What Is Capsicum?
Capsicum, also known as bell pepper, is ideally a herb. The fruit that grows on this herb plant is commonly eaten as a nutritional dietary food and even applied to our skin for things like arthritis, pain, and various other conditions.
The fruit of the capsicum plant contains a unique chemical called capsaicin. This chemical is beneficial in reducing inflammation and pain. Capsicum is also commonly used for things like nerve pain. It is also used for weight loss-related purposes and curing digestion problems. It is also helpful in improving the conditions of the heart and even blood vessels. Now let us look at points to answer our main question: is capsicum good for health?
One medium-sized capsicum has about 31 kcal, and good protein content of 1.18g. It has a shallow fat content of 0.36g, which, when broken down, it is found that one capsicum has saturated fat of only 0.07g and polyunsaturated fat of 0.186g.
To add more, it has zero cholesterol, and the monounsaturated fat content is only 0.008g. It has 7.28 carbohydrates and 5mg of sugar. The fibre content in capsicum is as high as 2.4g, and the sodium and potassium content is 2mg and 251mg, respectively.
Types of Capsicum
People often wonder what the differences are between bell peppers vs capsicum.
Both are very similar with respect to nutrition. The red, yellow, and coloured versions are commonly called bell peppers, whereas the green ones are capsicums. Capsicum is available in 3 different colours, and because of that, this vegetable lends a variety of nutritional and flavourful profiles. A few of the most commonly found types of capsicums are:
- Yellow capsicum
- Red capsicum
- Orange capsicum
- Green capsicum
- Purple/Black capsicum
The different colours are attributable to many distinct pigments that exist due to a rich nutritional and antioxidants profile.
Red capsicum, for instance, contains a lot of phytonutrients compared to any of the other capsicums, making them the type with the highest antioxidants content. Red capsicums have more beta-carotene content and vitamin C levels than green ones.
The nutrients in green capsicum are also wonderous for our health as they contain high amounts of vitamin A, C, K and potassium.
Benefits of Capsicum
Capsicums contain many nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that help protect our cells and boost our immunity. Here are a few capsicum health benefits we are not commonly aware of:
1. Improves Eye Health
Capsicum has immense benefits for our vision and eye health. The main reason is that capsicum has high zeaxanthin and lutein. These are two carotenoids that aid in protecting our retina against oxidative damage. Research shows that consuming foods containing high amounts of these carotenoids can protect our eyes from primary macular degeneration.
2. Helps in Prevention of Anaemia
Anaemia is a commonly found condition, especially in females, that often happens due to low iron levels in their bodies. A feature of this condition is that it decreases oxygen levels in our blood. Consequently, anaemic people mostly feel sluggish or tired without any apparent reason. Capsicum is very high in iron. This combination allows speedy and effective absorption of iron in our bodies, preventing anaemia.
3. Reduces Anxiety
Capsicum has high levels of vitamin B6, magnesium, and even sodium. These three vitamins are essential for nerve functioning and help reduce anxiety. They even help in managing panic attacks. High magnesium levels in capsicum also help with relaxing tense muscles caused due to anxiety. It also helps with the proper regulation of the heartbeat.
4. Fights Cancer
Capsicum has a lot of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits that are effective in preventing certain kinds of cancers. Orange and red capsicum are proven remedies for prostate cancer as they reduce its propagation by almost 75%.
5. Improves Immunity
Capsicum has very high Vitamin C levels. Red bell pepper has the highest levels of vitamin C among many other vegetables and fruits. Due to this, bell peppers are beneficial for our immune system. The vitamin C present in capsicum protects our body against several infections by aiding the production of white blood cells.
6. Aids Bone Health
Capsicum is highly rich in manganese. This mineral contributes to the formation of our bone cartilage and even bone collagen, hence becoming essential for our bone mineralisation. Capsicum also has high amounts of Vitamin K that plays a role in making bones strong and protecting us against conditions like osteoporosis.
7. Capsicum Benefits for Skin
Vitamin C is plentiful in red, green, and yellow capsicums, which aids in the building of collagen. Collagen maintains the skin's firmness and shields the cells from any harm. It improves the skin's ability to protect itself from oxidative damage.
Bell pepper juice contains antioxidants and phytonutrients that keep the skin looking bright and healthy.
