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Cucumber vs. Bell pepper — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Ani Harutyunyan by Ani Harutyunyan | Last updated on May 24, 2024
Medically reviewed by Elen Khachatrian Article author photo Elen Khachatrian
Cucumber
vs
Bell pepper

Summary

Bell peppers contain 80.4 mg of vitamin C, around 29 times more than cucumbers, which contain 2.8mg. However, cucumbers are 9mg richer in vitamin K content. Bell peppers are also higher in fiber, folate, and vitamin A. Cucumbers are low in calories, and Bell pepper has a higher oxalate content

Introduction

Bell peppers and cucumbers are widespread and commonly used vegetables. This article will review their key differences, focusing on their nutrition and health impacts

Actual Differences

Classification and Varieties 

Cucumbers and bell peppers are popular vegetables that come in a variety of types, each with distinct characteristics. Cucumbers, classified scientifically as Cucumis sativus, are part of the Cucurbitaceae family. They are typically categorized into slicing, pickling, and seedless or burpless varieties. Slicing cucumbers, such as the Marketmore, are long and smooth-skinned, ideal for fresh consumption. Pickling cucumbers, like the Boston Pickling, are shorter, with a bumpy exterior suited for brining. Seedless cucumbers, including the English cucumber, are used for minimal seeds and a milder taste.

Bell peppers, or Capsicum annuum, belong to the Solanaceae family. Varieties include the classic California Wonder, known for its blocky shape and thick walls, and the elongated, sweet Corno di Toro.

Appearance

Cucumbers are typically elongated and cylindrical. Their skin can be smooth or bumpy and varies in color from light to dark green. Some varieties, like the English cucumber, are thinner with fewer seeds. Inside, cucumbers have a pale green, watery flesh with small, edible seeds arranged in a central cavity.

In contrast, bell peppers are short and famous for their blocky, square shape. They have a glossy, firm exterior that comes in various colors, including green, yellow, orange, red, and even purple. The interior of a bell pepper consists of a hollow cavity filled with small, white seeds attached to a pithy rib. The flesh of bell pepper is thick, crisp, and juicy, contrasting the more delicate, watery texture of cucumber flesh. 

Taste and Use

Bell peppers have a sweet, slightly tangy flavor that intensifies as they ripen from green to red. Green bell peppers are more bitter and less sweet, while red, orange, and yellow peppers are sweeter and fruitier. Their crisp texture makes them ideal for a variety of dishes, both raw and cooked. Raw bell peppers are commonly added to salads, salsas, and crudité platters. When cooked, they can be roasted, grilled, sautéed, or stuffed and added to dishes like stir-fries, fajitas, and casseroles.

Cucumbers, on the other hand, have a mild, refreshing taste with a watery and crisp texture. They can be added to salads, sandwiches, and sauces like tzatzikiSlicing cucumbers are perfect for fresh consumption while pickling cucumbers are used to make tangy, crunchy picklesSeedless varieties, with their tender skin and fewer seeds, are ideal for snacking and garnishing. Unlike bell peppers, cucumbers are less commonly cooked, as their high water content can make them mushy, but they are sometimes lightly sautéed or incorporated into warm dishes in Asian cuisines

Nutrition

In this article, we will compare the nutritional composition of raw cucumbers and sweet, green, raw Bell peppers. The nutritional values for 100g servings of these vegetables are presented here.

Macronutrients and Calories

Both vegetables are low in nutrients; however, Bell peppers are slightly denser in nutrients compared to cucumbers. The protein content of these vegetables is nearly identical; each contains less than one gram of protein.  They both provide more than 90% of water.

Macronutrient Comparison

Macronutrient breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Protein +32.3%
Contains more Fats +54.5%
Contains more Carbs +27.8%
Contains more Other +15.8%
Equal in Water - 93.89
4% 95%
Protein: 0.65 g
Fats: 0.11 g
Carbs: 3.63 g
Water: 95.23 g
Other: 0.38 g
5% 94%
Protein: 0.86 g
Fats: 0.17 g
Carbs: 4.64 g
Water: 93.89 g
Other: 0.44 g
Contains more Protein +32.3%
Contains more Fats +54.5%
Contains more Carbs +27.8%
Contains more Other +15.8%
Equal in Water - 93.89

Carbohydrates

Cucumbers are lower in carbs, containing 3.63g of carbohydrates compared to 4.64g in Bell peppers. However, Bell peppers are lower in net carbs. Cucumbers are higher in starch, whereas Bell peppers are higher in sucrose, fructose, and glucose

Fiber

Bell peppers are around 3.5 times richer in dietary fiber, containing 1.7 grams, while cucumbers provide only 0.5 grams of it. Bell peppers are especially richer in insoluble fiber

