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Story by Brian Rossiter - Fruit-Powered

Just like cucumbers and tomatoes, peppers are nonsweet fruits that are often referred to as vegetables. Peppers are also known as bell peppers, sweet peppers and capsicum. Pepper (sweet red) scores a 97 out of 100 in Dr. T.C. Fry’s “A General Guide to Food Selection.”

Tomatoes are in peak season in September and October. A midsize pepper measures 2½ inches long and 2¾ inches in diameter, weighs 119 grams and contains 37 calories. Peppers contain 92 percent water.

Peppers come from the family of Solanaceae, or the nightshade family, in the genus capsicum. The fruit is native to Mexico and other Central America countries. and thousands of cultivars are grown worldwide. Most green peppers (except the Permagreen variety) are unripe, and the fruit may be found in colors such as yellow, orange, red and purple.

Peppers, which contain ample amounts of protein and fat for a fruit, are a rich source of several vitamins, including A, B6 and C, along with minerals such as manganese and potassium. Peppers are also a good source of beta carotene, an antioxidant flavonoid that helps protect the body during stress and disease conditions.

China produces the most peppers, with 14 million metric tonnes (includes chile peppers) in 2007. Mexico and Indonesia produced 1.7 million metric tonnes and 1.1 million metric tonnes, respectively, in 2007. Turkey and Spain round out the list of the leading five producers, each with 1.1 million metric tonnes grown in the same year.

Stats for 100 Grams of Peppers (Sweet, Red, Raw)

  • 31 calories

Notable Nutrients

Percentages based on the Reference Daily Intake for a 2,000-calorie diet

  • Vitamin A: 62.6%
  • Vitamin B2: 5%
  • Vitamin B3: 4.9%
  • Vitamin B6: 14.6%
  • Vitamin C: 212.8%
  • Vitamin E: 7.8%
  • Vitamin K: 6.1%
  • Folate: 11.5%
  • Manganese: 5.6%
  • Potassium: 6%


  • Carbohydrates: 78.5%
  • Protein: 12.8%
  • Fat: 8.7%

Food Type

  • Nonsweet fruit


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