Bell peppers

Bell peppers

Bell peppersBell peppers exist in different colors. Most people know red and green peppers, but there are many different types of bell pepper. Besides the fact that they are sweet, they are also a versatile product which you can use in a wide variety of dishes. Bell peppers also help to fight various diseases. These can range from a common cold to cancer. If you want to find out more, keep reading!

Description

Bell peppers are widely available and you can usually find them in supermarkets or at your local vegetable store. The family of plants to which bell peppers belong to is called the family of nightshades. The scientific name of this family of plants is called Solanaceae. Other types of vegetables which belong to this same family include tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, chili pepper and cayenne pepper. Not all potatoes, however, belong to this family of plants. For example, yams and sweet potatoes belong to another family of plants. The scientific name of bell peppers is Capsicum annuum. The scientific name is not only used to refer to bell pepper but it also includes many other types of peppers. Other types of pepper which are also considered to be Capsicum annuum include jalapeno peppers, chili peppers, wax peppers and cayenne peppers. Most people are familiar with green or red bell pepper. However, bell pepper comes in many different colors and shapes. You will also be able to find bell peppers which are brown, purple, orange and yellow. It could very well be that the bell peppers with a green color you purchase might not actually be fully ripe. They could be non-ripe and immature versions of these color varieties. However, it is not the case that all bell peppers are green when they mature. Also, not all bell peppers become a different color when they are mature.

Paprika

Many people also use the term “paprika” to refer to bell peppers. Paprika, however, is the dried and powdered form of bell pepper. Paprika powder in the store usually has a red color. This leads to many people thinking that paprika comes from the red bell pepper. This is not necessarily the case. Paprika powder can actually be made from any color of bell pepper. When another type of bell pepper is dried and turned into powder, it will also have a red color. It is not necessary to wait until the bell pepper is fully ripe. They can actually be eaten at any stage of development. Various studies have shown that the vitamin C content as well as the carotenoid content in bell peppers increases at the end of the ripening process. Thus, it is recommended to consume bell peppers which have reached their optimal ripeness. The bell pepper which have reached their optimal ripeness are also considered to be more flavorful compared to those in the beginning of the ripening process.

History

Bell peppers are estimated to have been around for more than 9000 years. It is thought that the first cultivation of bell peppers took place in Central and South America. This is also one of the regions where bell peppers are still commonly used. The people who referred to the peppers as “bell peppers” for the first time were the European colonizers. They came to Central and South America around the 16th century. After the European colonizers had arrived in this region, they decided to bring back the product to Europe. Thus, bell peppers were introduced in Europe at the end of the 16th century. The original name for bell peppers in Spanish is “pimiento”. The reason why bell peppers are found all over the world is  because they can grow in different climate types. Bell peppers are used in almost every cuisine in the world. You will be able to find bell peppers on the markets of Africa, Central America, North America and the Middle East. Bell peppers are also commonly sold and used in both Europe and Asia. With regards to the commercial production of bell peppers, China is considered to be leading commercial producer of bell peppers. In 2007, for example, China producers more than 14 million metric tons of bell peppers. The second largest producer of bell pepper is Mexico. Mexico produced more than 2 million metric tons of bell peppers in the same year. Mexico is then followed by the United States, who produce an average of 1 million metric tons of bell peppers every year. Within the United States, the states which produce the most bell peppers are California and Florida. This is due to the fact that the climate of these states is considered to be ideal for the cultivation of bell peppers.


Weight loss

Besides the fact that bell peppers are versatile and sweet, they also provide different health benefits. For example, you can make them part of your everyday diet if you are trying to lose weight. Many people wonder what the best way is to lose weight. Of course it is possible to lose a couple of kilograms in a few weeks. However, if you want your weight loss to be effective on the long-term, it is important to adjust your diet accordingly. One of the main dietary weight loss tips is that you need to replace your snacks with healthy snacks. Bell peppers can serve as a helpful snack and you can make them part of your home-cooked meals. Bell peppers only contain 37 calories per serving. At the same time, bell peppers provide your body with a high number of nutrients. Thus, they do not only contribute to weight loss, but you also ensure that you get your daily dose of nutrients and vitamins. Instead of having potato chips or cookies as a snack, cut bell peppers in small slices and have them as your afternoon snack. If you want more flavor, you can make a mix of cucumbers, carrots and bell peppers and dip them in a portion of hummus.

