Chili peppers

Health benefits of chili peppers

 

Chili pepper contains an impressive list of plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties.
Chilies contain health benefiting an alkaloid compound in them, capsaicin, which gives them strong spicy pungent character. Early laboratory studies on experimental mammals suggest that capsaicin has anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic and anti-diabetic properties. It also found to reduce LDL cholesterol levels in obese individuals.
Fresh chili peppers, red and green, are rich source of vitamin-C. 100 g fresh chilies provide about143.7 µg or about 240% of RDA. Vitamin C is a potent water-soluble antioxidant. It is required for the collagen synthesis inside the human body. Collagen is one of the main structural protein required for maintaining the integrity of blood vessels, skin, organs, and bones. Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps protect from scurvy, develop resistance against infectious agents (boosts immunity), and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.
They are also good in other antioxidants such as vitamin-A, and flavonoids like ß-carotene, α-carotene, lutein, zea-xanthin, and cryptoxanthin. These antioxidant substances in capsicum help protect the body from injurious effects of free radicals generated during stress, diseases conditions.
Chilies contain a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
Chilies are also good in B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), riboflavin and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential in the sense that human body requires them from external sources to replenish.

Chili peppers have amazingly high levels of vitamins and minerals. Just 100 g provides (in % of recommended daily allowance):

240% of vitamin-C (Ascorbic acid), 
39% of vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine), 
32% of vitamin A, 
13% of iron,
14% of copper, 
7% of potassium,  
but no cholesterol. 

 

Medicinal uses

 

Chili peppers contain chemical compound capsaicin. Capsaicin and its co-compounds used in the preparation of ointments, rubs and tinctures for their astringent, counter-irritant and analgesic properties.
These formulations have been in use in the treatment of arthritic pain, post-herpetic neuropathic pain, sore muscles, etc.

Scientific studies on experimental mammals suggest that capsaicin has anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic and anti-diabetic properties. It also found to reduce LDL cholesterol levels in obese persons.

 

Safety profile

 

Chili peppers contain capsaicin, which gives strong spicy pungent character. Capsaicin when eaten causes severe irritation and hot sensation to mouth, tongue and throat.

Capsaicin in chilies initially elicits local inflammation once it comes in contact with the delicate mucus membranes of oral cavity, throat and stomach, and soon produces severe burning sensation that is perceived as ‘hot’ through free nerve endings in the mucosa. Eating cold yogurt helps reduce the burning pain by diluting capsaicin concentration and preventing its contact with mucosal walls.
Avoid touching eyes with chili-contaminated fingers. Rinse eyes thoroughly in cold water to reduce irritation.
Chilies may aggravate existing gastro-esophageal reflux (GER) condition.

Certain chemical compounds like aflatoxin (fungal mold), found in spoiled chilies have been known to cause stomach, liver and colon cancers.

 

Disclaimer

 

The information and reference guides in this website are intended solely for the general information for the reader. The contents of this web site are not intended to offer personal medical advice, diagnose health problems or for treatment purposes. It is not a substitute for medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. Please consult your health care provider for any advice on medications.