The two active components called capsaicin and capsicidin found in all peppers are responsible for the many health benefits of Capsicum. Capsicum is better known as pepper – cayenne, paprika, bell peppers, sweet peppers, jalapeno, chilies, and pimientos – and come in many colors, forms and sizes. Only bell peppers do not contain capsaicin among the peppers, yet it has much phytonutrients. The other essential nutrients are the phytonutrients (Carotenoids, Flavonoids, Hydroxycinnamic Acids), proteins, fats, vitamin A, vitamin C, Capsaicinoid oleoresin, provitamins E, B-vitamins, steroidal alkaloidal glycosides and scopoletin. The most notable health benefits of Capsicum are:
- The most impressive of the Capsicum nutrients are antioxidant that are largely due to high concentrations of carotenoids, Vitamin A, vitamin C and manganese. These neutralize the free radicals to prevent early onset of age-related diseases particularly on cells, blood vessels and nerves.
- Capsicum is effective in preventing the increase in cholesterol and triglyceride levels, just one of the wonderful benefits of capsicum for the body. This is achieved by deliberately slowing down uptake of fats and its assimilation in the alimentary canal. Vitamin C also prevents blood clot formation thus cardiac attacks and strokes are effectively prevented.
- Capsicum causes speeding up of metabolism. It is believed to be useful in weight management and in preventing obesity.
- Because of the laxative effects of Capsicum, gastric secretions is enhanced thus making digestion better, detoxification improved, and the absorption of nutrients more efficient.
- Capsicum lowers the blood sugar level.
- Capsicum can relieve chronic rhinitis.
- Cancer can be prevented by capsaicin in capsicums by suppressing oncogene formation. This is accomplished by cutting off the oxygen supply to the growing cancer cells.
- Pain caused by sore muscles, arthritis, rheumatism, sprains and the like can be eased by capsicum in liniment formulations.
- Capsicum has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic capacities that are related to its vitamin C and the flavonoids. Dermal infections because of fungi and food poisoning can be treated by Capsicum.
- It has analgesic properties. Pain is blocked as it is transmitted towards the spinal cord from the point of application in the skin.
These gorgeous little things pack a lot of fire as claimed by the many benefits of capsicum presented. A pepper a day will certainly keep the doctor out of the way.