Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bell Peppers: Why You Should Put Them On Everything

Bell peppers come in all sorts of colors from the usual reds and greens to yellows, oranges, and purples. Bell peppers are sweet, colorful, and crunchy, but these are not the only reasons to toss them into whatever salad or dish you are making. Bell peppers are among the most nutritious vegetables that you can get.

Red, yellow, and orange peppers get their color from plant pigments called carotenoids. These antioxidants are like sunscreen, protecting the ripening peppers from sun damage. Carotenoids also help improve immunity and fight heart disease and cancer. Orange peppers are also great sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients that prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.

Red peppers also supply abundant amounts of beta-carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A, a nutrient crucial for night vision. Peppers are also rich in vitamin C. Just one small red, yellow, or orange pepper gives you up to three times your daily requirement of C. Vitamin C also protects against heart disease and stomach and colon cancers. It helps heal wounds. Peppers also provide vitamin B6, another immune-supporting nutrient that in addition helps your body use protein and fiber.

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