Watching your sugar intake? Eating capsicum is a good idea

Capsicum. You love it in your sandwiches and your chowmein, but the idea of including it in a sabzi would not go down well with most people. Though kids (and some adults) may not like this kitchen staple, capsicum is rich in essential nutrients, says N Lakshmi, senior dietician at Kamineni Hospitals, Hyderabad.

Also known as bell pepper or sweet pepper, capsicum can be a healthy choice during the monsoon season. “It provides essential vitamins and antioxidants that can help boost your immunity, which is crucial during periods of increased susceptibility to infection,” she adds.

However, one must ensure that it is properly washed and cooked to prevent any contamination, as moisture during monsoons can promote bacterial growth on vegetables.

Capsicum: Nutritional profile

Here’s a general overview of its nutritional profile per 100 grams of raw, green bell pepper, according to Lakshmi.

– Calories: Approximately 20 calories
– Carbohydrates: About 4.6 grams
– Dietary Fibre: Around 1.7 grams
– Protein: Roughly 0.9 grams
– Fat: Almost negligible, less than 0.2 grams
Vitamins: High in vitamin C (ascorbic acid), with about 80-90 milligrams, and a good source of vitamin A and vitamin K.
– Minerals: Contains potassium, magnesium, and small amounts of other minerals.
– Phytonutrients: Rich in various phytonutrients, including carotenoids and flavonoids.

capsicum Also known as bell pepper or sweet pepper, capsicum can be a healthy choice during the monsoon season. (Source: Unsplash)

Health benefits of capsicum

Capsicum offers several health benefits, Lakshmi says:

Rich in Antioxidants: The high vitamin C content in capsicums acts as an antioxidant, helping to combat oxidative stress in the body, which can reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Supports Immune Health: Vitamin C also supports the immune system, helping the body fight off infections.

Weight Management: Capsicum is low in calories and contains dietary fibre, which can aid in weight management by promoting a feeling of fullness.

Eye Health: The presence of vitamin A and other carotenoids in capsicums is beneficial for eye health and may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration.

Anti-Inflammatory: Some compounds in capsicums have anti-inflammatory properties which can be beneficial in managing inflammatory conditions.

Can diabetics consume capsicum?

Yes, diabetics can consume capsicum, Lakshmi says, explaining that “it is relatively low in carbohydrates and has a low glycemic index, which means it has a minimal impact on blood sugar levels.” It can be a healthy addition to a diabetic’s diet as part of a balanced meal plan.

Is it beneficial for pregnant women?

Capsicum can be beneficial for pregnant women due to its high vitamin C content, which supports the immune system and helps in the absorption of iron from plant-based foods, according to Lakshmi.

However, she warns that some pregnant women may experience heartburn, and capsicum’s spicy varieties can exacerbate this. Therefore, it is essential to monitor how your body responds to it and consult with a healthcare provider if you have any concerns.

pregnancy Capsicum can be beneficial for pregnant women due to its high vitamin C content. (Source: Getty Images/ Thinkstock)

Things to keep in mind while eating capsicum

The senior dietician advises that some things have to be kept in mind before eating capsicum.

Allergies: While capsicum allergies are relatively rare, some individuals may be allergic. If you experience symptoms like itching, hives, or swelling after consuming capsicums, seek medical advice.

Sugar Content: Capsicums have minimal natural sugars, making them suitable for those watching their sugar intake.

Overconsumption: Overeating capsicums can lead to digestive discomfort, such as gas and indigestion, due to its fibre content. Moderation is key.

Myths about capsicum

Lakshmi also debunks some myths about capsicum.

Myth 1: Capsicum is always spicy.
Fact: Not all of capsicum’s varieties are spicy. Bell peppers, for example, are mild and sweet.

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Myth 2: It can cure diseases.
Fact: While it offers health benefits, capsicum is not a miracle cure. It is part of a balanced diet for overall health.

Myth 3: Capsicum is bad for digestion.
Fact: Capsicums, when consumed in moderation, can actually aid digestion due to its fibre content.

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