Arun Gupta, the founder of Sabji on Wheels, recently shared with us the incredible health benefits and a quick pasta recipe of bell peppers.
“I simply love bell peppers, particularly the brightly colored ones. Although, they belong to the chili pepper family, bell peppers are mild and can jazz up a salad in an instant, lend a perky crunch to your pizza, and taste fantastic when roasted.
But the appeal of bell peppers goes way beyond their stunning good looks. Here’s a short list of the good things they can do for your health:
- Bell peppers are low in calories! So, even if you eat one full cup of them, you get just about 45 calories. Bonus: that one cup will give you more than your daily quota of Vitamin A and C!
- They contain plenty of vitamin C, which powers up your immune system and keeps skin youthful. The highest amount of Vitamin C in a bell pepper is concentrated in the red variety.
- Red bell peppers contain several phytochemicals and carotenoids, particularly beta-carotene, which lavish you with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
- The capsaicin in bell peppers has multiple health benefits. Studies show that it reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol, controls diabetes, brings relief from pain and eases inflammation.
- If cooked for a short period on low heat, bell peppers retain most of their sweet, almost fruity flavor and flavonoid content, which is a powerful nutrient.
- The sulfur content in bell peppers makes them play a protective role in certain types of cancers.
- The bell pepper is a good source of Vitamin E, which is known to play a key role in keeping skin and hair looking youthful.
- Bell peppers also contain vitamin B6, which is essential for the health of the nervous system and helps renew cells.
- Certain enzymes in bell peppers, such as lutein, protect the eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration later in life.
So, pop some bell peppers into your shopping basket, and start reaping their rich health benefits!
Red Bell Pepper and Broccoli Pasta Sauce – Recipe
Bell pepper’s another terrific use is cancer-fighting cruciferous vegetable, with flavor so satisfying that it can be served on its own, although I’ve found it works marvelously as a sauce for rice as well as pasta. The recipe is simplicity itself.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.
- 4 fleshy red bell peppers, seeded and cut into strips.
- 1 medium-sized onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings.
- 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped.
- 1 bunch fresh broccoli (about 1 pound), broken into florets and stems cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
- Salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste.
- Grated cheese (optional).
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Cook the red peppers, onion, and garlic until soft, adding small amounts of water to keep the skillet from drying out and stirring from time to time, about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of water to a boil, salt lightly, and cook broccoli stems for a few minutes, then add florets. Cook broccoli until tender but still bright green, no more than about 10 minutes. Drain, break up slightly with a fork, and toss with the red bell pepper mixture. Season with salt and pepper, top with grated cheese, if desired, and serve immediately.”