By Modou S N’jie
The idea behind this column is to promote the culture of eating what we grow and growing what we eat. This column is proudly sponsored by FARM FRESH which is The Gambia’s first online Vegetables and Fruits Delivery service (www.farmfresh.gm) allowing anyone from within The Gambia or abroad to place orders online or via phone and have the items delivered to their doorsteps at home or at the office. All the vegetables are locally grown (organic).
It goes without saying that a healthy mind can only be found in a healthy body. There is also a saying which appears simple but is in fact deep in meaning, “YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT”.
“When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.” Ancient Earthian Ayurvedic Proverb. It is for these reasons Farm Fresh is happy to partner with Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute, in order to create awareness and acceptance of our locally grown vegetables and fruits. Understanding what we eat and how we eat plays a significant role in our overall health and well-being.
This week we will take a look at the amazing health benefits of eating sweet peppers in our diets. We are also happy to share some easy sweet pepper recipes as usual for your family and businesses and we hope you will find this article interesting. Thank you and welcome to the journey towards healthy eating. Remember the slogan ”You are what you eat”.
What are sweet peppers?
Sweet peppers are a famous fruit popularly known as green peppers in the Gambian markets. Sweet peppers according to local sources gives delicious and pleasant aromas to food, by either chopping or pounding it with other spices for some popular Gambia dishes such as Benechin, Domoda, yassa or soups. Sweet pepper is a fruit of the bell pepper (capsicum annuum) and a member of the nightshade family along with aubergine, tomatoes and potatoes, bell peppers are also referred to as sweet peppers. A nonhot relative to the chilli pepper, bell peppers can be eaten raw or cooked and make a nutritious addition to a meal. Sweet peppers in the Gambia are mostly used as seasonings and also for garnishing. Sweet peppers are mostly red, yellow, and green. In this article you will find out more about sweet peppers, its origin, health benefits and some amazing dishes that we can use sweet peppers for.
Sweet Peppers are native to Mexico, Central America, and northern South America. Pepper seeds were imported to Spain in 1493 and then spread through Europe and Asia. The mild bell pepper cultivar was developed in the 1920s, in Szeged, Hungary.
Nutrients found in sweet peppers
It’s worth noting that the nutritional contribution of bell peppers varies dependent on their color, with red varieties supplying more potassium, vitamin C and folate than their yellow, orange or green equivalents. However, immature green peppers are significantly richer than their mature red equivalent, in the protective plant compounds known as polyphenols. Some of the health benefits might include the following;
Health benefits of sweet pepper
1. May reduce the likelihood of anaemia
A common condition especially among women and girls of reproductive age, anaemia is the result of a lack of oxygen in the blood. One of the commonest causes being iron deficiency. Bell peppers contribute modest amounts of iron but are remarkably rich in vitamin C, half a pepper supplying as much as 100mg. This is significant because vitamin C increases the absorption of iron in the gut and numerous studies confirm that diets high in vitamin C-rich fruit and vegetables results in a greater iron uptake. Bell peppers help further because they contain vitamin B6 which is needed to make haemoglobin, the protein which carries oxygen around the body.
2. May protect against certain chronic diseases
Bell peppers are rich in antioxidants, which are associated with better health and protection against conditions like heart disease and cancer. For instance, peppers are especially rich in antioxidant vitamins including vitamins C, E and beta-carotene. They also supply bountiful amounts of polyphenols; these protective plant compounds include lutein, quercetin and capsanthin, the latter being especially rich in ripe red peppers. Being an antioxidant powerhouse suggests peppers offer a strong anti-inflammatory capacity and are likely to lower the risk of chronic disease. Sadly, to date large scale studies which specifically look at the consumption of bell peppers on the incidence of chronic disease, remains lacking.
3. Good for gut health
Peppers are a good source of fiber, which is essential for gut health. Studies show that increasing your fiber intake can protect against digestive system conditions like colon cancer and inflammatory bowel disease. Eating fiber-rich foods can also help keep your digestive system functioning optimally by preventing constipation and promoting a healthy gut bacteria balance.
Try snacking on sliced green bell pepper with hummus or adding chopped green bell pepper to salads, chili, and stir-fries for an extra boost of fiber.
4. Contains health-benefiting plant compounds
Bell peppers contain a variety of plant compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. For example, this vegetable provides flavonoids, vitamin C, phenolic compounds, and carotenoids, all of which have health-promoting effects. sweet peppers with red, orange, and yellow peppers, green sweet peppers had more phenolic acids, including a powerful type called p-coumaric acid Adding more fruits and vegetables like green sweet peppers to your diet is a smart way to promote your heart and eye health.
A healthy, well-rounded diet, rich in produce like green sweet peppers may help you maintain a healthy body weight and reduce belly fat.
Here are some healthy delicious recipes of sweet peppers that are easy to make and affordable easy to make and affordable
Stuff bell peppe
Dried oregano Salt
Shredded montery jack
1. Preheat oven at 400 degrees. In a small saucepan, prepare rice according to package instructions. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add ground beef and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 6 minutes. Drain fat.
2. Return beef mixture to skillet, then stir in cooked rice and dice tomatoes. Season with oregano, salt and pepper. Let simmer until liquid has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes.
3. Place peppers cut side up in 9”-x-13” baking dish with foil.
4. Bake until peppers tender, about 35 minutes. Uncover and bake until cheese is bubbly, 10 minutes more.
5. Garnish with parsley before serving.
Sauteed garlic-herb bell pepper
3 tablespoon olive oil
2 large red bell peppers
2 large yellow bell peppers
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon red vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped basil
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 loaf Italian bread, sliced and toasted (optional)
1. Gather the ingredients
2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat.
3. Add the pepper strips and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes until the peppers begin to soften.
4. Turn down the heat to low and add the garlic, salt, and pepper. Saute for 2 more minutes, being careful the garlic doesn’t brown as it will turn bitter.
5. Turn of the heat and add the vinegar, basil and parsley. Toss to combine.
6. Transfer into a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.
7. Toss again before serving. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Serve with toasted bread if desire.