Red Bell Pepper Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

red bell pepper nutrition facts and health benefits

Photo: Alexandra Shytsman

Bell peppers, otherwise known as sweet peppers, are available in a variety of colors, including green, red, yellow, purple, orange, white, and even brown. They are heart-shaped and boxy with a short green stem and crisp flesh.

Red bell peppers tend to be the sweetest of the bunch. While green varieties are typically available all year, red bell peppers are usually available during the summer and fall.

Nutrition Facts

Red Bell Pepper Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 Serving, 1 cup raw, chopped (149 g)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 39 
Calories from Fat 4 
Total Fat 0.5g0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1g 
Sodium 6mg0%
Potassium 314mg12%
Carbohydrates 9g3%
Dietary Fiber 3.1g12%
Sugars 6g 
Protein 1.5g 
Vitamin A 33% · Vitamin C 253%
Calcium 1% · Iron 4%

*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Carbs in Red Bell Peppers

Red bell peppers provide a large volume of food for little calories and carbohydrates and virtually no fat. One cup of raw peppers contains 39 calories, 9 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, contributing to 12 percent of your daily fiber needs.

By subtracting fiber from total carbs, you get net carbs of 6 grams per cup of chopped red bell pepper. The carb value is a little lower for green bell peppers at 5 grams net carbs. The non-fiber carbohydrates in red bell peppers are mostly glucose and fructose, both of which are sugars.

The glycemic index of bell peppers has not been studied since they are presumed to have no effect on blood sugar due to their low carbohydrate content. The estimated glycemic load, which accounts for the serving size, is very low, about 2 for a medium-sized pepper.

Fats in Red Bell Peppers

Bell peppers are very low in fat, and the fat that is present is mostly polyunsaturated fat.

One cup of chopped red bell pepper has 37 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids and 67 milligrams of omega-6 fatty acids.

Protein in Red Bell Peppers

As is typical for vegetables, bell peppers have only a small amount of protein. For a balanced diet, be sure to include a protein source such as legumes, nuts, dairy, meat, or fish in your diet.

Micronutrients in Red Bell Peppers

Red bell peppers are packed with nutrients, including vitamin C (one serving provides at least twice the daily requirement), vitamin A, and vitamin B6.  Vitamin C, perhaps one of the best-known antioxidants, offers a variety of health benefits including boosting your immunity, facilitating cell repair, helping produce collagen (the connective tissue that holds bones and muscles together) and helping in the absorption of iron and folate.

Bell peppers are also a very good source of vitamin E, vitamin K, folate, potassium, and manganese. A large red bell pepper provides 1.3 milligrams of manganese, contributing 55 to 75 percent of your daily needs. This is important because manganese may help prevent osteoporosis.

Health Benefits

Red bell peppers are also a rich source of antioxidants which may help protect your cells from damage.

These include carotenoids such as lycopene, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids have been shown to play an important role in eye health. In addition, these compounds may help protect you from certain cancers.

Common Questions

How many calories are in mini sweet peppers?

The calories will depend on your serving size, but generally speaking, three mini peppers contain about 25 calories, 0 grams fat, 5 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 1 gram sugar,  and 1 gram protein. They can serve as a great snack or an addition to meals. Eat them as-is or slice them and add them to your eggs, salads, or sandwiches.

Can you eat the seeds of peppers?

You can eat the seeds, but most people cut away the seeds and the core before consuming because the texture and taste aren't always appealing. Note that chili peppers get their heat from capsaicin, which is found in the ribs of the pepper. If you want to reduce the heat of a pepper carefully remove the ribs and the seeds.

Recipes and Preparation Tips

Red bell peppers can be stuffed with beans and whole grains, baked, grilled, sauteed, pureed for soups and dips or used in chilis, stews, sauces, and condiments. They can also be eaten raw and put on sandwiches, wraps, in salads, or used as a crunch vehicle for dips.

Choose fresh peppers that are brightly colored and plump with smooth, unblemished skin. The more intense the color, the better. The vividness of color is an indicator of ripeness, flavor, and high concentration of nutrients. Avoid peppers that have soft spots, nicks, wrinkles, or pits. You'll also want to look for a bright green stem, which indicates freshness.

Store peppers whole in the refrigerator. They should last for about a week this way. Once washed and cut they will begin to deteriorate more rapidly and should be used within a few days. You can freeze them whole or cut them up and put them in an airtight container. Peppers can also be purchased frozen, roasted in cans, or dried and ground as in paprika. Note that roasted red peppers can have a large amount of sodium and fat (if in oil).

Allergies and Interactions

Bell pepper food allergies are rare. However, if you are allergic to latex you may have the latex-fruit syndrome and cross-react to proteins in bell peppers that are similar to those in latex. You might feel a tingling or itch in your mouth after eating bell peppers. In rare cases, this can be more serious and trigger throat swelling or anaphylaxis. People with this syndrome may also be sensitive to avocado, banana, chestnut, fig, and kiwi.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources