Food For Thought: Bell Peppers

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When you think of Bell Peppers, I bet you immediately envision the green ones. But the yellow, red and orange bell peppers are not only beautiful and add a visual interest to dishes, they are tastier and healthier! Green Peppers are picked before they are ripe which is why they are cheaper. They are often bitter and some people can’t digest them. If green bell peppers are left to ripen they will turn yellow, orange, and then red. These are much more flavorful. The orange and yellow have a fruity taste, while the red bell pepper is the most mature and contains more nutrients. A red bell pepper has over 10 times more beta-carotene than green bell peppers and twice the Vitamin C of an orange. Because of the high levels of Vitamin C, beta-carotene, and lutein, this food may protect our eyes by helping ward off cataracts and macular degeneration. The yellow, red and orange peppers are actually easier to digest than green peppers too. They are a good source of fiber and a concentrated source of lycopene which makes them heart healthy.
Bonus! This is an excellent food if you are watching your calories. Just one cup of raw red bell peppers contains only 25 calories. Who doesn’t love that?

You can get bell peppers year round, but they are their most nutrient dense in the summer months, and I recommend you take advantage of them at this time. When shopping, choose the ones with the deepest colors with green stems and firm to the touch. Avoid the ones that are wrinkled or feel soft. Bell peppers rank number seven on the Dirty Dozen, a list of most heavily sprayed pieces of produce. So please purchase these organic to avoid pesticide exposure. For a complete list of the most heavily contaminated produce visit my resource page and download the free pocket size shopping guide.

You should only cook bell peppers for a short time to retain the nutrients. Overcooking will reduce their nutrients as much as 50%.

Of course the best way to eat these is raw. They are so incredibly sweet and crunchy that they make an excellent snack all by themselves. But if you like, try dipping them into some hummus, or dress up some olive oil with fresh cracked pepper and salt and use that as a dip. You can chop in bite size pieces or long strips and add to a salad.

Next time you are cooking fajitas, think about slicing some colorful orange and yellow bell peppers instead of the green ones and sautéing them for no longer than 10 minutes. Remember if you are watching your calories, sauté in low sodium vegetable broth instead of oil. You can top any fish or chicken dish with freshly sautéed peppers.

Consider making a bell pepper salad. Toss raw strips of bell peppers with extra virgin olive oil, some lemon juice, fresh basil and crumbled goat cheese.

And don’t forget how easy it is to add these into stir fries. Dress up a side dish of couscous or rice with small pieces of bell peppers. One of my favorite ways to use these colorful vegetables is to dress up a boring can of beans. I add chopped onion and bell peppers. It turns a boring can of beans into a beautiful tasty side dish.
Written By Karen Roth




About Karen Roth

Hi. My name is Karen Roth, and I’m a Holistic Nutritionist. Okay, I know what you’re thinking… quick, hide the food; the snack police is here! No need to panic. I describe myself as a “practical” nutritionist, one who doesn’t go to extremes one way or the other and understands that life is challenging enough without having to torture yourself by cutting out many of the things you enjoy. Most of us have limited time to shop for food and to cook healthier meals. And a one-size-fits-all approach does not work when it comes to what and how we all eat. Trust me, I get it.

In my early years out of college when I was bartending, my eating and drinking habits were anything but healthy. But, then you grow up and start thinking about the bigger picture and listening more to what your body is telling you. My pre-nutritionist days were on the corporate treadmill where stress and snacking at the desk was part of my daily routine. Never enough hours in the day and proper eating was always at the bottom of my list.

It wasn’t until I broke my jaw in a freak accident that my food life really changed. When you’re wired shut for two months and denied the food you need for your very existence, you begin to look at the world a little differently. When I healed myself, primarily by creating my own foods I could sip through a straw, I decided to pursue something that was always of interest to me… nutrition. Pulling the plug on the corporate treadmill, I went back to school for three years to get my Masters Degree in Holistic Nutrition. I then opened a practice in Valencia, California, and I’m pleased to say that over the years I have helped so many people improve the quality of their lives by helping them make simple changes in their diets and lifestyle.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be time-consuming or tasteless, and it is my intention to bring you practical tips each week on how to fit in nutrition one bite at a time. In addition to being practical, I’m also positive so you don’t have to worry that I am going to be Debby Downer and tell you that everything you put in your mouth is going to kill you. Instead, I will offer you easy to implement, simple strategies to help you improve your health. I’ll be introducing new foods (that taste good – because I don’t eat anything that tastes like sawdust or is unappetizing) and new habits that are realistic. I hope you’ll join me as a regular reader and together we’ll build the healthier you with FOOD FOR THOUGHT.

(Karen Roth, MS, NC is a graduate of Hawthorn University’s Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition training program. She helps her clients to take control of their health with foods choices that best support their specific health condition and specific metabolic type and believes that every ill health condition can benefit and possibly improve from a solid foundation of healthy foods choices. Visit her website at

  • NYC Limo Services

    I think this is one of the healthiest vegetables. It always helps satisfies my hunger and doesn’t have much calories versus the amount.

  • Debra D

    This web site has surely changed my point of view on this subject. Theres no way I wouldve considered about it this way if I hadnt appear across your weblog. All I was performing was cruising the web and I discovered your web site and all of the sudden my views have altered. Very good on you, Ladies!

  • wendy

    Hi, it’s a nice article, and really nice idea.

  • Josh Zavacky

    Whenever I look at me in the mirror I Thank Jesus that I have such an amazing eyesight. pages like this one make me realize it.