You may not like the burning taste of spicy food but despite what you may have heard, eating them can do more than just make you sweat.
In fact, studies show that spicy plants like jalapenos peppers have many health benefits that make the discomfort of eating them worth it. If you are one of those people who love your extra spicy sauce and salsa; then this is good news for you.
While you may like eating spicy foods because you enjoy the taste, new evidence shows that peppers like jalapenos can improve the functioning of the respiratory, spinal, and immune system.
Nutritional Value of Jalapenos
Jalapenos are a type of green pepper that turns red when ripe. It is mostly grown in Mexico and it can be found in almost every traditional dish in the country. The heat of jalapenos pepper comes from their seeds; the flesh has a strong aroma and mild flavor (1).
Jalapenos are rich in many trace minerals that the body needs to function properly. The following is a list of nutrients you’d get when you consume 100 grams of jalapenos peppers (2):
- Calories: 30
- Fat: 0.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 6.3 g
- Protein: 1.3 g
- Fiber: 2.8 g
- Vitamin K: 9.7 mcg
- Vitamin C: 44.3 g
- Folate: 47 mcg
How Jalapenos Can Improve Your Health
Jalapenos Can Speed-up Your Weight Loss
1 cup of jalapenos pepper contains just 27 calories with a glycemic index load of 2. Which means you can enjoy it without thinking of your waistline. But low-calorie content is not this pepper’s only benefit for weight loss, they are also rich in capsaicin; a compound responsible for the spicy taste of all peppers (3).
Capsaicin can help you lose those stubborn pounds because of how it affects the fat storage system. Studies show that there are two types of fat storage system in the body. The first type of fat which is known as white fat is primarily used to store calories that the body does not need immediately. The other type of fat is brown fat which contains mitochondria and is rich in iron (4). According to research, the more white fat you have, the more calories your body stores. On the other hand, people who have higher levels of brown fat burn more calories than others.
While there are a few ways to activate your brown fat, studies show that staying in a cold environment is the best means of doing this. But do you really want to suffer yourself in the cold just to lose weight? Of course not. According to one paper (5), eating hot peppers have the same brown fat activating potential as being in a cold place.
In addition, studies show that adding spices to your meals will reduce the total amount of calories you consume per meal (6).
For improved weight loss, you can eat jalapenos peppers raw, cooked, or add it as spices to your recipes. If you don’t want to cook, you can buy an organic jalapeno pepper sauce instead.
Prevent Cancer Cells Growth
According to one study (7) carried out in the lab, capsaicin found in jalapenos can help to destroy over 40 different types of cancer cells. The best part is that it doesn’t affect healthy cells. Capsaicin can also help to prevent cancer by limiting the formation of free radicals and reducing the blood flow of tumor cells (8).
However, this research is still in its early stages. More evidence is needed to fully understand how capsaicin targets cancer cells and how it can be best used to treat this horrible disease.
Jalapenos Can Heal Your Pain
Even if you don’t like eating spicy foods, jalapenos can also benefit you. Studies show that rubbing capsaicin on your skin helps to temporally reduce pain by blocking its receptors. At first, you’ll feel a burning sensation but after a short while, it goes away along with the pain (9).
You can choose to use the jalapenos externally on your body or buy a pepper-based pain reliever cream like ZOSTRIX.
You should experiment with jalapenos because the evidence is not clear if it is best to rub it on the skin or to eat it for pain relief (10). Still, whatever you do, make sure you use only small quantities to see how your body reacts.
Jalapenos Protect You from Developing Stomach Ulcers
There are many causes of stomach ulcers which include the overgrowth of H.pylori bacteria in the digestive system, high levels of stomach acid, and restricted blood flow in the abdomen. People on NSAID pain relievers (like Advil), heavy smokers, and alcoholics are also at a higher risk of developing ulcers (11).
In the past, some people assumed that spicy food was one of the causes of peptic ulcers but research has proved them wrong. In fact, capsaicin in jalapenos can help to improve stomach health by preventing the spread of H.pylori bacteria (12).
However, if you already have a stomach ulcer or any digestive disorder, you should limit the amount of spicy food you eat to avoid complications.
Jalapenos are Good for Diabetics
Research says that eating just 5 grams of capsaicin daily helps to lower blood sugar. Even though this research is new, the result is promising (13). Diabetics experience a spike of glucose in their bloodstream after a meal, adding jalapenos to their diet might just help them avoid this.
Jalapenos are Anti-Bacterial Agents
In many cultures around the world, native people use herbs and spices to preserve food because of its anti-bacterial properties. Laboratory research has also shown that capsaicin is effective for reducing the growth of bacteria and fungi.
Consuming jalapenos which are rich in capsaicin can help you prevent infections like strep throat, tooth decay, and chlamydia that are caused by bacteria and yeast.
Also, jalapenos contain high levels of Vitamin C, which is a known antioxidant that can help to boost your immune system (14).
Don’t Hold Back on The Spice
While the evidence shows that jalapenos are packed with nutrients that can improve your health, you should not rush to eat a ton of it.
Make sure to eat jalapenos in moderation as too much capsaicin has been reported to cause heartburn, nausea, acid reflux, and diarrhea. Some people might also experience migraines after eating jalapenos because of their high levels of tyramine compound.
If you are not a regular pepper eater, then you should try adding one or 2 slices of jalapenos to your taco, salsa, chili sauce, or bread dip. You could also make pickled jalapenos which will go well with your burger recipes.
Regardless of whether you like spicy foods or not, eating a few slices of jalapenos daily will significantly improve your health and spice up your life.