Bell Peppers 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Bell Peppers 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Bell peppers, related to chili peppers, tomatoes, and breadfruit, hail from Central and South America.

Commonly known as sweet peppers or capsicums, bell peppers are versatile, enjoyed raw or cooked.

Much like their spicy relatives, chili peppers, bell peppers can be dried and ground into paprika.

Available in an array of hues like red, yellow, orange, and green—though the latter signifies unripeness.

Green bell peppers, not fully ripe, carry a hint of bitterness and less sweetness compared to their mature counterparts.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to peppers, their nutritional value, and the benefits they bring to your health.

Nutritional Facts

Fresh bell peppers, in their raw state, are primarily water (92%), with a mix of carbs, proteins, and fats in smaller quantities.

In a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of raw red bell peppers, you’ll find:

  • Calories: 31
  • Water: 92%
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Carbs: 6 grams
  • Sugar: 4.2 grams
  • Fiber: 2.1 grams
  • Fat: 0.3 grams


Carbohydrates dominate bell peppers’ composition, contributing most of their caloric content—6 grams per 3.5 ounces (100 grams).

These carbs are primarily sugars like glucose and fructose, imparting the characteristic sweetness to ripe bell peppers.

Additionally, bell peppers provide a modest amount of fiber—2% by fresh weight. Calorie for calorie, they’re a notable source of dietary fiber.

Vitamins and Minerals

Bell peppers pack a punch when it comes to vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin C: A medium-sized red bell pepper offers a whopping 169% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin C, making it a top dietary source.
  • Vitamin B6: Essential for red blood cell formation, bell peppers provide a good dose of vitamin B6.
  • Vitamin K1: Crucial for blood clotting and bone health.
  • Potassium: Promoting heart health.
  • Folate: Vital during pregnancy.
  • Vitamin E: An antioxidant crucial for nerve and muscle health.
  • Vitamin A: Pro-vitamin A (beta carotene) in red bell peppers supports overall health.

Other Plant Compounds

Bell peppers boast an array of antioxidants, particularly carotenoids, more abundant in ripe specimens. Key compounds include:

  • Capsanthin: Abundant in red bell peppers, this antioxidant lends them their vibrant hue.
  • Violaxanthin: Predominant in yellow bell peppers.
  • Lutein: Found in green bell peppers and paprika, it promotes eye health.
  • Quercetin and Luteolin: Polyphenol antioxidants with potential health benefits.

Health Benefits

Bell peppers, like many plant foods, offer numerous health perks. High consumption correlates with a reduced risk of chronic ailments like cancer and heart disease.

Eye Health

Carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin, abundant in bell peppers, safeguard retinal health, potentially reducing the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.

Anemia Prevention

Red bell peppers, rich in iron and vitamin C, aid in preventing anemia by enhancing iron absorption from other foods.

Adverse Effects

While bell peppers are generally well-tolerated and nutritious, allergic reactions are rare. Cross-reactivity may occur in individuals with pollen allergies.


Bell peppers, brimming with vitamins and antioxidants, particularly vitamin C and carotenoids, offer an array of health benefits, from bolstering eye health to reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Adding them to your diet is a smart move for overall health and wellbeing.

Elena Ognivtseva
Latest posts by Elena Ognivtseva (see all)

Nutritionist, Cornell University, MS

I believe that nutrition science is a wonderful helper both for the preventive improvement of health and adjunctive therapy in treatment. My goal is to help people improve their health and well-being without torturing themselves with unnecessary dietary restrictions. I am a supporter of a healthy lifestyle – I play sports, cycle, and swim in the lake all year round. With my work, I have been featured in Vice, Country Living, Harrods magazine, Daily Telegraph, Grazia, Women's Health, and other media outlets.

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