Bell Pepper
In Mexico, as well as in Central and South American countries, the consumption of
peppers (Capsicum annuum) has been tradition for thousands of years; the per capita
dietary intake of peppers is about 40 g/day. Peppers are an important source of
beta-carotene and vitamin A, which may have anti-cancer properties. Gonzaez de Mejia E
and co-workers from Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro, Centro Universitario, Mexico,
found 1.53 g of bell pepper extract could achieve inhibition on 1-NP; 1,6-DNP and
1,8-DNP mutagenicity respectively. [1]

Bell peppers are a great source of vitamins A and C. They make a colorful addition to any
meal. Bell peppers can be found in a rainbow of colors and can vary in flavor. The variety
of the pepper plant and the stage of the ripeness determine the flavor and color of each
pepper. For example, a red bell pepper is simply a mature green bell pepper. As a bell
pepper ages, its flavor becomes sweeter and milder. Red bell peppers contain eleven
times more beta-carotene than green bell peppers.

Bell peppers are available and are in good supply all year, but they are more plentiful and
less expensive during the summer months. Fresh peppers come in variety of colors,
shapes, and sizes, but when selecting them, they all follow the same guidelines. Their skin
should be firm without any wrinkles, and the stem should be fresh and green. They should
feel heavy for their size. Avoid peppers with sunken areas, slashes or black spots.

Store unwashed bell peppers in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. They will stay fresh for
about a week. Green bell peppers will stay fresh a little longer than the yellow and red

One serving of green bell pepper is 1/2 cup or 75 g. It contains 20 calories, 0 calories
from fat, 0 g of total fat, 0 g of saturated fat, 0 g of cholesterol, 1.5 mg of sodium, 5 g of
total carbohydrate, 1 g of dietary fiber, 2 g of sugars, 1 g of protein, 4% of daily value of
vitamin A, 60% of vitamin C. For  red bell pepper, you get 45% of vitamin A and 240% of
vitamin C per serving!! For yellow pepper, you get 2% of vitamin A and 230% of vitamin
C. (Percent daily values are based on a 2000 calories diet.)

[1] Gonzaez de Mejia E et al, Antimutagenic activity of carotenoids in green peppers against some nitroarenes. Mutat Res. 1998
Aug 7;416(1-2):11-9. Source
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