Red Bell Pepper: Important Facts, Health Benefits, and Recipes

Learn about the health benefits, nutritional information, and culinary uses of red bell peppers, as well as how to store and select different types for your recipes.

What Is a Red Bell Pepper?

A bell pepper is the name for a plant species (Capsicum annuum) cultivated for the bell-shaped fruits that come in red, yellow, green, and orange. Green peppers are unripe bell peppers, while the other colors are all ripe. Because they are unripe, green peppers are less sweet and slightly bitter. Like tomatoes, bell peppers are botanical fruits but culinary vegetables.

Are Red Bell Peppers Good For You?

Red bell peppers are extremely healthy! Red bell peppers are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

6 Health Benefits Of Red Bell Peppers

  1. Red bell peppers are a great source of vitamins and minerals
    1. Vitamin C:
      1. Vitamin C helps produce collagen in the body which is necessary for wound healing and forming connective tissue
      2. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that combats free radicals that can cause long-term illnesses
    2. Vitamin K1: important for blood clotting and bone health
    3. Potassium: helps keep healthy blood pressure levels
    4. Vitamin B6: important for producing red blood cells
    5. Vitamin A: is good for our eye health and is an antioxidant
    6. Vitamin E : supports the immune system and keeps blood vessels healthy
  2. Red bell peppers are a good source of antioxidants
    1. Capsanthin: high in red bell peppers, capsanthin is the antioxidant responsible for their brilliant red color and is recognized for its antioxidant qualities that promote eye health
    2. Quercetin: may be beneficial for preventing certain chronic conditions, such as heart disease and cancer
  3. The vitamin C in red bell peppers helps our bodies absorb iron better.
    1. There is some iron in bell peppers, and if you eat them alongside iron-rich foods like red meat or leafy greens like kale and spinach or lentils/legumes, it could increase absorption of iron
  4. Red bell peppers may improve our eye and skin health
    1. The vitamin A and beta-carotene in red bell peppers offers support for overall vision and eye health
  5. Red Bell peppers are a source of fiber. One bell pepper has about 2 grams fiber
    1. A diet high in fiber is good for our digestion and our cholesterol
  6. Red bell peppers may help reduce inflammation
    1. According to the Arthritis Foundation , bell peppers may help to reduce the risk of developing some types of arthritis and other inflammatory health conditions because of beta-cryptoxanthin and high vitamin C content
    2. Bell peppers may help to protect bone and cartilage cells because of their high vitamin C levels

History, Background And General Facts for Red Bell Peppers

  • Peppers are native to Mexico, Central, and South America, and were probably domesticated in central Mexico about 7,500 years ago
  • Prehistoric remains in Peru show that peppers existed then, and they were cultivated in Central and South America in very early times
  • Black pepper and sweet and hot peppers aren’t related even though they share similar names. Black peppercorns are seeds of the plant, Piper nigrum
  • Bell peppers belong to the nightshade family: potato , tomato, eggplant , tobacco , and chile peppers. Members of this family have five-petaled flowers
  • Bell peppers are also known as "sweet peppers."
  • The fruit of most species of Capsicum contains capsaicin a chemical that can be spicy to some people, but bell peppers contain a recessive gene that eliminates capsaicin and the spicy effect
  • Most mammals find this spiciness unpleasant; but birds appear unaffected
  • Because of their vibrant colors, bell peppers have been called "the Christmas ornaments of the vegetable world"

What Are The Cuisines That Regularly Include Red Bell Peppers?

  • Mediterranean/Greek - stuffed peppers (ground beef, chickpeas, parsley)
  • Mexican - fajitas, stuffed peppers
  • French - piperade (peppers, onions, and tomatoes)
  • Puerto Rican - sofrito (peppers, onion, garlic, olives, and herbs)
  • Spanish - roasted red pepper tapas
  • Ukranian/Russian - marinated red bell peppers
  • Nigerian - Obe Ata (Red Pepper and tomato Sauce)
  • Chinese - stir fry

What Is The Best Way To Store Red Bell Peppers?

To properly store red bell peppers and maintain their freshness, follow these guidelines:

  1. Whole Red Bell Peppers:

    • Refrigeration: Red bell peppers should be stored in the refrigerator to help prolong their freshness.
    • Unwashed and Dry: Keep the peppers unwashed and dry until you are ready to use them. Moisture can promote mold growth and reduce shelf life.
    • Plastic Bag or Container: Place the whole peppers in a perforated plastic bag or airtight container. The perforations allow for proper airflow and prevent excessive moisture buildup.
    • Crisper Drawer: Store the bag or container with the peppers in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. The cool temperature and controlled humidity of this compartment help preserve the peppers.
    • Avoid stacking or crushing: Handle the peppers gently to avoid bruising or damaging them, as this can accelerate spoilage.
  2. Cut or Sliced Red Bell Peppers:

    • Refrigeration: If you've cut or sliced the red bell peppers, it's best to store them in the refrigerator.
    • Airtight Container: Transfer the cut or sliced peppers to an airtight container or resealable bag.
    • Moisture Control: Place a paper towel in the container or bag with the peppers to help absorb excess moisture and keep them fresh.
    • Use within a few days: Cut or sliced red bell peppers are best used within a few days for optimal freshness and flavor.

What Are The Different Types Of Red Bell Peppers?

  • Olympus red bell pepper
  • Vidi red bell pepper
  • California wonder red bell pepper
  • Ace red bell pepper
  • Staddon’s select red bell pepper
  • Pequillo red bell pepper
  • Lipstick red bell pepper
  • Pimiento red bell pepper
  • Pizza red bell pepper
  • Sheepnose red bell pepper
  • Paprika red bell pepper
  • Round of Hungary red bell pepper
  • Carmen red bell pepper

Toxicity and Side Effects Of Red Bell Peppers

Red bell peppers are generally considered safe to eat unless you have a sensitivity to vegetables from the nightshade family.

Nutritional Facts
1 medium
Amount per serving
7.2 g
0.4 g
1.2 g
Saturated Fat
0.1 g
4.8 mg
2.5 g
5 g