The first thing that probably pops into your mind when talking about chili peppers is the rock band that made their rise to fame in the late 1980’s, we’re talking about the actual chili pepper in this case. Chili peppers have been used in food for thousands upon thousands of years, dating back to what is now Mexico in 7500 BCE. That’s quite the staying power for a pepper that not many people can handle eating.
Most don’t consider chili peppers to have much nutritional value overall since they are considered a spicy food, but that’s not actually the case. Each chili pepper has many necessary nutrients that your body needs to keep going. If you can handle the heat, you’ll be seeing a lot of great health benefits from eating chili peppers. Let’s take a look at the nutritional breakdown and what those health benefits are.
Nutrition of Chili Peppers
While it might not be the easiest thing to eat one entire chili pepper, you’ll be bringing yourself a lot of nutrition if you can do so. With only 18 calories in each pepper, the nutritional value is quite high all things considered. It all starts with vitamin C, and each pepper has just over 100 percent of your daily recommended value, and there’s a small amount of protein and fiber to help you out, as well.
While other vitamins aren’t quite as abundant, you’re still getting around 10 percent of your recommended value in vitamin A, vitamin B6 and vitamin K. Chili peppers are also a decent source of folate and vitamin E. As for the minerals, the ones that register around five percent of daily needs include manganese, potassium, iron, copper and magnesium. Finally, there is no cholesterol, very little sugar and almost no fat in each chili pepper.
You may have noticed that one thing people are doing is mixing in chili powder into water while doing a cleanse to lose weight. This is a growing trend that a lot of people take to heart. Whether mixing it in your drink or eating chili peppers straight, you can find yourself losing weight easier. Studies have shown that those who eat chili peppers have a reduced overall appetite and eat fewer calories thanks to the capsaicin.
Not only that, but research has shown that chili pepper can also help your body burn fat, especially in stubborn areas such as the midsection. While it wasn’t the case for every patient in the studies, it was pleasing to see that many were having success. Just think about it, when you eat something very spicy, you probably just want to drink water for a while and not even think about food, right?
The most abundant vitamin that you find in a chili pepper is vitamin C, with your entire daily recommended value. That alone is going to help boost your body’s immune system, allowing you to fight off (or get through) many of the nagging illnesses that we see each year such as the common cold. It doesn’t just stop at minor illnesses, either, as chili peppers have a good long term effect on the body.
Chili peppers can help to eliminate your body of the free radicals that can cause serious diseases, including cancer. Many in the healthcare industry believe that capsaicin also has anti-cancer properties, especially for those at risk of prostate cancer. One study showed that mice that were given capsaicin saw a dramatic drop in their prostate cancer risks, something that we hope transfers to humans.
No Pain, No Gain
If you’re one of those people that finds eating a chili pepper to be painful because of the spiciness, it can actually help you in the long run. You aren’t actually being “burnt” though it can feel like it, and it causes your body’s pain receptors to activate. After eating enough chili peppers over time, your body will get used to the pain, and thus lowers your body’s pain receptors so that minor aches or injuries won’t be as devastating.
It’s an interesting side effect that many have found to be beneficial, and it even helps people with heartburn. Though it can make things feel worse at the start, those that had more chili peppers over time found themselves in less pain than when they started. Though there is a different effect for everyone, it’s one of the more fascinating studies that we’ve seen.
After eating a chili pepper, your face might turn red and probably even start to sweat, but you’re getting an overall benefit to your skin over time. Chili peppers contain plenty of vitamin C that helps keep your skin healthy and glowing as it creates collagen to give your skin more elasticity. Some brave beauty experts even make face masks out of chili pepper powder, but DO NOT suggest that.
Chili pepper also has a benefit for your hair, as the antioxidants help to clear your scalp so that you can grow thicker and longer hair. Again, chili pepper shampoo is probably not a good idea, however. With an increased blood flow to go along with all of it, you’ll be looking great thanks to chili peppers.
Speaking of improved blood flow, that’s another thing that chili peppers can help with. There isn’t much sodium at all to be found in chili peppers, but a solid amount of potassium. That rare combination has been shown to reduce blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels. All in all, that will reduce your chances of hypertension and many other heart diseases.
Chili peppers have also been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides for a heart health bonus. Your body may create blood clots because of something known as fibrin. Capsaicin in chili peppers dissolves this compound, making your blood flow more efficiently.
As soon as you eat a chili pepper, you can probably feel your sinuses clearing out as your nose starts to run. Sinus headache, migraines and sinusitis can all be reduced from the capsaicin amount in chili peppers. While the headaches circle back to the pain relief portion we touched on earlier, the sinusitis problems are caused by too much mucus. Flushing out your sinuses is as easy as eating a chili pepper, which is a huge relief for those that have chronic sinus infections.
Summing it Up
This is the part where we point out the potential negatives about a superfood, but you can probably already guess what the biggest one is. Chili peppers can be hard to handle because of the capsaicin that can make you feel the heat, and eating too many can even burn taste buds. You’ll want to make sure that you can handle chili peppers, and also to wash your hands off after eating them. Scientists recommend eating a banana along with a chili pepper to get rid of the burning.
If you have digestive problems, you might also want to control your chili pepper intake as you can raise the stomach level by eating them. If you can handle the heat and aren’t allergic (or have asthma), chili peppers can be great for your body. Obviously, it’s not something that you want to eat everyday as the capsaicin could have some negative effects. However, they make a good part of an overall diet that some people even enjoy.