Red peppers are one of the few foods that contain lycopene, a carotenoid whose consumption has been inversely correlated with prostate cancer and cancers of the cervix, bladder and pancreas. Recent studies suggest that individuals whose diets are low in lycopene-rich foods are at greater risk for developing these types of cancers.
Bell peppers are botanically fruits, but are generally considered in culinary contexts to be vegetables. They are not ‘hot’. They contain a recessive gene that eliminates capsaicin, the compound responsible for the ‘hotness’ found in other peppers. Due to the fact that bell peppers are very adaptable plants, being able to be grown in tropical and temperature climates, as well as very versatile foods, their cultivation and adoption into varying cuisines spread rapidly throughout many parts of the world. They have become a staple in central Europe where they are dried for paprika, a necessity for the flavour of Louisiana Creole dishes, and an integral ingredient in both Mexican and Portuguese cuisines. Currently, the main producers of these peppers are China, Turkey, Spain, Romania, Nigeria and Mexico.
Red Peppers are low in saturated fat, and very low in cholesterol and sodium. It is also a good source of thiamine, Niacin, Folate, Magnesium and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fibre, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Potassium and Manganese.