Chili Nutrition

Red and green chili peppers are used to spice up any dish and can be found throughout the year. They are popular in Mexican and Asian cooking. Pepper extract is also used in medicine as a topical pain treatment.

The health benefits of chili are amazing and help to decrease major health issues. Learning the facts about chili can empower you to improve your health and life by adding this wonder food to your diet.


Chili Nutrition

1. Vitamin C and Collagen

Like all colorful fruits and vegetables, fresh red and green chili peppers are rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants. The amount of antioxidants in your body is an important factor that helps improve your health and repair damage caused by free radicals. Just 100 g of fresh chilies provides about 240% of the RDA of vitamin C. This vitamin is critical for collagen synthesis that maintains our skin, connective tissue, organs and blood vessels. Severe deficiency results in scurvy and allows infections to occur easily. Adequate vitamin C intake can boost immunity and help shorten the duration of common colds.

2. Antioxidants

Vitamin A is actually a group of powerful antioxidant substances called tocopherols. Chilies are rich in flavonoids such as carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin. Recent data shows that these substances are highly beneficial for skin health and have long been known to help protect eyesight.

3. Minerals

Potassium, iron, magnesium and manganese are important cofactors for a variety of body systems. Potassium is critical for muscle function and proper levels help regulate the cardiovascular system. Manganese functions as a cofactor for the antioxidant enzyme known as superoxide dismutase. Ensuring adequate intake keeps your body’s defense system up and running

4. B vitamins

B-complex vitamins are considered the power producers in the diet. They function as important parts of many enzymatic and digestive processes. Chilies are high in B vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine, riboflavin and thiamine. These are also known as B1 (thiamine) and B6 (pyridoxine). Riboflavin is B2. The body relies on external sources, such as chilies, to replenish supplies.

100 grams of chili peppers provides these amounts of the recommended daily allowances:

  • 32% of vitamin A
  • 39% of vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine)
  • 240% of vitamin-C (Ascorbic acid)
  • 14% of copper
  • 13% of iron
  • 7% of potassium
  • Zero cholesterol

Health Benefits of Chili

The health benefits of chilies are amazing and go beyond what many would expect from a small pepper.

1. Decrease Risks of Cardiovascular Diseases

Cholesterol and triglycerides are major contributors to heart disease and death. Cayenne is a major component of chili peppers and helps reduce both cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Chili peppers also help inhibit platelet function. Platelets are the sticky cells in the blood than can clump and block blood flow to the heart.

2. Reduce Inflammation

Inflammation plays an important role in many illnesses and disease processes. Combating inflammation is a proven way to prevent health problems before they develop. Chili peppers reduce inflammation and also relieve pain. Capsaicin is found in high concentrations in chili peppers and is used to treat a variety of painful conditions such as arthritis and shingles.

3. Improve Digestive Function

Cayenne has been shown to help prevent stomach ulcers and reduce their occurrence. Cayenne found in red peppers also helps stimulate digestion, eases stomach pain and decreases gas and bloating.

4. Maintain Bone Health

Chili peppers contain calcium and that helps maintain bone health. For those allergic to milk and dairy products, chili peppers are a good way to obtain calcium in the diet.

5. Other Health Benefits

  • Chili peppers help clear the sinus congestion that goes along with colds and allergies. The high beta-carotene content also helps boost immunity.
  • The capsaicin content has also been shown to decrease the spread of prostate cancer. The thermogenesis caused by chili peppers improves the metabolism and helps weight loss occur naturally. This in turn decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes.

How to Select and Store Chili

Always choose firm glossy looking peppers. Their color should be vivid and deep. Avoid wrinkled skins or soft feeling peppers. Make sure their stems are fresh looking and free of mold or fungus. Steer clear of peppers that have black spots on their skins. The same applies for dried peppers. They should still look vivid in color and smell good. Do not store in plastic bags as they may spoil faster. Wrap in a paper or store in a paper bag inside your refrigerator’s vegetable compartment.

How to Prepare, Cook and Enjoy Chili

If you are sensitive to capsaicin, wear kitchen gloves when handling and preparing. The oil can cause burning and discomfort. Wash your hands after handling and avoid touching your face or eyes. To decrease the capsaicin content, remove the seeds and inner fleshy white parts of the pepper. Chili peppers vary widely in hotness, so be sure to taste a small bite before determining how much to add to your cooking.

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