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Chili Peppers Nutrition Facts

A chili pepper is part of the capsicum species and is generally a smaller, hotter type of this fruit. Chili peppers are grown worldwide, however, they originate from the Americas and have been used in both cuisine, as foods and spices, as well as in medicine.

There are many various species, however, the most common are
  • Capsicum annum, which includes bell peppers, chiltepin, jalapenos and paprika.
  • Capsicum pubescens, which includes rocto peppers, a round chili pepper common in Peru and Bolivia.
  • Capsicum baccatum, which includes the aji peppers or also known as Peruvian hot peppers
  • Capsicum frutescens, which includes Tabasco and cayenne
  • Capsicum chinense, which includes habanero, naga and Scotch bonnet.

There are literally hundreds of ways in which to use and prepare chili peppers in the kitchen. The fruit is either eaten raw or cooked and added to various dishes to give it a red-hot flavor. The fruit can also be ground to form a dried, powdered spice, which may be sprinkled on various dishes. The leaves of the chili are often used in dishes such as tinnola, a type of chicken soup.

Chili peppers contain a substance called capsaicin, which gives peppers their characteristic pungency, producing mild to intense spice when eaten. Capsaicin is a potent inhibitor of substance P, a neuropeptide associated with inflammatory processes. The hotter the chili pepper, the more capsaicin it contains.

Capsaicin is being studied as an effective treatment for sensory nerve fiber disorders, including pain associated with arthritis, psoriasis, and diabetic neuropathy. When animals injected with a substance that causes inflammatory arthritis were fed a diet that contained capsaicin, they had delayed onset of arthritis, and also significantly reduced paw inflammation.

Red chilies are rich in vitamin C and provitamin A. Yellow and especially green chilies (which are essentially unripe fruit) contain a considerably lower amount of both substances. In addition, peppers are a good source of most B vitamins, and vitamin B6 in particular.

Chili peppers have a bad and mistaken reputation for contributing to stomach ulcers. Not only do they not cause ulcers, they can help prevent them by killing bacteria you may have ingested, while stimulating the cells lining the stomach to secrete protective buffering juices.

Author: Dimi Ingle.
Copyright: Remedium. This article may not be copied, in whole or in part, without the written consent of Remedium.

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