Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
25 Jul

Smart Fuel: Sweet Peppers

Sweet PeppersSweet peppers aren’t just useful for adding a little pizzazz to your salad, eggs, soups or casseroles (is there no end to their talent?) they’re also a serious smart fuel.

To start, sweet peppers are an excellent source of both vitamin C and vitamin A, providing more than 200% and 100%, respectively, of recommended daily allowance per 1 cup serving. These vitamins contain antioxidative properties which effectively neutralize free radicals, a type of cell-damaging molecule whose rap sheet includes promoting atherosclerosis and heart disease and activating symptoms of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and other inflammatory conditions. In addition, sweet peppers contain vitamin B6 and folic acid, which are important for regulating homocysteine levels and thus, blood vessel integrity, as well as fiber for digestive health. Red peppers, in particular, are also an excellent source of lycopene, which is thought to offer a protective benefit against cancers of the cervix, prostate, bladder and pancreas, and beta-cryptoxanthin, which is thought to protect against lung cancer.

Now on to the good stuff! Peppers are generally bell shaped vegetables that feature three or four “lobes,” although it should be noted that there are several varieties that have a more elongated, tapered shape and no visible lobes. The pepper is basically comprised of three parts, a tough, inedible stem, a thick colored flesh and an interior cavity containing edible seeds and a white spongy core. Peppers come in a variety of colors, with green and purple peppers tending to taste more bitter and those on the more red and yellow end of the color spectrum possessing a sweeter, almost fruity, taste.

When selecting a bell pepper, chose those that are uniformly brightly colored and have taut, blemish-free skin. Peppers should feel heavy for their size and should be firm enough so that they yield slightly to light pressure. It should also be noted that while the size of the pepper does not generally have any impact on its taste or quality, some of the more obscurely shaped peppers may be difficult to cut, resulting in increased waste during cooking. While we do recommend washing all produce, this advice should be particularly heeded in the case of peppers both because the skin of the pepper is consumed and because peppers are often treated with a waxy coating to make them more visually appealing. A good scrub with plain old fashioned water – or a mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide – will help remove the majority of pesticides or other contaminants. To further assuage fears of contaminants, opt for organically grown peppers where possible.

As mentioned above, the culinary uses for bell peppers are near limitless. They make an excellent addition to salads of all types, are a popular edition to crudité platters – as referenced by the fact that the peppers are usually the first to go – help add texture (and color…again!) to scrambled eggs and frittatas, and, when roasted and pureed, can add an interesting flavor to winter soups. In addition, red peppers can be dried and ground to create both pimento and paprika.

Here are some fantastic recipes to feed your new sweet pepper craving:

Chili Seared Salmon with Sweet Pepper Salsa

(Don’t mind the rice or tortilla. Eek!)
Seared Salmon

Tomato and Sweet Pickled Pepper Salad

Sweet Pickled Pepper Salad

Three Pepper Salad

Three Pepper Salad
oldbones ~ on the road again! Flickr Photo (CC)

Further Reading:

Top 10 Summer Vegetables

Turmeric: A Spice for Life

Flame Thrower: Top 10 Natural Ways to Reduce Inflammation

Nightshades: Hidden Hazard?

More Smart Fuel!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I regularly use salsa with peppers on chicken, but I never even thought to try it on salmon.

    That could be the perfect thing to liven it up, so I’ll test it out!

    Geek2Freak Brandon wrote on July 25th, 2008
  2. I love, love, lover peppers. The orange pepper is my favorite, and yes I definitely agree with this article, you have to pick the bright vibrant colored pepper as this proves to always help picking the better pepper.

    sean wrote on July 25th, 2008
  3. Ever since I went Primal, I’ve been putting Holland Peppers in everything I eat. Omelets, salads, chili, stir fry; if the recipe calls for onions, I’ll usually toss in a bell pepper just for good measure.

    Bradford wrote on July 25th, 2008
  4. Peppers are nightshades! They can’t be part of the primal diet since they pose a serious health risk to humans.

    Johnny wrote on July 25th, 2008
  5. These posts are great because we all know these things are good for you but knowing specifically why they are is nice, too!

    I was worried you guys had stopped doing this series.

    Johnny – Read their nightshades post linked at the bottom of the article…

    32Simon wrote on July 25th, 2008
  6. My favorite way to eat a pepper is to crunch into it whole like an apple. The peppers I get at the local market are smaller and a little more elongated than the supermarket steroid variety.

    Sonagi wrote on July 25th, 2008
  7. okay.
    Im outing myself.
    resident of texas here and I can not stand peppers.

    I will not eat them in a boat
    I will not chew one–no I wont.

    Not in salsa nor apple-like
    I will not eat one on a bike.

    Tho maybe now that I know WHY
    Ill give these icky things a try.

    I’ll hold my nose & think TO HEALTH!
    And slowly pepper-up myself.


    MizFit wrote on July 26th, 2008
  8. Yay! we say, she’s gonna try!
    We’re so happy we could almost cry

    Roast ’em, grill ’em, eat ’em raw
    Stuff ’em or add them to a slaw

    Red ones, green ones, yellow ones too
    Orange and purple, but not blue

    First for breakfast, then for lunch
    Why not dinner for an evening crunch?

    We hope with this little song and dance
    You too will give peppers their rightful chance

    Aaron wrote on July 26th, 2008
  9. I eat a big bag, about 20 sweet peppers a day, raw. They help me go regular, give me added energy, and boost my morale. I love um!

    Tony madrid wrote on April 15th, 2016

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