Red peppers are the belle of the ball at any buffet table. Crisp and incredibly sweet, these ladies in red are an easy sell to anyone who is not fond of vegetables. The only limiting factor is that they can be costly during winter, but now that it’s July, we can look forward to eating more inexpensive local peppers.
Did you know that green peppers are just unripe red peppers? Because they are not fully mature, they have a bitter after taste, and half the vitamin C and 1/10th the vitamin A compared to their red or orange siblings. Vitamin A has been shown to improve sperm quality, and vitamin C helps build collagen, which ensures beautiful skin – all these combined makes peppers one of nature’s sexiest foods!
Paprika and chili peppers offer the same benefits, but with extra capsaicin, a chemical that can produce a strong burning sensation in the mouth. This stimulating heat has been shown to increase blood flow making it a popular remedy for libido and pain relief.
Here are five more alluring facts to increase your red pepper consumption:
1. Red peppers contain almost 300 percent of your daily vitamin C intake. Besides being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C is also needed for the proper absorption of iron. If you are iron deficient, try combining red peppers with your iron source for maximum absorption.
2. Red bell peppers are a great source of vitamin B6 and magnesium. This vitamin and mineral combination shows a decrease in anxiety, especially related to pre-menstrual symptoms. Vitamin B6 is also a natural diuretic, so try stocking up on red bell peppers to reduce bloating and prevent against hypertension.
3. Red bell peppers help support healthy night vision. Red bell peppers are high in vitamin A, which helps to support healthy eyesight, especially night vision. So when it comes to bell peppers, seeing red is a good thing!
4. Red bell peppers are packed with antioxidants. The combined effects of vitamin A and C create a great antioxidant capacity, and with lycopene in the mix, the red bell pepper becomes a top notch superfood. Lycopene is what makes tomatoes and peppers red. Red peppers are one of the highest veggies in lycopene, which has been successfully tested in the prevention of many cancers including prostate and lung.
5. Burn more calories with red bell peppers. Recent research has shown that sweet red peppers can activate thermogenesis and increase metabolic rate. Red bell peppers do not contain capsaicin, which is what makes peppers hot and causes us to sweat, but they do have a mild thermogenic action that increases our metabolism without increasing our heart rate and blood pressure like the hot peppers do.
Enjoy your red pepper on the world’s healthiest pizza! Ezekiel wraps contains six sprouted grains and legumes that are combined to create a complete protein.
2 8 inch (20 cm) Ezekiel wraps
1/4 cup (60 mL) goat cheese or dairy-free cheese, grated
1 tbsp (15 mL) basil pesto, dairy-free
1 small green zucchini, shredded
1/4 large red peppers, cut into strips
4 garlic stuffed olives, sliced
4 snap peas, sliced
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp (5 mL) dried parsley flakes
1. Place wraps on cookie sheet and low broil for 2 minutes on each side.
2. Sprinkle cheese evenly across entire wrap and broil 1 minute more.
3. Spread pesto evenly over cheese, then arrange the zucchini, peppers, olives and snap peas.
4. Top with rosemary and parsley. Makes 2 pizzas.
Nutritionist Julie Daniluk hosts the Healthy Gourmet, a reality cooking show that looks at the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition. Her soon to be published first book, Meals that Heal Inflammation, advises on allergy-free foods that both taste great and assist the body in the healing process.
For more amazing recipes visit Chatelaine.com’s recipe section.