Benefits of Chili Pepper
A new study suggests that eating hot red chili peppers is linked to a 13% drop in overall mortality, specifically due to heart disease or stroke. The researchers examined national health and nutritional data from more than 16,000 Americans over a 23 year period and found that the consumption of hot red chili peppers delayed death among those who ate the spicy fruit.
Only one other study – conducted in China and published in 2015 – has previously examined chili pepper consumption and its association with mortality. Those who regularly consumed hot chili tended to be “younger, male, white, Mexican-American, married, and to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, and consume more vegetables and meats”. They also had lower HDL-cholesterol, lower income, and less education compared to participants who did not consume red chili peppers.
An explanation for why chili may delay mortality is far from clear, but the researchers believe it may have everything to do with the way the capsaicin – the principal component of chili peppers – affects the body’s Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels. Study authors Mustafa Chopan and Benjamin Littenberg say the capsaicin found in chili pepper is believed to play a role in cellular and molecular mechanisms that prevent obesity and modulate coronary blood flow.
It also possesses antimicrobial properties that may indirectly affect the host by altering the gut microbiota, Chopan and Littenberg say. “Because our study adds to previous findings, chili pepper – or even spicy food – consumption may become a dietary recommendation and/or fuel further research in the form of clinical trials,” Chopan said.
Chili Peppers Nutrition Facts
Fresh chili peppers are mainly composed of water (88%) and carbohydrates (9%).
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)|
|Vitamin B5 (Panthothenic acid)|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)|
Vitamins and Minerals present in Chili Pepper
Chili peppers are rich in various vitamins and minerals. However, since they are only eaten in small amounts, their contribution to the daily intake is very small.
Vitamin C in chili pepper: Chili peppers are very high in vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, important for wound healing and immune function.
Vitamin B6 in chili pepper: A family of B-vitamins, some of which have important functions in energy metabolism.
Vitamin K1 in chili pepper: Also known as phylloquinone, vitamin K1 is essential for blood clotting and healthy bones and kidneys.
Potassium in chili pepper: An essential dietary mineral that serves a variety of functions in the body. Adequate intake of potassium may reduce the risk of heart disease (2).
Copper in chili pepper: Often lacking in the Western diet, copper is an essential antioxidant trace element, important for strong bones and healthy neurons.
Vitamin A in chili pepper: Red chili peppers are high in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body.
Other Bioactive Compounds in Chili Pepper
Chili peppers are a rich source of spicy-hot capsaicin. They are also very high in antioxidant carotenoids, which are linked with numerous health benefits. Here are the main bioactive plant compounds in chili peppers:
Capsanthin in chili pepper: The main carotenoid in red chili peppers, responsible for their red color, and often accounting for up to 50% of the total carotenoid content. Its powerful antioxidant properties may act against cancer.
Violaxanthin in chili pepper: The major carotenoid antioxidant in yellow chili peppers, accounting for 37-68% of the total carotenoid content.
Lutein in chili pepper: Most abundant in green (immature) chili peppers, the levels of lutein decrease with maturation. High consumption of lutein has been linked with improved eye health (6, 7).
Capsaicin in chili pepper: One of the most studied plant compounds in chili peppers. It is responsible for their pungent (hot) flavor and many of their health effects.
Sinapic acid in chili pepper: An antioxidant, also known as sinapinic acid. It has a variety of potential health benefits.
Ferulic acid in chili pepper: Similarly to sinapic acid, ferulic acid is an antioxidant that may help protect against various chronic diseases.
Health Benefits of Chili Pepper
Chili Pepper can help keep eyes healthy
One tablespoon of chili pepper in vitamin A with 9 percent of the recommended need. Vitamin A is known for improving one’s eyesight and preventing night blindness and macular degeneration from developing as we age.
Chili Pepper help fight infections
Chili pepper contains 108 percent of the vitamin C daily requirements per tablespoon. Vitamin C is a powerful natural water-soluble antioxidant that helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and eliminates cancer-causing free radicals in the body.
