicum good for skin?
Yes, capsicum, especially red ones, are very beneficial for the skin. Its high vitamin C content acts as an antioxidant to fight against free radicals promoting healthy skin and preventing the premature signs of ageing. The signs of ageing like wrinkles, fine lines and uneven skin tones can even be reversed by regular consumption of capsicum. Vitamin C in capsicum stimulates collagen production which makes the skin softer and more elastic.
Which colour capsicum is best?
Red capsicums are the healthiest among all capsicums.
What vitamins are in capsicum?
Capsicum is extremely high in vitamin C which is essential for many processes in the body including immune function, wound healing and the synthesis of collagen. In addition to vitamin C, capsicum is also high in vitamin A. Vitamin A is vital for immune support, reproduction and vision strength. Red and orange peppers are especially high in carotenoids, a form of vitamin A. Also, capsicum is relatively high in vitamin B6, a vitamin that is significant for the metabolism of protein, fats and carbohydrates. And folate, which is a crucial B-vitamin required for the production of white and red blood cells in the bone marrow. Capsicum also contains trace amounts of niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, and pantothenic acid.
Is it OK to eat capsicum every day?
Yes, you can have capsicums every day. Capsicum offers an impressive nutritional profile containing vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and compounds specific to capsicums like capsanthin and capsorubin. It has several health benefits like promoting eye and bone health, anti-cancer and anti-stress properties, prevention of amaenia and immunity booster.
What is the healthiest capsicum?
Red capsicums are the healthiest among all capsicums. Red capsicums contain more phytonutrients than any of the other capsicums, making them the type with the highest antioxidants content. It has 11 times more beta-carotene, and one and a half times more vitamin C than green varieties.
Is yellow capsicum better than green?
Yes, yellow capsicum is considered better in terms of taste and health benefits than green ones. Yellow capsicums have a higher phytonutrient and antioxidant profile along with better counts of Vitamin A and C.
Can we eat raw capsicum?
Yes, capsicums can be eaten raw or cooked. Both have a different set of benefits and drawbacks and you may want to choose one based on your preference.
Is capsicum good for the liver?
Yes, capsicums are rich in capsaicin, a compound that has been proven to have beneficial effects on liver damage and conditions like fatty liver. Furthermore, vitamin E also protects the liver against any potential damage from unhealthy food habits.
Are capsicum seeds harmful?
No capsicum seeds are not harmful and can be eaten. However, they are mostly removed because of their bitter aftertaste that can spoil the flavour of a dish.
Is capsicum good for blood pressure?
Capsicum has shown to be beneficial for heart health which includes:- reducing high levels of blood cholesterol, triglycerides while regulating heart rate and hypertension.
Is capsicum good for the stomach?
Yes, capsicums are good for the stomach as they boost the production of gastric juices thus facilitating the process of digestion. The fibre of capsicums also prevents constipation and keeps bowel movement regular and easy.