8. Benefits of Capsicum for Hair
One of the explanations on why these bell pepper plants and fruits are beneficial to hair is that they are rich in vitamin C, which is necessary for healthy hair. Vitamin C aids iron absorption, guaranteeing that adequate iron in red blood cells to transport oxygen to hair follicles. Collagen is formed with the help of vitamin C.
Hair follicles, circulatory systems, and skin need collagen to remain healthy and function properly. A lack of vitamin C can result in hair that is dry, split, and often breaks.
9. Capsicum for Weight Loss
The nutritional value of capsicum is idyllic for weight loss. Capsicums are rich in fibre as well as water content. It's critical to eat high-fibre vegetables and fruits of high nutritional value to lose weight and sustain it. Fibre plus water can help curb hunger and avoid excess munching by giving you a sense of fullness.
Capsicums have a lot of vitamin B6 in them. This vitamin is required for a variety of metabolic functions. It aids in the breakdown of amino acids from the proteins present in them, creating glucose from carbs and the breakdown of lipids. Vitamin B6 can indeed assist you in keeping your blood sugar in control, thus avoiding blood sugar spikes. Maintaining blood sugar equilibrium when losing weight is critical to prevent overeating and the constant desire to eat sugary foods.
Red capsicums have a higher concentration of antioxidants and nutrients that promote weight loss than other capsicum strains. These phytochemicals aid in preventing illnesses such as free radical formation and internal inflammation, both of which are risk elements for obesity and correlated metabolic disturbances.
So, if you're indecisive about which capsicum to consume for reducing weight, go for the reddest one you can find. Green capsicums, on the contrary, have a lesser amount of sugar than those of other types and could be a nice low-sugar nibble if you're trying to cut back on sugar or if you have diabetes.
Best Ways to Incorporate Capsicum in Meals
There are various methods to include capsicum into meals due to the prevalence of numerous types of bell pepper with varied colours, flavours, and health advantages. Capsicum can be included in curries, pizzas, stir-fries, pasta, soups, salads, and even roasted as a hummus topper.
The easiest method to integrate capsicum into the regimen is to consume it raw, paired with a dip. Capsicum is a sweet and tart vegetable that can be eaten independently. You can also juice the veggie with several other fruits, lemon juice, including greens. Destemmed and hollowed capsicums are ideal for filling with rice, quinoa, potatoes, or other meats.
Capsicum Side Effects
Capsicum is likely safe when consumed in amounts typically found in food. Capsaicin, the active chemical in capsicum, is possibly safe when used short term. Side effects can include stomach irritation, sweating, and runny nose. Capsicum is possibly unsafe to take in large doses or for long periods.
Summing Up on Benefits of Capsicum
We all love capsicum in our pizzas, don't we? This flavorful and zingy vegetable is consumed enthusiastically worldwide in so many cuisines and dishes.
Not only is it tasty, but also rich in so many vital nutrients. It is low in fat and is an excellent remedy for several diseases. This vegetable is one of the best sources of beta-carotene and other carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin. It is also abundant in minerals, vitamins, and fibres. Additionally, it's an excellent vegetable to add to your weight loss regime.
Is Capsicum a Fruit?
Capsicums, also known as bell peppers, are planted and cultivated as annual vegetables. However, the edible part that is the capsicum, is botanically a fruit. These plants belong to the family of Solanaceae, along with potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplant.
Is Capsicum Good for Health?
Yes, capsicum has immense health benefits due to its rich nutritional profiles.
Can We Eat Capsicum Daily?
Yes, you can safely include a moderate amount of capsicum in your diet daily. It has wondrous health benefits if eaten daily, owing to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Is Capsicum Good for the Stomach?
Yes, Capsicums is good for the stomach. It has a good effect on several gastrointestinal problems such as upset stomach, flatulence, diarrhoea, and abdominal cramps. Additionally, they have quite a beneficial role in healing our stomach lining.
- Setareh Sanati, May 2018; A review of the effects of Capsicum annuum L. and its constituent, capsaicin, in metabolic syndrome - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC6000222/
- Man-Kyo Chung, December 2016; Use of Capsaicin to Treat Pain: Mechanistic and Therapeutic Considerations - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5198041/
- Jamie R. Friedman, October 2020; Capsaicinoids: Multiple effects on angiogenesis, invasion and metastasis in human cancers - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC6759410/
- Mustafa Chopan, January 2017; The Association of Hot Red Chili Pepper Consumption and Mortality: A Large Population-Based Cohort Study - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5222470/