Are there any beneficial health differences between red, yellow, orange or green peppers?
~ Marc (MA)
What a timely question you have posed considering bell pepper season is right around the corner! I’m sure that we have all noticed that there is a difference in taste between green bell peppers and the yellow, orange and red ones; green peppers are the least sweet out of the four varieties, however all bell peppers are considered “sweet peppers.” Reason being, capsaicin, which is the element that makes chili peppers spicy, is absent. Time to explore the various nutrient profiles of these bell-shaped delights!
Green peppers: These peppers are classified as “unripened” amongst its brother peppers, if you will. However, even though they are immature, green bell peppers contain a number of vital nutrients such as potassium (important for regulating blood pressure, promoting muscle contraction and regular heartbeats), vitamin C (helps assist in tissue growth and repair, aids in the prevention of cancer, guards against infection and strengthens immunity) and vitamin A (supports the immune system, enhances lung function and can improve eyesight).
Red Peppers: These peppers are considered “fully ripened” or matured. They contain the same nutrients that are found in green peppers, however the content is higher since they have been allowed more time to bloom on the vine. Additionally, they contain lycopene, an antioxidant pigment that can help prevent certain types of cancer such as prostate and breast cancer. Other pigment related nutrients distinct to red bell peppers are lutein and zeaxanthin, which are known to aid in the prevention macular degeneration and cataracts.
Yellow/Orange Peppers: These peppers fall in between green and red bell peppers on the “ripeness” spectrum. They contain the same types of nutrients that are abovementioned for green and red peppers in different quantities. Yellow/orange peppers have larger amounts of that which is found in green peppers because they are more mature, however they have less than red peppers since red peppers are fully developed.
Grab yourself some of these crunchy rainbow veggies and incorporate them in your favorite dishes for a nutritional boost!
~ Miss Chef RD