What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Bell Peppers Regularly

Sophia Wesley
Sophia Wesley
10 Min Read

Reviewed by Dietitian Jessica Ball, M.S., RD

Bell peppers are vibrant and popular vegetables that come in many colors including red, orange, yellow and green. Green peppers are unripe, offering a slightly more bitter and earthy flavor than their sweeter, more ripe counterparts. And if you ask us, dishes like Veggie FajitasChicken Paprikash Soup and Sheet-Pan Sausage & Peppers wouldn’t be the same without them. They are full of vitamins and minerals that can benefit your health, but what happens when you eat them regularly or multiple times per week? We spoke with nutrition experts to get the scoop.

Bell Pepper Nutrition

One medium red bell pepper (approximately 119 grams) contains the following:

  • Calories: 31
  • Carbohydrates: 7 g
  • Dietary fiber: 3 g
  • Total sugar: 5 g
  • Added sugar: 0 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Total fat: 0 g
  • Saturated fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0
  • Sodium: 5 mg
  • Vitamin C: 152 mg (190% Daily Value [DV])
  • Vitamin K: 5 mcg (5% DV)
  • Vitamin A: 187 mcg (23% DV) 

Health Benefits of Bell Peppers

They May Reduce Inflammation

Bell peppers are rich in phytochemicals and nutrients that have natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, research has shown that plant compounds that are present in bell peppers may positively impact health by lowering inflammation in the body or reducing the risk of developing it altogether. Prolonged states of inflammation are associated with chronic health conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Erika Barrera, M.P.H., RDN, a registered dietitian and wellness educator, tells Eating Well, “Bell peppers contain antioxidants such as carotenoids and anthocyanins that help prevent cell damage in the body. This is important for inflammation and cancer prevention.”

They May Support Eye Health

The carotenoids bell peppers contain, including zeaxanthin and lutein, may help protect your eye health and support healthy vision. Zeaxanthin is an antioxidant that builds up in a part of the eye called the macula that helps protect from damage caused by blue light. When photoreceptor cells in the eye become damaged, it can lead to macular degeneration, a major cause of blindness. Many of us spend hours looking at screens, so eating bell peppers (particularly the orange ones) may help minimize the eye damage caused by blue light sources.

In a 2020 study published in Proceedings, researchers looked at different varieties of peppers to determine which ones had the highest levels of zeaxanthin. They found that orange bell peppers contained high levels of zeaxanthin, while others had different beneficial types of orange pigments like lutein.

Other research suggests that zeaxanthin may also provide antioxidant protection for the heart, liver and skin as well.

They May Bolster the Immune System

According to Krista Wale, RD, a registered dietitian and founder of Louisiana Nutrition Associates, “Incorporating bell peppers into your daily diet could potentially offer a wealth of nutrition for your body, especially for your immune system.”

Red bell peppers provide nearly three times as much vitamin C as an orange. “Research shows that regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps support your immune system to fight off infections and illnesses,” says Wale.


They May Promote Brain Health

Eating bell peppers may help keep your brain healthy and prevent age-related memory loss. One study found that the flavonoids, phenolic acids and carotenoids found in peppers may help prevent memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

The nutrients contained in ripe peppers may also block enzyme activity that releases amyloid proteins in the brain and nervous system. Amyloid proteins are believed to be responsible for damaging nerve fibers and increasing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

They May Help with Digestion

Bell peppers are a great source of fiber which offers many health benefits, including better digestion, improved heart health and stable energy levels. Erika Barrera, M.P.H., RDN says “Fiber helps manage blood sugar and cholesterol while keeping the gut microbiome healthy.” Fiber also helps to feed the healthy gut bacteria living in your digestive tract, which can help support a healthy microbiome.

Are Bell Peppers Safe for Everyone to Eat?

Most people can enjoy the health benefits of bell peppers with no issues. Bell pepper allergies are rare, but they do exist. “Bell peppers are safe for everyone to eat unless an individual has noticeable discomfort from eating them or has an allergy,” says Barrera.

“It’s okay to eat bell peppers every day, but the goal should be to incorporate a variety of colorful vegetables in the diet throughout the week,” Barrera tells Eating Well.

Tips for Enjoying Bell Peppers

As a Snack

One of the easiest ways to enjoy bell peppers is by eating them as part of a snack. Try sliced bell peppers with hummus, or check out our Cucumber-Dill Ricotta Snack Jar, which packs 15 grams of protein.

On a Kebab

Kebabs are a fun way to get in more bell peppers, and more veggies altogether. This Marinated Grilled Vegetable Kebabs recipe makes a wonderful addition to any grilled meats or fish. Or serve kabobs with a plant-based source of protein like beans, lentils or tofu for a plant-based meal.

As a Side

This versatile veg can be paired with almost any main dish. Not only are they versatile, they’re also incredibly easy to cook. Barrera tells Eating Well, “My favorite way to eat bell peppers is sliced and sauteed with olive oil, minced garlic, garlic salt and red pepper flakes.”

Our Sautéed Peppers & Onions recipe is great for meal prepping, as it goes well with almost any meal, breakfast, lunch or dinner. “This recipe serves well as a side of any dish, on top of toast with sprinkled parmesan cheese, or even mixed with rice or pasta,” says Barerra.

RELATED: How to Cut a Bell Pepper

In a Salad

Bell peppers add a fresh, crisp to green salads and a delicious crunch to others. Our Eat-the-Rainbow Chopped Salad with Basil & Mozzarella puts a fresh spin on the typical Caprese salad. Add grilled or roasted chicken or tofu for a quick main dish.

Try Them Stuffed

One popular way to enjoy stuffed bell peppers is stuffed with rice and meat. This Stuffed Peppers recipe is a classic take on the beloved and visually-appealing main. If you’re feeling more adventurous, our other stuffed pepper recipes or make them for breakfast with our Cheesy Egg Stuffed Peppers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do bell peppers do for your body?

Bell peppers are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. These nutrients may improve eye health, immune health, brain health and help reduce cancer and chronic disease risk.

Is it OK to eat bell peppers every day?

It’s ok to eat bell peppers every day, but some people may need to limit their intake to one per day. Consuming too many bell peppers may cause gas and bloating in some, due to their high fiber content. It’s also a good idea to include a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet.

Is it better to eat bell peppers raw or cooked?

You can reap the benefits of eating bell peppers whether they are raw or cooked, but cooking bell peppers may make it easier for your body to absorb the nutrients. However, cooking a pepper for a long time may reduce its vitamin C content.

The Bottom Line

Bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamins and antioxidants. Eating them may provide several health benefits including decreased inflammation, reduced disease risk, improved immune health and improved eye health. And feel free to enjoy them on a regular basis unless you notice uncomfortable digestive symptoms. There are plenty of ways to enjoy this versatile vegetable—check out our Healthy Pepper Recipes for meal ideas and inspiration.

Read the original article on Eating Well.

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