Are Jalapeños Good For You?

Are jalapenos good for you?

Jalapeños are a type of chili pepper that is often used in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine. But are jalapeños good for you? Jalapeños contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can benefit your health in many ways. This blog post will discuss the surprising health benefits of jalapeño peppers and how to include them in your diet.

What are Jalapeños?

The jalapeño is a versatile chili pepper that can be used in a variety of dishes. It has a mild to moderate level of spiciness, depending on how it is prepared. When fresh, the jalapeño is green, but it turns red when it is dried. 

Jalapeños are a popular ingredient in Mexican cuisine, and it is often used in sauces, salsas, and guacamole. It can also be used as a topping on pizza or tacos. In addition to its culinary uses, jalapeños have also been shown to have health benefits. 

Origins of Jalapeños

Jalapeño peppers are native to Mexico and were first cultivated by the Aztecs. Spanish explorers introduced them to Europe and North America in the 16th century.     

Nutritional Content of Jalapeños

Jalapeños are a good source of vitamins A, C, and E and carotenoids like beta-carotene and lutein. They also contain minerals like potassium and magnesium. In addition, jalapeño peppers are a good source of antioxidants.

Health Benefits of Jalapeño Peppers

Are jalapenos good for you?

There are many potential health benefits of jalapeño peppers. Some of these benefits include:

  1. Aid in weight loss   
    Many people think of jalapeños as being nothing more than a source of spiciness, but these flavorful peppers may also aid in weight loss. Several studies have shown that jalapeños and other peppers containing Capsaicin can actually increase metabolism. In one study, participants who took pills containing capsaicinoids burned 4-5% more calories each day. In addition to boosting metabolism, jalapeños may also help to decrease appetite. One study showed that participants who took capsules containing Capsaicin consumed 50-75 fewer calories daily. So, if you want to add a little flavor to your weight loss journey, don't forget the jalapeños!
  1. Cancer Prevention
    As mentioned above, Capsaicin is the substance that makes jalapeños hot. This same substance has also been shown to have strong anti-cancer characteristics and can destroy over 40 different types of cancer cells without hurting normal cells, according to laboratory research. Capsaicin prevents cancer by stopping cancer cell growth and division, reducing the creation of new blood vessels in the vicinity of cancer tumors, and preventing the spread of cancer to other parts of the body. However, human research has not yet duplicated the anti-cancer advantages seen in lab studies. More research is needed to determine if Capsaicin could be a potential cancer treatment.               
  1. Natural Pain Reliever
    Capsaicin was also found to have benefits as a pain reliever. Capsaicin inhibits pain receptors when applied externally, resulting in temporary numbness and the absence of pain.

    Capsaicin creams and patches are commonly used to treat shingles, diabetic nerve pain, and chronic muscle and joint pain. In one trial, administering a capsaicin cream to the joints of older persons with rheumatoid arthritis reduced pain by 57%. This cream was far more effective than the placebo cream. Capsaicin can be applied to the skin and used in patches or lotions.
  1. Good for the heart
    While it might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of heart health, there is some evidence that Capsaicin may offer some benefits. In particular, Capsaicin has been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels and prevent the spikes that can occur after high-carb meals. Additionally, Capsaicin has been found to reduce cholesterol and lipid levels in animals, though human trials have yet to be conducted. Finally, Capsaicin has also been shown to help lower blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels. 
  1. It may help prevent stomach ulcers
    A common misconception is that eating jalapeños can lead to or worsen stomach ulcers. However, research has shown that Capsaicin may actually protect the stomach from ulcers forming in the first place. In those with H. pylori infections, a common bacteria-causing stomach ulcer, Capsaicin can help lower gastrointestinal inflammation and potentially aid in eliminating the infection. However, it is unclear if the amount of Capsaicin in jalapeños is sufficient to have this effect. Chili peppers can also help minimize stomach damage caused by NSAID pain medications and alcohol abuse.
  1. May help fight infections
    Herbs and spices have been used in cooking for centuries, and there is good reason for this. Not only do they add flavor to food, but they also help prevent spoilage and sickness. Chili peppers, for example, contain compounds that can slow the growth of common foodborne bacteria and yeasts. In addition, chili extracts have been shown to inhibit the production of toxins by cholera bacteria. Capsaicin can help prevent diseases other than food poisonings, such as strep throat, bacterial tooth decay, and chlamydia. So the next time you reach for the salt shaker, remember that spices can do more than make your food taste better—they can also help keep you healthy.

How to Include Jalapeños in Your Diet

Are jalapenos good for you?

Jalapeño peppers can be eaten fresh, cooked, or pickled. They can be added to various dishes, such as salsa, guacamole, chili, soup, eggs, and more. When buying jalapeños, look for firm peppers with smooth skin. Avoid peppers that are soft or have blemishes.

If you're not used to eating spicy food, start with a small amount of jalapeños and gradually increase the amount you eat. You can also remove the seeds from the pepper to make it less spicy.

Jalapeños are a healthy addition to any diet. Try adding them to your favorite recipes or eating them on their own for a tasty and nutritious snack.

Takeaways

So are jalapeños good for you? Jalapeños are a healthy option packed with nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They offer many potential health benefits, such as boosting immunity, improving heart health, and reducing inflammation. You can easily add jalapeños to your diet using several methods mentioned above. Start with a small amount if you're not used to eating spicy food.