You’re shopping at your local natural and organic food store, and you spot some gorgeous green and red bell peppers—so stunning, in fact, that you decide to buy both.
But have you ever wondered whether there’s any nutritional difference between the two?
“Green bell peppers, or sweet peppers, are simply the less mature form of red peppers,” explains registered dietitian Karen Collins, nutrition adviser for the American Institute for Cancer Research.
“While the two varieties have identical calorie contents, the extra maturation time allows red peppers to accumulate higher levels of some nutrients. For example, both types of pepper are excellent sources of vitamin C, but red varieties contain more than twice as much as green—more than a whole day’s supply in just half a cup.”
Green peppers supply some beta-carotene, Collins notes, “but red peppers supply almost eight times as much. Red peppers also supply seven times as much beta-cryptoxanthin, another carotenoid, as well as some lycopene, which research suggests may be linked with lower risk of prostate cancer. On the other hand, green peppers are a much better source of the carotenoid lutein, which may play a role in maintaining healthy vision.”