Peppers are colourful, tasty, and full of healthy nutrients. Whether you include peppers in your salads or on your homemade pizza, it’s definitely worth keeping a few of these versatile veggies in your vegetable crisper.
What is pepper?
When we talk about peppers here in the United Kingdom, we usually mean bell peppers rather than their spicy relative, the chilli. They’re a member of the nightshade family and are known for their crisp, juicy flesh. While technically a fruit, we usually eat them as a vegetable in salads or stir-fries1.
Peppers have a mild, slightly sweet flavour. They’re not spicy and can be eaten raw or cooked, depending on what you prefer. They tend to come in four different colours: red, orange, yellow, and green. The green variety is a bit more bitter but can add lots of flavour to pizzas and beef dishes2.
What are the health benefits of peppers?
If you don’t already use peppers in your cooking, it could definitely be worth adding them to your shopping list. They’re low in calories, but can provide plenty of healthy nutrients to power up your meal plans.
The nutritional value of a bell pepper typically looks like:
- Calories: 39
- Carbohydrates: 9g
- Fat: 5g
- Protein: 5g
- Fibre: 1g3
Remember, the nutrient profile of bell peppers can be different depending on which colour you choose. The red varieties tend to pack the most punch, which is thought to be because they spend the longest time on the vine4.
Bell peppers also include:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin K1
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin A
Not to mention plenty of antioxidants and plant compounds, like carotenoids and capsanthin5.
Who should avoid eating peppers?
Peppers are safe to eat for most people. Some anecdotal reports suggest that eating fruits and vegetables in the nightshade family could worsen inflammation. However, research doesn’t seem to support this.
Some people may experience an allergic reaction to bell peppers. Allergies like this tend to be quite rare. Still, it’s worth bearing in mind, especially if you have experienced an allergic reaction to other nightshade vegetables6.
Like with any food or supplement, stop eating peppers if you notice any unwanted side effects.
How to include more peppers in your diet
The great thing about bell peppers is that they are incredibly versatile. Whichever colour you choose, you should find it simple to add them into your regular meals.
Some ideas for using bell peppers include:
- Blending into soups
- Chopping into stir-fries and stews
- Topping salads and pizzas
- Roasting or stuffing
- Mixing into salsas and dips
- Enjoying raw with hummus7
Whatever you choose, peppers are a delicious way to add essential nutrients into your diet.
Last Updated: 13th October 2020