Capsicums A Storehouse Of Vitamins And Minerals, With Numerous Benefits

Capsicum, or bell pepper, is a must for Chinese dishes in our country. These relatives of chilli are more famous for their distinct smell and less spiciness. They are irreplaceable for preparation of salads and various dumplings also.

As they require cool climate for growth, they were a bit costly. But with the advent of technology in agriculture, they are now available all year round.

Red capsicums start out green, but if left on the bush to ripen, they eventually turn red. Other types of capsicum turn yellow, orange, brown or purple/black in colour.

These bell-shaped and plump vegetables were cultivated more than 900 years ago in south and central America and were given the name pepper by European colonizers of North America.

The fruit of most species of capsicum contains capsaicin (methyl-n-vanillyl nonenamide) — a lipophilic chemical that produces the strong burning sensation (pungency or spiciness). Capsaicin has a mild thermogenic action that increases metabolism without increasing the heart rate and blood pressure — unlike hot peppers — which aids in weight loss.

Also, the presence of low amount of fat is an advantage for weight-conscious people. Hundred grams of bell pepper contains around 4.64 g of carbohydrates and 1.8 g of dietary fibre. So, a diet which includes capsicum is both filling and healthy for the digestive system.

These aesthetic vegetables are also a storehouse of vitamins and minerals. According to USDA, 100 grams of bell pepper contains 80.4 mg of Vitamin C, which serves as an excellent source of antioxidant for our body and builds a healthy immune system.

Vitamin C is also used in the formation of collagen. Collagen is required by hair follicles, blood vessel and skin to stay healthy and for their optimal growth. Vitamin C deficiency can cause dry, splitting hair that breaks easily.

Collagen also helps to keep the skin firm and protects the cells from further damage. It also has sufficient amount of Vitamin E and K which are required for maintenance of a healthy skin and proper metabolism. Vitamin K is also essential for blood clotting and is a rarely available vitamin.

Presence of Vitamin A is higher in red bell pepper, which helps to support healthy eyesight and delay age-related visual loss. It also contains Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Pantothenic acid (B5), Vitamin B6 and Folate ( B9). According to research, Vitamin B6 helps to reduce bloating and prevents hypertension and folate helps to lower homocysteine levels, thus reducing the risk of heart.

In mineral content, bell pepper is high in potassium ( 175 mg per 100g) and phosphorus (20mg per 100 g). It also has good amount of calcium, magnesium, sodium, iron, zinc and manganese. All these minerals are highly important for proper metabolism of our body. Potassium, along with phosphorus, helps in lowering high blood pressure.

These numerous benefits make bell pepper an absolute must for foodies. Also, capsicum farming is highly beneficial for the farmers.

People are slowly getting a lot of profit from protected cultivation of yellow and red bell pepper. So, it becomes a win-win situation for both the consumer and producer.

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