Chili Pepper is great for keeping the hair and skin vibrant and strong
Adequate vitamin C intake does not only improve the immune system, can also create and maintain collagen, an important protein found in hair and skin.
Chili Pepper help decreasing blood pressure
Per tablespoon, chili pepper contains 145 milligrams of potassium. Also, chili pepper contains very little sodium with only 1.6 milligrams per tablespoon. This combination with folate also contributes to the reduction of hypertension and relaxes blood vessels, while maintaining proper blood flow.
Chili Pepper is loaded with B-Vitamin components
Chili pepper is a good source in B-vitamin complex elements, riboflavin and niacin (B3). Niacin has been known to increase an individual’s “good” cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems. A deficiency in niacin leads to Pellagra – a disease characterized by diarrhea, dementia, dermatitis, and insomnia, the inability to sleep.
Chili pepper is also a good source of folic acid or folate. Folic acid (B9) helps the body to produce healthy red blood cells and prevents anemia. It is also important for aiding rapid cell division and growth, such as during infancy and pregnancy. A deficiency of folic acid in pregnant women can lead to the birth of underweight infants and may also result in neural tube defects in newborns.
Chili Pepper can assist in red blood cell formation
Copper and iron are essential for the new blood cell formation. A deficiency in iron can lead to anemia, fatigue, and muscular weakness.
Chili Pepper can help improve cognitive functioning
The amount of iron in chili pepper leads to increased hemoglobin production and increases blood flow. Proper amounts of oxygen and iron in the brain lead to increased cognitive performance and a decrease in cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Chili Pepper can help Fight Inflammation
Chili peppers contain a substance called capsaicin, which gives peppers their characteristic pungence, producing mild to intense spice when eaten. Capsaicin is a potent inhibitor of substance P, a neuropeptide associated with inflammatory processes. The hotter the chili pepper, the more capsaicin it contains. The hottest varieties include habanero and Scotch bonnet peppers. Jalapenos are next in their heat and capsaicin content, followed by the milder varieties, including Spanish pimentos, and Anaheim and Hungarian cherry peppers.
Chili Pepper can help in Natural Pain Relief
Topical capsaicin is now a recognized treatment option for osteoarthritis pain. Several review studies of pain management for diabetic neuropathy have listed the benefits of topical capsaicin to alleviate disabling pain associated with this condition.
Chili Pepper is good for Heart Health
Red chili peppers, such as cayenne, have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol, triglyceride levels, and platelet aggregation, while increasing the body’s ability to dissolve fibrin, a substance integral to the formation of blood clots. Cultures where hot pepper is used liberally have a much lower rate of heart attack, stroke and pulmonary embolism.
Chili Pepper helps in boosting Immunity
The bright color of red chili peppers signals its high content of beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A. Just two teaspoons of red chili peppers provide about 6% of the daily value for vitamin C coupled with more than 10% of the daily value for vitamin A. Often called the anti-infection vitamin, vitamin A is essential for healthy mucous membranes, which line the nasal passages, lungs, intestinal tract and urinary tract and serve as the body’s first line of defense against invading pathogens.
Chili Pepper helps prevent Stomach Ulcers
Chili peppers can help prevent stomach ulcers by killing bacteria you may have ingested, while stimulating the cells lining the stomach to secrete protective buffering juices.
Chili Pepper Lowers the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Making chili pepper a frequently enjoyed spice in your Healthiest Way of Eating could help reduce your risk of hyperinsulinemia (high blood levels of insulin)—a disorder associated with type 2 diabetes.
Chili Pepper help in preventing Cancer
Capsaicin found in red chili peppers prevents the spreading of prostate cancer cells by a variety of mechanisms. Maybe, it works by inhibiting the expression of PSA (prostate specific antigen). Red chili peppers also help to prevent stomach ulcers by killing bacteria that you have ingested. As well, they stimulate the stomach lining cells to secrete defensive buffering juices.