The Nutritional and Health Benefits of Integrating Jalapeño Pepper into Your Diet

If you like spicy meals, you’ll love jalapeño peppers. Jalapeños are spicy chili peppers from the hot pepper family. These small chilly peppers may be red or green in color, and they’re moderately spicy.

Jalapeños are prominent ingredients of Mexican cuisine but have grown to be used in various dishes worldwide. In addition to being spicy, jalapeños are packed with nutrients, and they offer numerous health benefits.

In this article, we’ll review the nutritional composition and health benefits of jalapeño peppers and ways to add them to your diet.

The Nutritional Composition of Jalapeños

Jalapeño peppers contain very few calories but are packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

One raw jalapeño pepper contains the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 4
  • Fiber: 0.4 g
  • Carbs: 1 g
  • Protein 0.1 g
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Vitamin C: 10% of the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin B6: 4% of the RDI
  • Vitamin A: 2% of the RDI
  • Vitamin K: 2% of the RDI
  • Folate: 2% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 2% of the RDI

Like most fruits and veggies, Jalapeños are rich in fiber. They also contain vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant to help you fight free radical damage and keep your skin healthy. Moreover, jalapeños are rich in capsaicin, an alkaloid that gives peppers their characteristic spicy quality. Capsaicin is responsible for many of jalapeño’s health benefits.

The Health Benefits of Jalapeños

Some of the health benefits of eating jalapeño pepper include: 

Weight Loss

Jalapeños are great for anyone trying to lose weight. These chili peppers promote weight loss by boosting metabolism, increasing fat burn, and reducing appetite.

Several studies have found that capsaicin and other similar compounds called capsaicinoids, which are found in jalapeño peppers, help boost metabolism by up to 5% daily, making it easier to lose weight.

In addition to promoting metabolism, capsaicinoid supplements can help reduce abdominal fat and appetite. These weight loss effects do not apply to only jalapeños but to all chili peppers.

Anti-cancer Effect

Lab studies show that jalapeño can help fight cancer. It can kill over 40 types of cancer cells without damaging other functional cells. Capsaicin, once again, is responsible for jalapeño’s anti-cancer properties. 

Capsaicin stops the growth and division of cancer cells while slowing the formation of new blood vessels around cancer tumors. It also prevents cancer from spreading to other areas of the body.

However, one study shows that the dosage of capsaicin matters. Researchers claim that high doses can help slow the spread of cancer, while low doses encourage it. Further studies are required to understand the relationship between capsaicin consumption and cancer risk.

Prevents Stomach Ulcers

Stomach ulcers are commonly due to factors such as high levels of stomach acid, low blood flow to the stomach, and the growth of H. pylori bacteria within the stomach.

Although there is a widespread belief that spicy foods like jalapeños can aggravate stomach ulcers, research has shown this is false. On the contrary, jalapeño peppers may prevent stomach ulcers.

Jalapeño’s beneficial effect against ulcers is due to capsaicin, which prevents stomach inflammation in people with H. pylori and helps kill off the infection. Furthermore, jalapeños and other chili peppers can help reduce the stomach damage caused by the overuse of NSAID pain relievers and alcohol.

Serves as a Pain Reliever

Capsaicin has pain-relieving benefits when used externally. It soothes pain by temporarily blocking pain receptors when applied to the skin. You will initially feel a burning sensation in that area, but this will be followed by numbness, and the pain will disappear.

Several lotions and patches made out of capsaicin are used to relieve chronic muscle and joint pain.

One study found that older adults with rheumatoid arthritis enjoyed pain relief after applying capsaicin cream to their joints. This treatment was more effective than a placebo cream.

Although capsaicin is effective at treating pain when applied externally, it remains to be seen whether eating jalapeño peppers, which are rich in capsaicin, has the same effect.

Helps Fight Infections

Studies have found that jalapeños and other spicy chili peppers contain compounds that can help slow the growth of foodborne bacteria and yeasts. Chili extracts can prevent cholera bacteria from producing toxins and reduce the impact of several bacterial foodborne diseases.

New research shows capsaicin may also help prevent infections like bacterial tooth decay, chlamydia, and strep throat.

How to Add Jalapeños to Your Diet

You can eat jalapeño peppers raw, smoked, or cooked. Some people even make dried or powdered pepper out of them. To enjoy jalapeños, add them to salads or cook them in main dishes. You can also blend jalapeño peppers into smoothies. However, eating jalapeños may result in a temporary burning sensation due to their spiciness. It’s best to start with low quantities of chilies and increases your intake as your spice tolerance rises.

Bottom Line

Jalapeño pepper offers a range of nutritional and health benefits that make it an excellent addition to any diet. Its spicy flavor makes it an excellent way to spice up your meals, and its impressive nutrient profile can help you meet your daily nutritional needs.