NUTRITION

Bell Peppers and the Bountiful Benefits!

05/14/2015

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One of the go-to snacks in our house is bell peppers and hummus.  I am lucky that my children LOVE this combination and will eat it up without complaint.  In fact, my four year old requested it for breakfast yesterday, which I happily obliged to.  I have the same fondness of this combination and could probably eat it daily without getting tired of it!  I also love cooked bell peppers with onions and sausage, stuffed bell peppers, bell peppers chopped into a home-made salsa, and….well, you get the point!  I think sweet bell peppers are probably one of the easiest veggies to get my family to eat, and lucky for us there are a LOT of wonderful health benefits to these low-calorie, delicious, and nutritious vegetables.

Here are a handful of the perks of the bell pepper:

1.  Bell peppers are jam packed with Vitamin A, B, C and E!

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2.  They contain manganese, which is a mineral that promotes strong bones and connective tissues.

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3.  Bell peppers contain sulfur which can be helpful in the prevention of various cancers.

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3.  They have phytochemicals and carotenoids that provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

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5.  Bell peppers contain carotenoids, such as lutein and zeaxanthin which play a substantial role in the health of your eyes and decrease risk of macular degeneration.

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I try to keep our fridge stocked with prepped veggies including this tasty treat as it makes for a very convenient and satisfying snack.  In order to get the greatest benefit from your peppers, remember that you want the peppers with the most vivid colors and firm skin – make sure they aren’t going soft and full of blemishes or wrinkles. Red bell peppers tend to have higher levels of vitamins than their orange, green, and yellow siblings. When storing your peppers remember that they have about a 7-10 day shelf life in the fridge and can benefit from a damp towel being added into the veggie drawer to help them retain their moisture.  You should store them unwashed and wash them in cold, rather than warm water – which actually depletes the nutrients!  Also, I try not to cut my peppers too far in advance and if I can I like to prep them on the spot as they retain more nutritional value if the stem stays in- BUT even if I lose some of the nutrients I gain more by eating the pre-cut ones than if I let the uncut ones go bad in the fridge due to lack of convenience.  I hope all this helps!  I’d love to hear if you have any tips, tricks, or recipes you’d like to share!  Comment below 🙂

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