The eagerly anticipated arrival of our new organic Clarity-C face lotion has caused a buzz here at Ishtar Skinlights. With so much enthusiasm for vitamin C in the air, the first thought was that a fresh fruit dish would be the obvious choice for this week’s recipe. However, the surprising truth is that fresh fruit do not always offer much in the way of vitamin C. In fact, one of the highest concentrations of vitamin C is found in the humble sweet bell pepper, which contains on average a massive three times the amount of vitamin C as citrus fruit. Sweet peppers are also a rich source of lycopene, beta-carotene and zeaxanthin and contain folic acid, potassium and iron.
A classic Italian recipe, peperonata, is deceptively simple but full of flavour. It is a delicious accompaniment to pasta, rice, chicken, fish and sausages…in fact practically anything! But it is also fantastically good just served in a bowl, with warm ciabatta bread and extra olive oil on the side.[pullquote]The surprising truth is that fresh fruit do not always offer much in the way of vitamin C. One of the highest concentrations of vitamin C is found in the humble sweet bell pepper[/pullquote]
800g peppers red, yellow and green
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
300g ripe tomatoes
3 spoons of good quality extra-virgin olive oil
4 or 5 leaves of fresh basil
Clean, wash and dry the peppers.
Deseed and chop the peppers into chunky pieces or slices.
Put the oil and the garlic in a large pan, add the peppers and fry for 5 minutes.
Add chopped tomatoes, basil and a pinch of salt.
Put the lid on the pan and cook for 20 minutes.
Take the lid off and cook for 10 more minutes. It’s ready!
The Surprise Benefits of Sweet Yellow Peppers
A 100g serving of fresh red cherries will only provide about 10mg of vitamin C, a medium sized peach about the same, and an apple will barely even provide that. The food most commonly linked to vitamin C is citrus fruit, and they do indeed provide a reasonable dose: 100g of fresh orange will provide approximately 50mg of vitamin C.
Combining several fruits into a concentrated form, such as a juice or puree, will increase the vitamin C per serving, but this will come at the cost of an increased sugar load (see How Sugar Ages the Skin) . In comparison, the yellow pepper which contain 183mg of vitamin C per 100g (red and green peppers contain less vitamin C) and half the calories.
You may have heard that cooking destroys vitamin C. This is true, but short cooking methods, such as stir-frying and grilling have little impact on the amount of vitamin C in the final dish. Additionally, many of the other valuable nutrients in the pepper such as beta-cartonene and lycopene, are released through gentle cooking, so in balance freshly cooked peppers are a good nutritional choice.
Nutritional data was sourced from the Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)