Carbohydrate type comparison

Carbohydrate type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Starch +∞%
Contains more Maltose +∞%
Contains more Sucrose +266.7%
Contains more Glucose +52.6%
Contains more Fructose +28.7%
33% 30% 35%
Starch: 0.83 g
Sucrose: 0.03 g
Glucose: 0.76 g
Fructose: 0.87 g
Lactose: 0 g
Maltose: 0.01 g
Galactose: 0 g
5% 49% 47%
Starch: 0 g
Sucrose: 0.11 g
Glucose: 1.16 g
Fructose: 1.12 g
Lactose: 0 g
Maltose: 0 g
Galactose: 0 g
Contains more Starch +∞%
Contains more Maltose +∞%
Contains more Sucrose +266.7%
Contains more Glucose +52.6%
Contains more Fructose +28.7%
  

Calories

Cucumbers provide 15 kcal per 100g, while the same amount of Bell peppers contains 20 kcal. Cucumbers and Bell peppers are classified as low-calorie foods.

Vitamins

Cucumbers contain higher amounts of vitamin K than Bell peppers, providing 16.4mg compared to 7.4mg in Bell peppers. On the other hand, Bell peppers are notably richer in vitamin C, with 80.4mg compared to 2.8mg in cucumbers. 

Bell peppers also contain more vitamins AEB1B3, B6, and folate. However, cucumbers contain higher amounts of vitamins B2 and B5.

Both vegetables do not provide vitamin D and B12

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
:
Contains more Vitamin B2 +17.9%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +161.6%
Contains more Vitamin K +121.6%
Contains more Vitamin A +252.4%
Contains more Vitamin E +1133.3%
Contains more Vitamin C +2771.4%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +111.1%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +389.8%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +460%
Contains more Folate +42.9%
Equal in Choline - 5.5
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 7% 1% 0% 10% 7% 8% 2% 16% 10% 6% 0% 4% 41%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 23% 8% 0% 268% 15% 7% 9% 6% 52% 8% 0% 3% 19%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +17.9%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +161.6%
Contains more Vitamin K +121.6%
Contains more Vitamin A +252.4%
Contains more Vitamin E +1133.3%
Contains more Vitamin C +2771.4%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +111.1%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +389.8%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +460%
Contains more Folate +42.9%
Equal in Choline - 5.5

Minerals

Cucumbers are the winners in this category. They provide more calciummagnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium than Bell peppers. On the other hand, Bell peppers contain more amounts of ironpotassiumcopper, and manganese. Also, cucumbers are 1mg lower in sodium

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
Contains more Calcium +60%
Contains more Magnesium +30%
Contains more Phosphorus +20%
Contains less Sodium -33.3%
Contains more Zinc +53.8%
Contains more Selenium +∞%
Contains more Iron +21.4%
Contains more Potassium +19%
Contains more Copper +61%
Contains more Manganese +54.4%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 5% 11% 10% 11% 13% 1% 6% 14% 11% 2%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 3% 13% 8% 9% 16% 1% 4% 22% 16% 0%
Contains more Calcium +60%
Contains more Magnesium +30%
Contains more Phosphorus +20%
Contains less Sodium -33.3%
Contains more Zinc +53.8%
Contains more Selenium +∞%
Contains more Iron +21.4%
Contains more Potassium +19%
Contains more Copper +61%
Contains more Manganese +54.4%

Oxalates

Bell peppers are slightly higher in oxalates than cucumbers. The Bell pepper oxalate content equals 10mg, while the oxalate content of cucumber is 4mg. Both are considered low-oxalate foods.

Glycemic Index

Cucumbers and Bell peppers are considered low-GI foodsThe GI value of Bell peppers is 32, and the GI value of cucumber equals 21

Acidity

Bell pepper is alkaline, having a PRAL value of -2.9, while cucumber is alkaline, with a PRAL value of -2.4

Health impact

Eye Health

Bell peppers significantly impact eye health due to their high content of vitamins and antioxidants, particularly vitamin A and carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin

Vitamin A, derived from the beta-carotene in bell peppers, is essential for maintaining good vision, especially in low-light conditions. Beta-carotene is converted into retinol, a form of vitamin A, which is a component of rhodopsin, a protein in the eyes that absorbs light (1). Furthermore, lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids present in bell peppers, are known to filter harmful blue light and protect the retina. Studies have shown that these carotenoids accumulate in the retina, where they help to prevent oxidative stress and inflammation, thereby reducing the risk of chronic eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration (2).

