WHAT'S GROWIN' ON
IN LAKE & MENDOCINO COUNTIES
Happy Seeds of Wisdom Wednesday! Peppers are poppin’ lately! These beauties can add a much needed burst of color to any meal, producing varieties of red, orange, yellow, green, purple and white fruits.
Bell peppers originated in the Caribbean, North, Central and South America and have since been cultivated throughout many countries. The top producers of bell peppers across the globe are China, Mexico, Turkey, Indonesia and Spain.
Peppers offer significant amounts of fiber, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and vitamin A, B1, B6, C, E and K. Bell peppers are the best source of vitamin C in the vegetable category and come in second for vitamin C content overall. Vitamin C of course helps support a strong immune system, as well as helps fight oxidative stress, cancer and more. Bell peppers are great sources of beta-carotene as well. In fact “one cup of freshly sliced bell pepper contains about 1,500 micrograms of beta-carotene, the equivalent of approximately 1/3rd small carrot” (The World’s Healthiest Foods). These vitamins, along with all the antioxidant phytochemicals, are vital for skin and respiratory health as well.
The phytochemicals in peppers have anti-inflammatory properties. It is suggested that these phytochemicals can help reduce pain associated with Crohn’s disease, arthritis, and more. Creams made with these phytochemicals have been used topically on the skin to help alleviate pain and have been especially helpful for treating fibromyalgia. Additionally, the active ingredient in peppers, capsaicin, is being studied as a potential tool for combatting cancer cells.
Bell peppers also contain some powerful carotenoids. Lutein and zeaxanthin are especially prevalent and are key for protecting the retina and supporting eye health in general.
Peppers contain flavonoids that serve as vasodilators, which widen blood vessels and promote better flow of blood and thus better oxygenation of organs. This supports overall cardiovascular health, promotes a healthy heart rate and improves hypotension. This better blood flow then allows the antioxidant phytochemicals from the peppers to flow through the body and reach damaged tissues they will then help repair.
Red bell peppers can help prevent anemia due to their iron content, as well as the high amounts of vitamin C which is needed to help the gut absorb iron.
Studies are being done to look further into the hypoglycemic benefits of green peppers. It is suggested that the green peppers promote the production of insulin and thus helps regulate blood glucose levels – a benefit to all, especially those with diabetes.
They are usually great additions for pregnant women, as the significant folate content is key for developing a healthy fetus.
Overall, peppers offer some incredible health and medicinal benefits. When harvesting your peppers though, it’s important to keep in mind that the red ones have the highest amount of vitamins, antioxidants and phytochemicals, compared to the orange, yellow, and green peppers which are at an earlier stage of the growth cycle.
Hopefully you have some peppers growing in your garden! Despite being underrated, they’re quite the powerhouse of vitamins and nutrients key for optimal health. We always have free seeds at the office if your garden is lacking peppers. Come in for a visit and grab some seeds! We’d love to see you!
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