Capsicums are beautifully colored fruits available in green, red, and yellow colours. They are mild-flavoured and used as vegetables. They are known to be sweet pepppers and are named differently according to where it comes from. It is a vegetable that is adored all over the world not only for its delicious taste but also for its benefits to human body.
In Britain, they are called Chilli peppers; In US and Canada, they are called Bell peppers; In Australia and Asia, they are known as Capsicum; and in some countries they are even called Paprika. In biological terms they are known as Cayenne and Jalapeno. Among the colours, Green is mostly used and is simply the unripe version of the red. Purple coloured are also available but they are more pungent and bitter.
Coming to its nutritional benefits, a small bell pepper could provide up to three times more of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C, much more than any citrus food. Consumption of the variety of the colored peppers are recommended in order to benefit from all the nutrients.
Yellow - lutein, zeaxanthin
Red - astaxanthin, lycopene
Orange - alpha, beta and gamma-carotene
Purple - anthocyanin
Red, green, orange, and yellow capsicum, are cultivated worldwide. The mildly flavored capsicum is used extensively as a spice, medicine and as vegetable. Rich with vitamins A, C, capsaicin, beta carotene, capsicum has been used traditionally for treating diverse ailments right from impotency to liver disease.
Listed below are some of the health benefits of Capsicum:
Capsicum increases the metabolism by lowering triglycerides, which are stored fats in blood corpuscles.This helps in burning calories.
Capsicum is an important source of vitamin A and vitamin C. These two vitamins are powerful antioxidants that help in fighting free radicals in the body and help in treating heart diseases, osteoarthritis, bronchial asthma, cataract etc. The free radicals are responsible for causing cellular damage, damage to nerves and blood vessels.
Capsaicin found in capsicum blocks the transmission of pain from the skin to the spinal cord and is considered helpful in treating neuralgia, pain associated with herpes zoster and postoperative amputation trauma.
The compound capsaicin is also believed to treat cancer by preventing carcinogens from binding with DNA. As a regular dietary intake, it has been found through various studies that eating capsicum can provide some protection from cancer.
Capsicum has the capacity to prevent clotting of blood. Vitamin C is found to play a major role in dissolving blood clots.
Capsaicin content in capsicum fights off food-borne bacterial diseases like Vibrio vulnificus bacteria found in raw shellfish.
We can make a commitment to promote vegetables and fruits and whole grains on every part of every menu. We can make portion sizes smaller and emphasize quality over quantity. And we can help create a culture - imagine this - where our kids ask for healthy options instead of resisting them.
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