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Whether the food you’re eating belongs to India, China, Italy, Brazil or Mexico, one vegetable will definitely make an appearance on the plate - capsicum. All capsicums can be eaten raw, but they also taste good when cooked. While capsicum is a vegetable, it is technically the fruit of a plant. Also known as bell pepper, capsicum comes in four different colours. 

The green variety, which is very popular in Indian cuisine, is actually raw capsicum. Once this capsicum ripens, it can turn yellow, orange or red in colour. The level of pungency also varies according to the colour, with the green capsicum being the most pungent one and the red capsicum as the mildest (and also the sweetest). 

Did you know?

Since capsicum comes from the same plant species as chillies or chilli peppers, they too have capsaicin. However, capsaicin in capsicum is located in the placental tissues (the part which holds the seeds) and isn’t found in other parts of the vegetable. This is the reason why capsicum is not as spicy as its close cousin, the chilli pepper. 

Capsicum originated in Central and South America, where varieties of capsicum have been in use for centuries in traditional cuisines and medicine. The Spanish and Portuguese conquerors like Christopher Columbus took it to Europe, from where its use spread to the rest of the world. Like most vegetables, capsicum is a rich source of fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, and has a number of health benefits.

Some basic facts about capsicum:

  • Botanical name: Capsicum annuum
  • Family: Solanaceae
  • Common name: Capsicum, Bell peppers
  • Parts used: Skin and flesh
  • Native region and geographical distribution: Although capsicum originated in South America, it is now grown all over the world. Vietnam is the world’s largest capsicum producer, followed by Indonesia, Brazil, India, Bulgaria and Sri Lanka.
  • Interesting facts: You can tell if a capsicum is male or female by looking at the number of bumps at its bottom. The ones with three bumps are male and have very little or no seeds inside. The ones with four bumps are female, have many seeds, and are therefore heavier. Female capsicums are also sweeter, and so they taste better when consumed raw.
  1. Capsicum nutrition facts
  2. Capsicum health benefits
  3. Capsicum side effects
  4. Takeaway

Capsicum is very low in calories and, like all vegetables, it’s a rich source of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Capsicum is mainly composed of water, which makes up 92% of this vegetable. The carbohydrate, protein and fat levels of capsicum are very low.

Based on the USDA Nutrient Database, 100g of capsicum has the following nutritional values:

Nutrient Value per 100g
Water 92.21 g
Energy  26 kcal
Protein 0.99 g
Total lipid (fat) 0.3 g
Ash 0.47 g
Carbohydrate, by difference 6.03 g
Fiber, total dietary 2.1 g
Sugars, including NLEA 4.2 g
Minerals  
Calcium 7 mg
Iron 0.43 mg
Magnesium  12 mg
Phosphorus 26 mg
Potassium 211 mg
Sodium 4 mg
Vitamins  
Vitamin A 157 µg
Vitamin C 127.7 mg
Vitamin E 1.58 mg
Vitamin K 4.9 µg

Capsicum is chock full of vital nutrients that can help the human body fight many diseases. Since it’s very low in calories and full of vitamins and minerals, capsicum can keep a number of health issues at bay.

  1. Capsicum for eye health
  2. Capsicum prevents anemia
  3. Capsicum improves immunity
  4. Capsicum for skin care
  5. Capsicum improves hair growth
  6. Capsicum for pain relief
  7. Capsicum improves heart health
  8. Capsicum can fight cancer
  9. Capsicum aids digestion
  10. Capsicum prevents obesity
  11. Capsicum fights lung diseases

Capsicum for eye health

Capsicum has high vitamin C content and is especially rich in certain types of carotenoids. Two types, lutein and zeaxanthin, can protect the retina from oxidative damage. Capsicum is therefore very good for eye health and can keep cataracts and macular degeneration away.

Capsicum prevents anemia

Anemia is a condition which occurs majorly due to an iron deficiency. Consuming adequate amounts of capsicum can keep anemia at bay because it is a good source of iron. What’s more, this vegetable is full of vitamin C, which can help your body absorb and process iron from other foods better.

Capsicum improves immunity

Consuming enough vitamin C can help your body produce more white blood cells and boost your immunity. Capsicum is exceptionally rich in vitamin C, and also has high amounts of vitamin K - which improves blood clotting and tissue recovery. Capsicum is also rich in antioxidants and beta-carotenes, which help flush out toxins from the body and keep viral infections, bacterial infections and fungal infections at bay.

Capsicum for skin care

Rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, capsicum can help nourish your skin from within and keep signs of ageing at bay. Since it’s also rich in calcium and iron, capsicum can also help clear blemishes and rashes. This vegetable can also keep harmful toxins and pollutants at bay, reducing their effect on your skin.

Capsicum improves hair growth

Both vitamin C and iron are important for the growth and strength of hair follicles. Since capsicum is rich in both, it helps hair growth and also improves the condition of the scalp. Have enough capsicum and you will notice a change in your hair.

Capsicum for pain relief

Because it is full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, capsicum can help fight the signs of inflammation and swelling. This vegetable has been used in Ayurvedic medicine to help treat chronic and painful diseases like arthritis and Crohn’s disease. Although when applied topically, it can lead to a slight burning sensation because of the presence of mild amounts of capsaicin.

Capsicum improves heart health

Apart from being rich in dietary fiber, capsicum also has good amounts of vitamin B6, folate, lycopene and potassium - all of which improve blood circulation and improve heart health. Vitamin B6 and folate also help lower the levels of homocysteine, a type of amino acid which is linked to cardiovascular diseases and thereby reduce the risks of getting heart diseases.

Capsicum can fight cancer

Capsicum is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals which are known to fight the growth of cancers. Capsicum is exceptionally rich in pectolase, an enzyme which is naturally found in many fruits and vegetables. Pectolase can also help fight the signs of cancer.

Capsicum aids digestion

Like all fruits and vegetables, capsicum is very rich in dietary fiber. Consuming enough fiber is very important for digestive health and proper bowel movements. Eat enough capsicum and you can avoid digestive issues like constipation, diarrhea, indigestion and nausea.

Capsicum prevents obesity

Capsicum is rich in fiber, folate, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, all of which can aid weight loss. This vegetable is also very low in calories and its major component is water. Eating capsicum can make you feel full for longer, counter cravings and improve your metabolism. Combine all of these and you might be able to prevent obesity by eating enough capsicum.

Capsicum fights lung diseases

Capsicum is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K, and has high flavonoid content. All of these nutrients can help keep the respiratory tract clear and infection-free. Consuming capsicum can, therefore, help keep lung diseases like emphysema, asthma and lung infections at bay.

Since capsicum is a plant-based source of nutrition, it is usually safe for consumption and there are no clear side effects related to it. However, in some cases, people do have an allergic reaction to capsicum. In these cases, diarrhoea, constipation, heartburn, indigestion, etc. Applying capsicum juice topically can also cause irritation and hives.

Capsicum is a versatile and vibrant vegetable that is used to cook traditional food all over the world. This vegetable is a close cousin of chillies or chilli peppers and usually comes in green, yellow, orange and red colours. Capsicum is rich in dietary fiber, vitamins (especially vitamin C), minerals and phytochemicals. Because of its high antioxidant content, capsicum has immense health benefits. From improving your eyesight, skin and hair quality to keeping obesity, heart diseases, lung diseases and cancer at bay, capsicum can help you stay fit and healthy. It is therefore recommended that you include different varieties of capsicum in your diet, along with other vegetables and fruits.

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