The chili pepper is the fruit of plants from the genus Capsicum, members of the nightshade family, Solanaceae. Chili peppers originated in the Americas, but is cultivated in across the world like the Philippines, India, China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Spain, and Mexico. The substances that give chili peppers their intensity when ingested are capsaicin and several related chemicals, collectively called capsaicinoids.

Here are 7 health benefits of chili pepper:

1.     Chili Pepper can help keep one's eyes healthy.

One tablespoon of chili pepper in vitamin A with 9 percent of the recommended need. Vitamin A is known for improving one’s eyesight and preventing night blindness and macular degeneration from developing as we age.

2.     Chili Pepper can help individuals fight infections.

Chili pepper contains 108 percent of the vitamin C daily requirements per tablespoon. Vitamin C is a powerful natural water-soluble antioxidant that helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and eliminates cancer-causing free radicals in the body.

3.     Chili Pepper is great for keeping the hair and skin vibrant and strong.

Adequate vitamin C intake does not only improve the immune system, can also create and maintain collagen, an important protein found in hair and skin.

4.     Chili Pepper is perfect for decreasing blood pressure.

Per tablespoon, chili pepper contains 145 milligrams of potassium. Also, chili pepper contains very little sodium with only 1.6 milligrams per tablespoon. This combination with folate also contributes to the reduction of hypertension and relaxes blood vessels, while maintaining proper blood flow.

5.     Chili Pepper is loaded with B-Vitamin components.

Chili pepper is a good source in B-vitamin complex elements, riboflavin and niacin (B3). Niacin has been known to increase an individual’s “good” cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems. A deficiency in niacin leads to Pellagra - a disease characterized by diarrhea, dementia, dermatitis, and insomnia, the inability to sleep.

Chili pepper is also a good source of folic acid or folate. Folic acid (B9) helps the body to produce healthy red blood cells and prevents anemia. It is also important for aiding rapid cell division and growth, such as during infancy and pregnancy. A deficiency of folic acid in pregnant women can lead to the birth of underweight infants and may also result in neural tube defects in newborns.

6.     Chili Pepper can assist in red blood cell formation.

Copper and iron are essential for the new blood cell formation. A deficiency in iron can lead to anemia, fatigue, and muscular weakness.

7.     Chili Pepper can help improve cognitive functioning.

The amount of iron in chili pepper leads to increased hemoglobin production and increases blood flow. Proper amounts of oxygen and iron in the brain lead to increased cognitive performance and a decrease in cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

The five domesticated species of chili peppers are as follows:

  • Capsicum annuum, including bell peppers, wax, chili pepper, jalapeños, and the chiltepin.
  • Capsicum frutescens, including malagueta, tabasco and Thai peppers, piri piri, and Malawian Kambuzi.
  • Capsicum chinense, including the hottest peppers such as the naga, habanero, Datil and Scotch bonnet.
  • Capsicum pubescens, including the South American rocoto peppers.
  • Capsicum baccatum, including the South American aji peppers.

Additional Resources:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Sept. 13, 2014
Last updated: June 16, 2016

Sources from DoveMed

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