Diabetes

Bell peppers and cucumbers can positively impact diabetes management due to their nutritional profiles and low glycemic index. A study suggests that the antioxidant properties of bell peppers may improve insulin sensitivity and glycemic control in diabetic patients (3). Furthermore, the fiber content in bell peppers aids in slowing down glucose absorption, helping maintain stable blood sugar levels.

Cucumbers also benefit diabetes management. They are high in water and contain compounds like cucurbitacins and lignans with anti-inflammatory and antidiabetic properties. According to a study, cucumber extracts exhibit hypoglycemic effects, which can help lower blood sugar levels (4). 

Article author photo Ani Harutyunyan
Education: General Medicine at YSMU
Last updated: May 24, 2024
Medically reviewed by Elen Khachatrian

Infographic

Cucumber vs Bell pepper infographic
Infographic link

Fat Type Comparison

Fat type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains less Saturated Fat -36.2%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +60%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +93.8%
50% 7% 43%
Saturated Fat: 0.037 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.005 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.032 g
45% 6% 48%
Saturated Fat: 0.058 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.008 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.062 g
Contains less Saturated Fat -36.2%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +60%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +93.8%

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the rightmost column. It displays the amounts side by side, giving a clearer understanding of the difference.
Cucumber Bell pepper
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in Glycemic Index ok
Lower in price ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal
Rich in minerals Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Cucumber Bell pepper Opinion
Net carbs 3.13g 2.94g Cucumber
Protein 0.65g 0.86g Bell pepper
Fats 0.11g 0.17g Bell pepper
Carbs 3.63g 4.64g Bell pepper
Calories 15kcal 20kcal Bell pepper
Starch 0.83g 0g Cucumber
Fructose 0.87g 1.12g Bell pepper
Sugar 1.67g 2.4g Cucumber
Fiber 0.5g 1.7g Bell pepper
Calcium 16mg 10mg Cucumber
Iron 0.28mg 0.34mg Bell pepper
Magnesium 13mg 10mg Cucumber
Phosphorus 24mg 20mg Cucumber
Potassium 147mg 175mg Bell pepper
Sodium 2mg 3mg Cucumber
Zinc 0.2mg 0.13mg Cucumber
Copper 0.041mg 0.066mg Bell pepper
Manganese 0.079mg 0.122mg Bell pepper
Selenium 0.3µg 0µg Cucumber
Vitamin A 105IU 370IU Bell pepper
Vitamin A RAE 5µg 18µg Bell pepper
Vitamin E 0.03mg 0.37mg Bell pepper
Vitamin C 2.8mg 80.4mg Bell pepper
Vitamin B1 0.027mg 0.057mg Bell pepper
Vitamin B2 0.033mg 0.028mg Cucumber
Vitamin B3 0.098mg 0.48mg Bell pepper
Vitamin B5 0.259mg 0.099mg Cucumber
Vitamin B6 0.04mg 0.224mg Bell pepper
Folate 7µg 10µg Bell pepper
Choline 6mg 5.5mg Cucumber
Vitamin K 16.4µg 7.4µg Cucumber
Tryptophan 0.005mg 0.012mg Bell pepper
Threonine 0.019mg 0.036mg Bell pepper
Isoleucine 0.021mg 0.024mg Bell pepper
Leucine 0.029mg 0.036mg Bell pepper
Lysine 0.029mg 0.039mg Bell pepper
Methionine 0.006mg 0.007mg Bell pepper
Phenylalanine 0.019mg 0.092mg Bell pepper
Valine 0.022mg 0.036mg Bell pepper
Histidine 0.01mg 0.01mg
Saturated Fat 0.037g 0.058g Cucumber
Monounsaturated Fat 0.005g 0.008g Bell pepper
Polyunsaturated fat 0.032g 0.062g Bell pepper

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Cucumber Bell pepper
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low Glycemic Index diet ok

People also compare

Vitamins & Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score

The summary scores indicate the extent to which this food can fulfill your daily vitamin and mineral requirements if you consume 3 servings, consisting of 100 grams of each (an approximation of 3 serving sizes).
Vitamins Daily Need Coverage Score
8%
Cucumber
32%
Bell pepper
Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
8%
Cucumber
9%
Bell pepper

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Sugar?
Cucumber
Cucumber is lower in Sugar (difference - 0.73g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Cucumber
Cucumber contains less Sodium (difference - 1mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Cucumber
Cucumber is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.021g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Cucumber
Cucumber is lower in glycemic index (difference - 11)
Which food is cheaper?
Bell pepper
Bell pepper is cheaper (difference - $0.1)
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)
Which food is richer in minerals?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.

References

All the values for which the sources are not specified explicitly are taken from FDA’s Food Central. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Cucumber - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168409/nutrients
  2. Bell pepper - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170427/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000-calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.