Jump to Topics

Ring in better diabetes management with bell pepper

Ring in better diabetes management with bell pepper

Including colorful capsicums, both in raw and cooked forms, in a diabetes-friendly diet can provide a variety of nutrients and help in glucose management
Colorful capsicums can provide a variety of nutrients and help in glucose management when included in a diabetes-friendly diet
Photo by Anantha Subramanyam K/Happiest Health

Bell pepper or capsicum can be included in almost all variations of a diabetes-friendly diet. It is beneficial for the ability to prevent sudden sugar spikes due to the presence of compounds involved in regulating both carbohydrate and lipid metabolism.

Bell pepper could slow down sudden sugar spikes

According to Dr Anil Bhoraskar, senior diabetologist, SL Raheja Hospital, Mumbai, capsicums — red, green and yellow — are beneficial for people with diabetes. They are rich in phytosterols (natural compounds in plants that can help lower cholesterol levels safely). Phytosterols inhibit the enzymes in the gastrointestinal tract that have alpha-glucosidase (an enzyme involved in the digestion of carbohydrates) and lipase (an enzyme that breaks down triglycerides into free fatty acids), leading to slower digestion of carbohydrates and fats. Thus, it prevents sudden spikes in blood glucose levels.

Packed with nutrients

Bangalore-based nutritionist Ranjani Raman explains although all varieties of bell pepper have majorly similar amounts of nutrients, the red ones contain slightly more antioxidants, iron, potassium and sugars.

According to Delhi-based nutritionist Avni Kaul, red bell peppers have the highest levels of vitamins, including vitamin C and vitamin A, as well as antioxidants like beta-carotene. They also tend to have a slightly sweeter taste compared to green or yellow bell peppers. However, one can use all three varieties interchangeably for maximum benefits or mix them while preparing meals.

Diabetes-friendly qualities of bell pepper

According to Kaul, capsicum is a beneficial vegetable for people with diabetes due to multiple reasons:

Low glycemic index: Bell pepper has a low glycemic index (GI), which means it causes a slower increase in blood sugar levels after consumption. “This can help in managing blood sugar spikes, which is particularly important for people with diabetes,” informs Kaul. The GI of green bell peppers is around 15-20, which is very low. On the other hand, slightly riper peppers might have a slightly higher GI of 20-30 which is still quite low and safe for people with diabetes. “The glycemic index of bell peppers can vary depending on their color and ripeness,” explains Kaul.

Fiber content: The dietary fiber in bell peppers keeps you feeling full. It also aids in weight control by minimizing the chances of intermittent snacking, which is important for diabetes management.

Antioxidant-rich: Capsicum is rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals like carotenoids and flavonoids. “These antioxidants help protect cells from oxidative stress and inflammation, which can contribute to diabetes complications,” explains Kaul. 

Vitamins and minerals: This vegetable is a good source of essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium. These nutrients are essential in maintaining overall health and immune function.

Versatility in cooking: Bell peppers can be incorporated into a variety of dishes. Thus, one can easily include them in a well-rounded diabetes-friendly diet. People can add it to salads, stir-fries, omelets, soups and more.

Anti-inflammatory properties: Capsaicin, a compound found in capsicum, has been associated with anti-inflammatory effects. “Inflammation is often linked to diabetes and its complications, so incorporating anti-inflammatory foods can be helpful,” adds Kaul.

Preparations with capsicum

Raman highlights that since bell peppers are low in calories, they can be added to a variety of meals. One can make salads, subzis (vegetable preparations), mixed-vegetable dosa items, and one-pot meals like millet khichdi or bisibelebath, in diced, grated or sliced forms.

While some people may find the flavor of capsicum bitter or pungent, it can be balanced when had with complex carbohydrates like brown rice, millet and even potatoes in moderation. Raman suggests sauteing it mildly and avoiding consuming it raw if it is too pungent.

Bell peppers can be roasted or grilled to bring out their natural sweetness and reduce bitterness. “The high heat caramelizes the sugars in the peppers, making them more flavorful and enjoyable,” explains Kaul.

According to a study conducted by CSIR-IICT, yellow and red bell peppers slowed down the digestion of carbohydrates and lipids faster as compared to green pepper. Yellow capsicums significantly inhibited the activity of alpha-glucosidase and lipase enzymes, which was almost double that of green ones. Yellow and red-colored capsicums were more effective than their green counterparts due to the presence of oligomerized anthocyanins (colored water-soluble pigments).

How can people with diabetes eat bell pepper?

Caution in consuming capsicum

Dr Bhoraskar says for effective diabetes management, the basic mantra is to do everything in moderation. This includes not having excessive bell peppers.

Further, some people use pepper in cooking capsicum. However, adding too much of it to capsicum can increase blood pressure, particularly in people with hypertension. He also cautions that capsicum prepared with chilies and black pepper can cause gastritis in people with diabetes.

Moreover, while consuming bell pepper, portion control is a must. This is simply because if it is not digested properly, it can lead to gas and flatulence. “So, to avoid the side effects of having too much capsicum at one meal, it is best to divide and consume the portions three times a day,” suggests Dr Bhoraskar.


  • Colorful vegetables like bell peppers contain pigments and antioxidant compounds that are beneficial in diabetes management.
  • This versatile vegetable can be included in different diabetes-friendly preparations and aid glucose management.
  • There are different ways of preparing capsicum to make it more palatable and less pungent.

Share Your Experience/Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Some couples consciously decide not to have children despite familial and social expectations, wanting to make the best of their relationship. Children should be had for their own sake, says psychotherapist Tasneem Nakhoda
Insufficient consumption of heart-healthy foods can affect cardiovascular health. Experts discuss beneficial dietary choices
Physical activity improves the quality as well as duration of sleep. But exercising too close to bedtime is not advisable




Opt-in To Our Daily Newsletter

* Please check your Spam folder for the Opt-in confirmation mail

Opt-in To Our
Daily Newsletter

We use cookies to customize your user experience, view our policy here

Your feedback has been submitted successfully.

The Happiest Health team will reach out to you at the earliest