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Jalapeno peppers not only add flavor and color to our food but they are also packed with nutrients. Owing to these nutrients, jalapeno peppers lead to a number of health benefits ranging from anti-cancer activity, to curing headaches and helping in weight loss.

Different varieties of jalapeno pepper are all rich sources of minerals and vitamins. Jalapeno peppers are particularly enriched with folate, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus and potassium. In addition to the nutritive richness of this vegetable, it has very low qualities of lipids and other fatty acid derivatives which makes it an ideal vegetable for regular consumption. Furthermore, the rich antioxidant reservoirs of jalapeno peppers lend them additional health benefits by counteracting the detrimental health effects of free radicals and resulting oxidative stress in the body.

Antioxidants in Jalapeno Peppers:

The vegetable not only owes its vibrant colors to the color pigments but the presence of these color pigments, known as flavonoids, also has antioxidant properties. These antioxidant activity rich flavonoids include lutein, crytoxanthin, zeaxanthin, alpha and beta carotene.

Antioxidants help the body fight against several diseases which emerge due to tissue damage as a result of oxidative stress. According to a study from the International Journal of Biomedical Science (IJBS), high concentrations of free radicals in the human body leads to damage at several levels including damage to the DNA molecule, cell membrane, proteins, lipids and lipoproteins. [1] The altered DNA structure in the body particularly gives rise to chemical carcinogenesis and increases the likelihood of certain cancer types. In addition to this, the incidence rate of inflammatory diseases of the respiratory system, cardiovascular diseases and neurodegenerative diseases is also increased by oxidative stress. However, the abundance of antioxidants in jalapeno peppers leads to the reduced likelihood of the onset of several health problems stated above which translates into better health, as signified by a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. [2]

Capsaicin in Jalapeno Peppers:

Jalapeno peppers are essentially a rich reservoir of an alkaloid compound popularly known as capsaicin. Along with being responsible for giving jalapeno peppers their spicy and pungent flavor, this compound has several health benefits associated to it. A study published in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition signified that the presence of capsaicin in consumed food reduces the risks of developing gastric ulcers. [3] Capsaicin present in jalapeno peppers inhibits acid secretion and simultaneously stimulates mucus and alkali secretion. Furthermore, it improved the gastric mucosal flow of blood which cumulatively helps in preventing the incidence of ulcers and also facilitates in healing gastric ulcers, if present. The chemical also triggers afferent neurons in the stomach and creates a protective shield against injury causing chemicals present in the digestive tract. According to a study published in British Medical Journal, the metabolism boosting ability of capsaicin helps maintain good health by helping in weight loss by stimulating brown fat and burning calories. [4] Capsaicin rich foods such as jalapeno peppers manifest anti-diabetes activity alongside lowering the risk rate of atherosclerosis, cardiovascular diseases, stroke and hypertension. The goodness of this bioactive molecule further benefits the human body by acting as pain-relieving anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory agent. [5]

Vitamins in Jalapeno Peppers:

Being a rich source of essential vitamins also results in several health benefits which are attributed to the consumption of jalapeno peppers. The significance of vitamin A for health promotion cannot be negated as it serves several functions in the body including optimal functioning of the human eye and the visual system, promoting proliferation and specialization of epithelial cells, improving growth and development of the body. Vitamin A also fortifies the immune system and protects against pathogen invasion. For women in their reproductive age, vitamin A serves even more health benefits by supporting the healthy growth of maternal and fetal tissues for successful completion of pregnancy. The health benefits of this vegetable are further increased by the presence of vitamin C which has potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immunity fortifying activities. In addition to this vitamin C also facilitates the synthesis of collagen in the body which is an essential structural protein. It is important for the body to produce collagen in adequate quantities for the formation of connective tissues, strengthening skin, bones and muscles of the body. The health benefits of vitamins from jalapeno peppers are increased due to the presence of vitamin K in the vegetable that helps in improving bone density and lowering the likelihood of fractures in people who suffer from osteoporosis, as observed by a study published in the Journal Nutrition. [6]

Minerals in Jalapeno Peppers:

As indicated earlier, jalapeno peppers are rich in minerals which undoubtedly are of immense significance for maintaining good health. Calcium content in jalapeno peppers helps people attain optimal bone density and bone mineral absorption. It is also essential for good dental health. Otherwise, low calcium intake leads to bone fragility and compromised condition of teeth. However, lack of calcium goes on to disrupt the regulation of fat accumulation in the body and leads to increased adiposity and subsequent weight gain. Being a rich source of magnesium helps jalapeno peppers maintain a balance in mineral utilization in the body and prevent chronic health problems. [7] It is particularly essential for maintaining an optimal muscle function, strengthening bones, keeping the neural system functionality normal, strengthening immunity, regulating blood glucose levels and stabilizing the heart rate. The iron component of the vegetable helps against iron deficiency and anemia while assuring that the flow of oxygen-rich red blood cells in the body is normal. The presence of phosphorus leads to increased health benefits, including growth and repair of body tissues, proper utilization of energy reserves, improved waste filtration and excretion from kidneys and proper bone and teeth development. Moreover, as jalapeno peppers are a good source of potassium, they also help to maintain good health by helping to improve cardiac function and digestion.

Jalapeno peppers, as a part of a healthy diet, can help to improve your health, be sure they are organic to avoid the added pesticides and chemicals.

References:

  1. Free Radicals, Antioxidants in Diseases and Health: International Journal of Biomedical Science (2017). Retrieved 2 March 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3614697/pdf/IJBS-4- 89.pdf
  2. com. Retrieved 2 March 2017, from http://www.nutritionjrnl.com/article/S0899 9007(01)00709-2/abstract
  3. Satyanarayana, M. (2017). Capsaicin and Gastric Ulcers. Retrieved 13 March 2017, from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1040-830491379236
  4. McCarty, M. & DiNicolantonio, J. (2017). Capsaicin may have important potential for promoting vascular and metabolic health: Table 1. Retrieved 13 March 2017, from http://openheart.bmj.com/content/2/1/e000262
  5. CLARK, R. & LEE, S. (2017). Anticancer Properties of Capsaicin Against Human Cancer. iiarjournals.org. Retrieved 13 March 2017, from http://ar.iiarjournals.org/content/36/3/837.long
  6. Vitamin K and bone health. (2017). com. Retrieved 13 March 2017, from http://www.nutritionjrnl.com/article/S0899-9007%2801%2900709-2/abstract
  7. Magnesium in Hypertension, Cardiovascular Disease, Metabolic Syndrome, and Other Conditions: A Review – Jan 06, 2017. (2017). sagepub.com. Retrieved 13 March 2017, from http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0884533608314533
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