Capsicum is a wonderful and versatile spice that has a variety of health benefits, including relief from stomach issues, back pain, muscle spasms, headaches, and skin aging.
It might have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that may also provide relief from pain related to arthritis. They are a wonderful source of vitamins A and C along with many other nutrients.
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What is Capsicum?
The term “capsicum” can have different connotations. The botanical definition: A member of the genus Capsicum. The fruits of this genus are called chilies.
Depending on where you live, they might be called bell peppers or hot capsicum in certain parts of the world, but a general term for this type would be the chili pepper. The spicier versions of these plants can refer to hot chilies or just red peppers.
Capsicum comes in dried form, as a spice and chili pepper. They can be used to add a bit of heat to dishes or make sauces. Capsicum is also called paprika in other parts of the world.
The dried variety can be found either as whole fresh peppers or in small doses as one spice or flavor. Some people might opt for the fresh variety because they believe that it provides the most benefits; however, capsicum should still be considered a time-saving food with many health benefits.
Capsicum Nutrition Facts
Some research suggests that capsaicin, the molecule responsible for making chilies hot and spicy, could have benefits to your health.
Eating chilies and their fruits can provide you with nutritional value like vitamin C, which has anti-inflammatory properties, and vitamin A, which helps skin function properly. There are also a number of bioactive compounds found in the fresh fruit including flavonoids, alkaloids, and tannins that can have similar effects.
Health Benefits of Capsicum
Capsicum is a fruit, but science tells us it’s also the name of a chemical found in red peppers! Over the years, many people–especially those with autoimmune disease–have been turned toward this nutrient.
Might be an Anti-inflammatory Agent
One study shows that capsicum (capsaicin) might produce a cooling effect on the skin and is antinociceptive by activation of certain cells. Another example of peripheral neurogenic inflammation in cutaneous pain of the skin is an inflammatory response of nerve endings in the skin.
One study showed creams and balms with capsicum are able to be applied topically to help fight back pain without getting into the eye or mucous membranes. The burning effect felt when applying this vegetable helps activate sensation.
May Form Mucilage
Capsicum might contain tannins. Tannins are astringent, and they can be considered beneficial when treating gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea, dysentery, and other microbial disorders.
Gastric mucilage may protect the gastric lining and may prevent related diseases. Some studies suggest that it may act as a mucilage by increasing production of stomach mucus and could help treat peptic ulcer disease.
Might Improve Cardiovascular Health
There has been recently more research conducted on the possibility of flavonoids as a benefit for preventing heart disease.
This 2017 research says that people who regularly eat hot red chili peppers have a lower risk of mortality (almost 13 percent) than those who do not, solely due to its possible preventive effect against obesity and cardiovascular diseases. It was found that this could be mainly due to the anti-inflammatory properties of these spices.
Can be an Antioxidant Agent
The bioactive compounds of capsicum are rich in antioxidants that may provide protection against damage caused by oxidation. Vasodilatation might allow the phytochemicals to circulate through the body, which might provide protection against DNA damage.
May Manage Diabetes
The potential health benefits of capsicum are limitless. Capsicum, like other chilies, may be a source of capsaicin. It has been known to possibly have a positive effect on obesity and diabetes.
A 2017 animal study showed some of the possible antidiabetic properties obtained from this plant, but more than one component of this vegetable could have been responsible for the lower glucose levels in cases of type 1 diabetes. Another study also recommends the screening of capsicum as part of the dietary management of type 2 diabetes and associated comorbidities.
Might Boosts Immunity
Capsicum fruits might have antioxidant properties, including compounds that may help the immune system and fight oxidative stress. In addition, research reveals that different species of capsicum might have antimicrobial properties. The extracts can also be effective against Helicobacter pylori and Listeria monocytogenes.
The antioxidant effect of vitamin C in chili peppers has been studied and may help alleviate skin conditions and prevent the aging process. However, it is vital that you avoid contact with your eyes or other exposed mucous membranes.
May Relieve Menopausal Symptoms
Folk medicine has thought that menopausal symptoms could be relieved by the consumption of red chili peppers, such as capsicum. While there isn’t a lot of research supporting this, it anecdotally helps some women.
Be aware: It is important to avoid touching your eye or bodily mucous membranes when preparing peppers because it could lead to issues if you touch these sensitive areas. Wash your hands well afterwards to avoid transferring volatile oils containing capsicum onto these sensitive areas.