Reduce the risk of heart disease

Another health benefit of bell peppers is that they can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. When bell peppers become part of your regular diet, they can contribute to reducing the risk of various heart diseases. The specific components which contribute to this health benefits are the carotenoids and the plant-based antioxidants. These compounds help to reduce the damage which is caused by oxidation. It is particularly the red type of bell pepper which contains a high concentration of beta-carotene. Other compounds which are present in large quantities in red peppers are lutein and alpha-carotene. Various studies have confirmed that foods which are high in carotenoids reduce the risk of cancer. Moreover, these types of food also reduce the activity of free radicals in our bodies. A study which was conducted in 2008 found that you can increase the efficacy of antioxidants in bell peppers when you steam them. Thus, steam cook bell peppers before consuming them if you can to get an extra dose of antioxidants.

Improving immunity

Bell peppers are also known for improving the immune system. This is particularly due to the presence of vitamin A in bell peppers. Vitamin A plays an important role in fighting different serious diseases. Vitamin A can help to fight both short-term as well as more serious diseases. For example, various studies have confirmed that the vitamin can play a role in fighting cancer but can also be efficient in fighting common cold. Bell peppers are also recommended when you are under a lot of stress. They can boost your immune system during this time. They can contribute to improving your immune system due to the high concentration of vitamin C. It is known that people who have high concentration of vitamin C in their body are less likely to contract various diseases. Thus, they are less likely to contract a common cold. Another health benefit of bell peppers is that they can help to reduce inflammation. Inflammation are usually considered to be at the root of many different diseases. For example, different forms of cancer often find their roots in inflammations in the body.

Preparation and serving methods

Generally speaking, most people treat bell peppers the same way as they treat other vegetables in their kitchen. Since bell peppers have a crunchy and firm texture, they are ideal for a wide variety of dishes. Moreover, their sweet and delicate flavor also contributes to them being perfect as a side dish or a snack. When preparing bell peppers, make sure to wash them beforehand with cold water. Continue to cut the stem. The stem is not consumed. Another component which is not consumed is the central core and its seeds. Thus, you should end up with an “empty”  and hollow pepper. Depending on how you want to cook the bell peppers, you can cut them in ring, strips of in cubes. If you know that you have a sensitive skin, then it could be that you might feel a burning sensation when cutting the bell peppers. Thus, in case you have sensitive skin, it is recommended to work with thin gloves. There are many different ways how you can cook and serve bell peppers. You can choose to steam them, stir fry them or put them in the oven with a mix of other vegetables. However, as mentioned before, you can also eat bell peppers raw. Raw bell peppers serve as a perfect afternoon snack. Another way to serve bell peppers is by stuffing them with meat, cheddar cheese, rice and dried fruits. You can them cook or roast them, depending on your personal preference. Bell peppers are also a popular ingredient in Italian pastas and pizzas.

How to select and store

Almost all supermarkets sell bell peppers. When choosing bell peppers, pick those which have deep and vivid colors. Also, make sure that they are free of blemishes and soft spots. They should also have a taut skin and they should be free from any darkened areas. You should also check that the stem has a vivid green color and it should look fresh. Another thing to pay attention to is that they should be heavy in size. Generally speaking, the shape of bell peppers does not affect their quality. It could, however, be that certain shapes of bell peppers could result in excessive waste. It could also be that they are not suitable for the particular dish you are preparing. Bell peppers are available throughout the year. However, their season is between the summer and fall. If you want to store bell peppers, it is best to store them in the refrigerator. They will last between seven to ten days. It is not recommended to wash the peppers before you store them in the refrigerator. Also, they should not be cut before being stored. It is also possible to store bell peppers in the freezer. Similarly as storing them in the refrigerator, it is not recommended to wash or cut the peppers before storing them. This is because this can affect the nutrient content as well as the flavor of the peppers.





                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Article written by: SarahAjaoud
Times read: 689x
Added: 12-02-2017 23:42
Last modified: 09-05-2017 23:31

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