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The image features a graphic of four bell peppers—red, yellow, green, and orange. Text on the right reads, "Different colors, different benefits." An icon at the bottom right displays "10 almonds" on a light blue background. Pick your favorite bell pepper for a vibrant twist in your meals!

Which Bell Peppers To Pick?

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Bell Peppers: A Spectrum Of Specialties

We were going to do this as part of our ongoing “This Or That?” challenge, but as there are four main types all with many different benefits, we thought bunch of fruits deserved a main feature.

And yes, they’re botanically fruits, even if culinarily used as vegetables—much like tomatoes, famously!

They’re all the same (but also very much not)

A thing to know is that whether bell peppers be green, yellow, orange, or red, they’re all the same plant, Capiscum anuum. All that differs is how early or late they’re harvested.

Notwithstanding the “Capiscum” genus, they don’t contain capsaicin (as is found in hot peppers). Capsaicin’s a wonderful phytochemical:

Capsaicin For Weight Loss And Against Inflammation

…but today we’re all about the bell peppers.

So, let’s see how they stack up!

💚 Green for lutein

Lutein is especially important for the eyes and [the rest of the] brain, to the point that there’s now an Alzheimer’s test that measures lutein concentration in the eye:

Reduce Your Alzheimer’s Risk

Green peppers have most of this important carotenoid, though the others all have some too. See also:

Brain Food? The Eyes Have It!

💛 Yellow for vitamin C

Yellow peppers are technically highest in vitamin C, but all of them contain far more than the daily dose per fruit already, so if there’s any color of pepper that’s nutritionally the most expendable, it’s yellow, since any other color pepper can take its place.

Watch out, though! Cooking destroys vitamin C, so if you want to get your Cs in, you’re going to want to do it raw.

🧡 Orange for zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthins

Similar in their benefits to lutein, these antioxidant carotenoids are found most generously in orange peppers (20x as much as in yellow, 10x as much as in red, and slightly more than in green).

❤️ Red for vitamins A & B6

Red peppers are richest by far in vitamin A, with one fruit giving the daily dose already. The others have about 10% of that, give or take.

Red peppers also have the most vitamin B6, though the others also have nearly as much.

❤️ Red for lycopene

We must do a main feature for lycopene sometime, as unlike a lot of antioxidant carotenoids, lycopene is found in comparatively very few foods (most famously it’s present in tomatoes).

Red is the only color of pepper to have lycopene.

10almonds tip: to get the most out of your lycopene, cook these ones!

Lycopene becomes 4x more bioavailable when cooked:

Lycopene in tomatoes: chemical and physical properties affected by food processing ← this paper is about tomatoes but lycopene is lycopene and this applies to the lycopene in red peppers, too

And the overall winner is…

You! Because you get to eat all four of them 😉


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