A-Z of Super foods: Jalapeno peppers

A-Z of Super foods: Jalapeno peppers

The jalapeno pepper – or chili pepper - in its natural state is full of zingy freshness and hot spice. It has plenty of superfood qualities too.

Though it’s not a flavour everyone can handle, the health benefits of the fiery jalapeno make it a great addition to any diet.

Capsaicin Content

Capsaicin is the main ingredient in jalapenos and is present in all types of pepper. It provides the intense spiciness of the jalapeno but it is also credited with a great many other properties.

It works as a cleansing agent which helps to fight congestion and bacteria build-up in your sinuses.

It is credited widely with speeding up the metabolism and suppressing appetite. It is also claimed to increase fat oxidation, which helps your body use fat as fuel more efficiently.

Strangely enough too, the “pain” associated with eating hot chillies (due to the capsaicin) also triggers the release of endorphins, so much like when you exercise, you can get a rush of those feel-good chemicals after a jalapeno-based snack or meal.

Vitamins and Minerals

Jalapeno peppers have high levels of vitamins A and C. 

They have an unusually high iron content as well as the ability to fight inflammation and reduce blood pressure.

They have also been heralded as a great food for fighting pancreatic and other forms of cancer, due to their levels of vitamin B6.

There are also high levels of beta-carotene and folate in jalapenos so they’re absolutely packed with goodness...if you can handle the heat.

Can’t take the heat?

Chopped finely and combined with other Mexican ingredients for a healthy burrito can help keep the hot spice of the jalapeno down.

Have sour cream or yoghurt on the side if you want to give a spicy recipe a go but need something to cool down your mouth afterwards.

Alternatively, a sweet drink like milk will help to combat the spicy taste. Water will make the heat worse so steer clear of the temptation to wash it down with a glug of water.

The health benefits of the jalapeno make the spice worth a shot!

 


The Author

Jessica Ward

Jessica lives in South West London. Boxercise, yoga, pilates, weight training and long distance running are her main interests.

Comments

Emma C.
30 September 2015

Emma C.

I tried to grow some of these this year but they only got to about 1cm long. but oh my goodness they're hot!! Knowing they're good for me too is great news.

Tanya M.
29 September 2015

Tanya M.

There are some meals that are so much better if you add a chilli or two - we never make tomato soup at home without the extra kick of jalapenos these days.

Trevor D.
29 September 2015

Trevor D.

Bring on the chilli! I understood that the metabolism kick is too tiny to worry about, but with a good strong chilli it certainly doesn't feel that way!

craig t.
29 September 2015

craig t.

I can vouch that milk definitely does help to lower the 'bite' of chillies. I didn't know they were so good for you though.

Mike D.
29 September 2015

Mike D.

Very interesting to hear that chillies release endorphins. I do love a very spicy curry and almost crave one sometimes. I wonder if this to do with the endorphins? Oh no - something else to be addicted to!

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