Bell Pepper, Flavor and Health in One Food

Besides its delicious flavor and versatility in gastronomy, the bell pepper is highly consumed for its great nutritional value. Today we will tell you some interesting facts about this food.

Bell Pepper, Flavor and Health in One Food
Bell Pepper. Photo by charlesdeluvio / Unsplash

Apart from its delicious flavor and its versatility in gastronomy, bell peppers are highly consumed for their great nutritional value. Today we will tell you some interesting facts about this food.

Professor Leticia Xóchitl López Martínez, Conacyt Chairs researcher commissioned to the Laboratory of Antioxidants and Functional Foods of the Center for Research in Food and Development (CIAD), explains that this vegetable is a rich source of vitamin C, a nutrient associated with the immune system, as well as compounds such as β-carotene and cryptoxanthin, antioxidant components that help, among other things, to slow cellular aging.

Green, yellow and red peppers predominate on supermarket shelves, although there are also oranges and purples and, in extraordinary cases, brown or black peppers; what is the difference between them? Although their tonality is different, they are the same vegetable.

There are varieties of bell peppers that, even when ripe, will always be green; some varieties go from green to orange and others from green to red. With the degree of maturation; that is, the level of sweetness is modified: the green is less sweet than the purple.

Although there are exceptions in their commercialization, it is a generality to find that, when sold separately, green peppers are usually cheaper than yellow and red. This is because, as the ripening time is extended, this entails higher costs for the producer, which have an impact on the final price to the consumer.

Just as the color, flavor, and price change according to the type of crop and ripening time, their nutritional qualities are also modified with ripening. Green peppers present that coloration due to an abundant amount of chlorophyll, in addition to containing small amounts of violaxanthin and β-carotene, while yellow peppers have more violaxanthin, lutein, and β-carotene.

As for orange peppers, it should be known that they are richer in alpha, beta, and gamma carotene types and, finally, red peppers contain a higher amount of capsanthin, lutein, β-carotene, and violaxanthin, in addition to a higher content of vitamin C, these being important antioxidant compounds that help our body protect cells, tissues and organs against the development of heart and eye diseases, among others.

CIAD conducts different types of research on bell peppers, such as the effect of ripening on their bioactive components and how this affects their biological activities. Leticia Xóchitl López Martínez is a Conacyt Chair researcher commissioned to CIAD.