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Chili Peppers Pack a Healthy Punch

02-04-2016

Whether you’re cooking with a sweet chili pepper (banana pepper or bell pepper) or a more spicy variety (Serrano pepper or cayenne pepper), adding chili peppers to your grocery list can pack a healthy punch.

Chili peppers contain a variety of vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, copper, and potassium. In fact, one fresh medium sized green chili pepper has twice as much Vitamin C as a small orange.

Spicy members of the chili family contain capsaicin – an antioxidant that shows promise for both promoting health and giving our metabolism a boost. The amount of capsaicin contained within a pepper determines the pepper’s level of spiciness; the higher the capsaicin the spicier the pepper.

Chile peppers are thought to have originated in South America, but they have been cultivated all over the world for centuries, resulting in a wide variety of species with different colors, shapes, flavors, and of course, spiciness. While we often think of chili peppers as food they also have medicinal uses. Capsaicinoids, the chemicals that make chili peppers hot, are used in muscle patches for sore and aching muscles.

Fun Fact: Did you know that chili peppers are relatives of tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants? All of these plants are members of the nightshade family.

Categories: Healthy Eating