What is the health benefits of hot peppers / chillies?
The nutrition facts for 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of raw, fresh, red chili peppers are:
Protein: 0.3 grams
Carbs: 1.3 grams
Sugar: 0.8 grams
Fiber: 0.2 grams
Fat: 0.1 grams
Here are the main bioactive plant compounds in chili peppers:
Capsanthin. The main carotenoid in red chili peppers — up to 50% of the total carotenoid content — capsanthin is responsible for their red color. Its powerful antioxidant properties may fight cancer.
Violaxanthin. The major carotenoid antioxidant in yellow chili peppers, violaxanthin accounts for 37–68% of the total carotenoid content.
Lutein. Most abundant in green (immature) chili peppers, lutein’s levels decrease with maturation. High consumption of lutein is linked to improved eye health.
Capsaicin. One of the most studied plant compounds in chili peppers, capsaicin is responsible for their pungent (hot) flavor and many of their health effects.
Sinapic acid. Also known as sinapinic acid, this antioxidant has a variety of potential health benefits.
Ferulic acid. Similarly to sinapic acid, ferulic acid is an antioxidant that may help protect against various chronic diseases.
Capsaicin is being studied as an effective treatment for sensory nerve fibre disorders, including pain associated with arthritis, psoriasis, and diabetic neuropathy.
Natural pain relief
Topical capsaicin is now a recognised 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.
Red chilli 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.
Capsaicin not only reduces pain, but its peppery heat also stimulates secretions that help clear mucus from your stuffed up nose or congested lungs.
The bright colour of red chilli peppers signals its high content of beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A. Just two teaspoons of red chilli peppers provide about six percent of the daily value for vitamin C coupled with more than 10 percent 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 defence against invading pathogens.
All that heat you feel after eating hot chili peppers takes energy—and calories to produce. Even sweet red peppers have been found to contain substances that significantly increase thermogenesis (heat production) and oxygen consumption for more than 20 minutes after they are eaten.
In fact, studies show that 10 grams of red chili pepper can significantly increase fat burning in both men and women