pepper health benefits | pepper uses and nutrition values
Pepper uses and health benefits,nutrition values
Sweet and Hot Peppers Peppers come in a beautiful array of colors and shapes. They add flavor, color, and crunch to many low-calorie dishes.
All fresh peppers are excellent sources of vitamins C, K, carotenoids, and flavonoids . Antioxidant vitamins A and C help to prevent cell damage, cancer, and diseases related to aging, and they support immune function.
They also reduce inflammation like that found in arthritis and asthma. Vitamin K promotes proper blood clotting, strengthens bones, and helps protect cells from oxidative damage.
pepper types – Red pepper :
Red peppers are a good source of lycopene, which is earning a reputation for helping to prevent prostate cancer as well as cancer of the bladder, cervix, and pancreas. Beta-cryptoxanthin, another carotenoid in red peppers, is holding promise for helping to prevent lung cancer related to smoking and secondhand smoke
Besides being rich in phytochemicals, peppers provide a decent amount of fiber. Significant differences in vitamin C were observed between cultivars, but not between species. On average, fruits contain between 1 to 2 g/kg vitamin C, which is equivalent to 200% to 300% of the recommended daily allowance for adult men and women .
The level of provitamin A carotenoids (α- and β-carotene) is cultivar specific. Some cultivars of hot pepper have as much as 12 mg/kg total carotenoids, while others are bellow the detectable level.
Major flavonoids in the peppers are quercetin and luteolin. They are present in conjugated form and their content varies among cultivars ranging from not detectable to 800 mg/kg .
When comparing the nutrient values of the different bell peppers, studies have shown that red bell peppers have significantly higher levels of nutrients than green. Red bell peppers also contain lycopene, which helps to protect against cancer and heart disease.
Possibly due to their vitamin C and beta carotene content, bell peppers have been shown to be protective against cataracts. Just like other nutrient-dense vegetables, bell peppers contain many different powerful phytochemicals. Bell peppers have also been shown to prevent blood clot formation and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes probably due to their content of substances such as vitamin C, capsaicin, and flavonoids.
Chili hot pepper :
Although chili hot peppers contain a higher amount of those substances, bell peppers should still be promoted especially for individuals with elevated cholesterol levels.
Hot peppers don’t have that spicy image for nothing. The major phytochemicals in hot peppers are capsaicinnoids. More than 20 capsaicinoids, belonging to two groups, capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin, have been identified in pepper.
Capsaicin was discovered in 1846 and its structure, as an acid amide, was elucidated by Nelson . Capsaicin constitutes about 70% of the pungent flavour in hot pepper, while its analogue dihydrocapsaicin represents 30% . The two groups differ in the presence or absence of double bonds in the fatty acid side-chain and within each group they differ in the length and branching point in the fatty acid side-chain.
Significant variations in the profile of capsaicinoids are found between and within pepper species, ranging from about 220 ppm (3400 Scoville Heat Units, SHU) in Capsicum annum to 20,000 ppm (320,000 SHU) in Capsicum chinense .
Hot peppers’ fire comes from capsaicin, which acts on pain receptors, not taste buds, in our mouths. Capsaicin predominates in the white membranes of peppers, imparting its “heat” to seeds as well. The capsaicin in hot peppers has been shown to decrease blood cholesterol and triglycerides, boost immunity, and reduce the risk of stomach ulcers.
It used to be thought that hot peppers aggravated ulcers. Instead, they may help kill bacteria in the stomach that can lead to ulcers. Capsaicin has also analgesic, anti-bacterial, and antidiabetic properties. Capsaicin is an ingredient in several commercial formulations formulation for the treatment of muscle pains, toothaches, burning-mouth syndrome, gastric ulceration, painful diabetic neuropathy, postmastectomy pain syndrome, and osteo- and rheumatoid-arthritis.
It is also prescribed for bladder hypersensivity, vasomotor rhinitis, and hyperreflexia of spinal origin. Chilli hot 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 B6 (pyridoxine), 32% of vitamin A, 13% of iron, 14% of copper, 7% of potassium . Fresh chili hot peppers, red or green, are rich source of vitamin-C. 100 g fresh chilies provide about 143.7 μg or about 240% of recommended daily allowance.
Chillieare also good in B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine (vitamin B6), riboflavin and thiamin (vitamin B1). These vitamins are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish. Chilli hot peppers contain good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium in 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. Both hot and sweet peppers contain substances that have been shown to increase the body’s heat production and oxygen consumption for about 20 minutes after eating. This is great news; it means our body is burning extra calories, which helps weight loss.
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