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Food combinations and cooking methods, sweet peppers

January 27, 2021
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Food combinations and cooking methods, sweet peppers

Vitamins, mineral salts, proteins and antioxidants, peppers are a truly beneficial food for health, characterized by anticancer, anti-obesity, neuroprotective and diuretic properties as well as useful for bone health. Let's find out how to make them more digestible and what are the best cooking methods and food combinations to maximize their properties

They can be of different colors, red, yellow or green, some are small and elongated, others larger and square, we are talking about sweet or bell peppers. Peppers bring joy to any dish but are also a precious source of healthy substances. First of all, they are characterized by a high antioxidant, anti aging, antitumor, anti diabetes and neuroprotective power. Peppers strengthen the immune system and contain vitamins, such as C, group B and P, provitamin A but also proteins and mineral salts (Chavez Mendoza et al, Antioxidants, 2015). However, for many people they can be difficult to digest. So let's try to understand if we can use small tricks to increase the digestibility of peppers, which preparations maximize their beneficial action for health and if different colors can also determine different properties!

Peppers, colors

Peppers with different colors also have different properties. In particular, yellow pepper is the poorest in beta carotenes but is richer in vitamin K, with an anti-tumor action and for bone health. Red pepper contains more vitamin C and beta-carotene, but also quercetin and luteolin, which are antioxidants with an antiviral and anti-inflammatory action, while green pepper contains more chlorophyll, which is antioxidant and acts by strengthening the body against oxidative stress (Sun et al, J Food Sci, 2007).

Why sweet peppers can be not very digestible

Often the pepper is more easily digestible raw or fried but less if prepared roasted, especially when it is skinned and rinsed under running water. In fact, the latter action, that of passing the peeled pepper under water, dilutes and causes the loss of a liquid that contains the enzyme capable of facilitating digestion (Aufiero, the nutritional and therapeutic role of foods). In the preparations presented in the following paragraphs we will see how to keep this liquid.

Roasted pepper

Roasted pepper is an aid to counteract chronic constipation but can also be an ally if included in an anti-obesity diet. Peppers, in fact, stimulate metabolism and improve insulin sensitivity (Sanati et al, Iran J Basic Med Sci, 2018). Not only that, the pepper is also diuretic, therefore useful to counteract water retention, but should be limited in case of insomnia and gastritis (Aufiero, the nutritional and therapeutic role of foods). Wash the pepper and dry it. Pass the pepper over the flame of the stove or on a grill, turn the pepper over to cook it evenly.

Then put the pepper in an airtight food container for about twenty minutes, in this way the pepper can be peeled without using water, which, as we have seen, would make it less digestible (Aufiero, the nutritional and therapeutic role of foods). Cut the peppers into strips, keeping the liquid that has formed and that will improve its digestibility. Finally, season with extra virgin olive oil and a few leaves of mint.

Raw pepper

In raw pepper vitamin C is preserved at the most. Not only that, carotenoids, such as protavitamin A, but also vitamins of group B, K and P, proteins and mineral salts are also available. Thanks to these characteristics, raw pepper is an aid in case of viral infections, colds and flu, but also in diets against obesity and constipation (Aufiero, the nutritional and therapeutic role of food). Clean, wash and dry the pepper. Cut the pepper into very small chunks or strips. Add the pepper to salads, season with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and a teaspoon of tamari sauce.

Sweet Italian peppers

Sweet Italian peppers or pepperoncini are tolerated better than other types of pepper since, as they contain less provitamin A, they stress less the liver (Aufiero, the nutritional and therapeutic role of food). These peppers are useful in countering constipation, obesity but also are an extra ally against colds and viruses. Wash the sweet Italian peppers and dry them. Dip the peppers in a pan where you previously heated abundant oil. Fry the peppers for a few minutes. Drain the peppers and then wipe off the excess oil with absorbent paper.

Pepper and garlic

Pepper and garlic work in synergy both against obesity and to boost the defenses. In fact, garlic contains iodine and sulfur, which stimulate the thyroid and liver work, and is characterized by its antiviral and antibacterial action (Aufiero, the nutritional and therapeutic role of foods). Wash and dry two peppers. Cut the peppers into strips. Brown a clove of garlic in extra virgin olive oil in a pan, add the peppers and cook, turning them often. As suggested by Dr. Aufiero in his book The nutritional and therapeutic role of foods, the lid should be avoided. In fact, when cooking with the lid on, the water vapor tends to be absorbed by the peppers, making them less attackable by gastric juices and therefore less digestible.

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