Red bell peppers sweeten up dishes from pizza to pasta. Loaded with compounds called polyphenols, red peppers deliver numerous health benefits. Although there are health properties in any red pepper found on your grocer's shelf, there are added benefits to selecting those that are organically grown.
Higher Antioxidant Content
Antioxidants help defend your body's cells from damage, and organic red bell peppers are loaded with them. From carotenoids, which are pigments that give peppers their color, to beneficial natural plant acids, red peppers contain an assortment of powerful compounds. The antioxidant content of organic red peppers is greater than standard red peppers, according to an article in the September 2012 issue of "Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture." The report stated that organically grown red peppers are also higher in ascorbic acid or vitamin C, which also contributes to overall health.
Vitamin C Content
Vitamin C is essential for healthy skin, membranes, immune system and eyesight, and for heart and cancer protection. A water-soluble vitamin, it is not stored in the body and needs to be replenished daily. Snacking on organic red bell peppers will quickly allow you to meet your recommended daily intake. Just 1 cup of sliced red bell peppers contains 117 milligrams of vitamin C, which is 196 percent of the recommended daily intake. Eat them plain, with dip or sliced onto salads or sandwiches.
Vitamin A Content
Vitamin A is an antioxidant vitamin that works along with vitamin C to protect your eyes, skin, membranes and immune system. Like vitamin C it also helps defend your body against cancer. The USDA reports that 1 cup of sliced red peppers contains 58 percent of the RDI. Also, eating foods rich in carotenoids, such as red peppers, helps build your levels of vitamin A, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. The article in the "Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture" reported that organic red peppers have a higher carotenoid content compared to red peppers grown conventionally.
Reduced Pesticide Intake
The Environmental Working Group has put together a list of fruits and vegetables that are loaded with pesticide residues, known as the "Dirty Dozen." Red bell peppers rank near the top of the list. To avoid unwanted pesticide ingestion, select organic peppers. Those grown organically are without industrial chemicals and pesticides, which means cleaner eating for you. Pesticides have been found to lead to numerous detrimental health issues, including learning disabilities, birth defects and cancer, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.
- Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture: Characterisation of Antioxidant Compounds in Sweet Bell Pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) Under Organic and Conventional Growing Systems
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin C
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Peppers, Sweet, Red, Raw
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin A (Retinol)
- Environmental Working Group: EWG's 2012 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce
- Natural Resource Defense Council: Pesticides: What You Need To Know
A certified nutritionist who majored in health, fitness and nutrition, Traci Vandermark has been writing articles in her specialty fields since 1998. Her articles have appeared both online and in print for publications such as Simple Abundance, "Catskill Country Magazine," "Birds and Blooms," "Cappers" and "Country Discoveries."