- Hot peppers are low in calories but high in vitamin C. They also contain carotenoids, lutein, lycopene, and zeaxanthin.
- Capsaicin (the compound that makes peppers hot) is anti-inflammatory and helps relieve headache and arthritis pain.
- Areas of the world with high consumption of foods containing capsaicin (such as South America) have fewer cases of intestinal, stomach, and colon cancers.
- A 2006 Cancer Research study found that capsaicin causes “cell death” of human prostate cancer cells and may inhibit prostate cancer cells to grow and multiply.
When you go looking for peppers, you will find that they come in many different shades including green, yellow, red, orange, and purple. WHFoods.org says that each color variety has its own health benefits. Yellow peppers have the most lutein and zeaxanthin carotenoids. Red peppers have the most lycopene and astaxanthin carotenoids. Orange peppers have the most alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and gamma-carotene. Purple peppers have the most anthocyanin flavonoids. If you want some visual help, check out this Peppers Guide.
It’s also important to note that while most peppers contain capsaicin, bell peppers do not have it. I love hot peppers but I find it hard to add them to my diet on a regular basis. The article on Mark’s Daily Apple recommended adding them to salads, egg dishes, salsa, stir fry, or chili. In addition, I found the following recipes that could be worth a try. Enjoy!
Chili Chili Bang Bang Poblano Salsa by ChefMD®
Jalapeno Chicken from Bon Appétit
Roasted Corn with Parmesan and Cayenne by Tyler Florence