Monday, March 16, 2009
Capsicum is a vegetable that makes our kitchen shelves and refrigerators colourful. They are made available in a wide range of colours such as green, red and yellow. Capsicum is called by different names in different places. Known as Chilli pepper, bell pepper and red or green pepper, the vegetable is widely used as a spice, medicine and of course, a vegetable. Capsicum tastes great when mixed in curries. It supplies the curries with a colourful look of savour. It is also rich in nutritional value and is also associated with numerous health benefits.
Capsicum is abundant in carotenoids such as Capsanthin, Capsorubin, Carotene and Lutein. Various useful proteins and fats are present in this vegetable. Vitamins A and C and provitamins E, P, B1, B2 and B3 dwells in capsicum. Steroidal Alkaloidal Glycosides (Solanine and Solasadine) and Scopoletin (Coumarin) are also found in this colourful vegetable.
The health benefits of Capsicum:
1.Beneficial to the mucous membranes, eyes and skin
2.Helps wards off infection
3.Promotes cardiovascular health, by helping lower blood pressure
4.Has antioxidant properties that neutralize the free radicals responsible for damaging tissue and cells
5.Has anti-inflammatory properties
6.Helps reduce cholesterol and thus, is effective in warding off strokes and heart attacks
7.Speeds up the metabolism and helps burn more calories
8.Good for treating colds and fevers
9.Stimulates stomach secretions and improves digestion
11.Has a laxative effect
12.Triggers the release of endorphins
13.Good for diabetics
Do not take capsicum without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant or breast-feeding a baby. It is not known whether capsicum will be harmful to an unborn baby or a nursing infant.
Capsicums are usually sold by colour; all capsicums are green at first, then turn red, orange, yellow or a purple black when they ripen further. Red capsicums are the sweetest due to their higher sugar content, and are rich in vitamin C and beta carotene. Orange and yellow capsicums have almost as much sugar as the red variety, while green ones have a low sugar content due to early picking, which gives them their slightly bitter taste.