Not much is known about the history of cultivar capsicum annum, but with prehistoric remains found in Peru suggest that it has been around for quite a long time. They are cultivated in the regions of Central and South America. It was discovered by Christopher Columbus and Spanish explorers in their search for peppercorn plant used in producing black pepper. Sample of capsicum annum was brought back to Europe in 1493 and were immediately cultivated and given the name pepper. It was eventually introduced to Asia and Africa.
Bell pepper is a member of the nightshade plant family. It is actually a fruit that contains seeds that is produced from a flowering plant. The fruit is sweet, a bit tangy and colorful and come in green, red, yellow, orange, black, purple, and brown. A member of the capsicum genus, Bell pepper is the only capsicum that does not produce a lipophilic chemical called capsaicin, which causes strong burning sensation when it touches a mucous membrane. Bell peppers are available all year round.
Bell pepper is a superfood that is abundant in powerful nutrients. It is bursting with vitamins A, K, C, and B6, as well as phytochemicals, dietary fiber and antioxidants that are highly effective in protecting your body against the harmful effects of free radicals and minimize your risk of heart disease, cataracts and eases up symptoms of asthma. It is also a good source of carotenoids, colorful pigments found in plants that are powerful antioxidant that can prevent some forms of cancer from developing. Bell pepper has over 30 kinds of carotenoids that includes alpha carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Beta-carotene, its main carotenoid, delivers a good anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory activity.
It helps you lose weight as it contains substances that increases your body’s heat production. Simply put, it makes your body burn unwanted calories. The vitamin C in bell pepper helps prevent arthritis or at least slows down its development. Bell peppers can also be used for minor illnesses that includes stomach upset, diarrhea, cramps, toothache, sea sickness and fever. It can be applied to skin to relieve rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and back pain.
Capsicum taken in food quantity is safe for most individuals. Although care should be taken when capsicum extract is used as medication. It can cause skin irritation and burning sensation. Avoid using on sensitive areas like around the eyes, nose and throat where it can be extremely irritating. As for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, applying to skin is found safe, but not when taken by mouth especially in large and prolong use. Special warning: Do not use capsicum two days from scheduled surgery as it may increase bleeding.
Bell pepper fun fact: Bell peppers are sometimes sold in a package of 3- red, green and yellow… called “Traffic Light Peppers”.
Eat clean. Stay fit.
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