Do you know the difference between your capsicums?

Red, yellow, orange and green. They cover the traffic light of colours but did you know that not all capsicums are created equal? Chef and nutritionist Zoe Bingley-Pullin breaks down the science behind one of her favourite vegetables.

Why are green capsicums cheaper than their multi-coloured cousins?

Green capsicums have been picked prior to being fully ripe - were they left to ripen they would be red, yellow or orange. This makes them cheaper as they cost less to produce. Being unripe also makes them less popular as they contain less natural sugars compared to yellow and red varieties, leaving them with a more bitter taste.

Can the green ones cause digestive disruption?

Raw green capsicum may lead to some digestive upset in sensitive individuals - but this won't affect everybody. Try cooking your green capsicum prior to eating or else swapping to a yellow or red variety.

What are the health benefits of all capsicums, regardless of their colour?

They're low in kilojoules and also a great way to boost the nutritional density of your diet. Plus they're approximately 90 percent water, so a great option to boost your hydration. Not only that they're good sources of the following:

Vitamin C - a potent antioxidant, beneficial to immunity, skin health and overall wellbeing.

Potassium - electrolyte important for fluid balance and regulating muscle and heart contractions.

Folic acid - important for a healthy mood.

Vitamin E - a fat-soluble antioxidant.

Vitamin A - important for immune and skin health.

Carotenoids and polyphenols - which help with reduced risk of chronic disease and have anti-aging effects.

Okay, but which is the most nutritious of them all?

The red one as it's had time to mature and has higher levels of carotenoids, Vitamin C, organic acids and increased antioxidant properties.

What are your top tips for including capsicums in our diet?

I'm a massive fan of capsicum be they raw, roasted or even blended into a soup or pasta sauce base. They work well in omelettes for a bit of sweetness, add colour and crunch to stir-fries, are delicious stuffed with rice and chickpeas for a plant-based dinner or are handy when roasted and stored in a bit of oil to add to salads, wraps and sandwiches. 

Feeling capsicum inspired? Try these recipes for a health-boosting hit!


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