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Chilli Peppers

This article is part of a larger article titled "100+ Healthiest Foods On Planet Earth."  Read it here.

Chilli Peppers Nutritional Information (per 100g)

Water: 87.7 g
Calories: 40 kcal
Protein: 2 g
Carbohydrate: 9.5 g
Dietary fiber: 1.5 g
Sugars: 5.1 g
Fat: 0.2 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.1 g
Vitamin C: 242.5 mg
Vitamin B1: 0.1 mg
Vitamin B2: 0.1 mg
Vitamin B3: 1 mg
Vitamin B6: 0.3 mg
Vitamin B9: 23 μg
Vitamin A: 59 μg
Vitamin E: 0.7 mg
Vitamin K: 14.3 μg
Calcium: 18 mg
Iron: 1.2 mg
Magnesium: 25 mg
Phosphorus: 46 mg
Potassium: 340 mg
Sodium: 7 mg
Zinc: 0.3 mg

Chilli peppers are a fiery spice and a fantastic accompaniment to many dishes. What you may not know, however, is that chilli peppers are also a great source of vitamin C and B6, a potent cancer-fighter, and an anti-inflammatory, with possible medical application to arthritis! Easy to put into almost any dish (provided you can take the heat), the chilli is a must have spice for anyone looking to make healthy food that still tastes vibrant and interesting.

Chilli peppers are a surprisingly good low-calorie option for getting some essential nutrients into your diet. 100g of red chilli peppers (2-3 chilli peppers) contains just 40 calories, but a huge 239% of your daily value (DV) of vitamin C. In fact as you’ll see using our healthy food finder, gram for gram, it has the highest amount of vitamin C compared to any other food on this list.

The surprises don’t stop there however. That same 100g of red chilli peppers contains 25% DV vitamin B6, 19% DV vitamin A, and 9% DV of potassium. Vitamin B6 is an essential nutrient in a number of areas of the body, but is particularly important to cognitive function. Vitamin A is fantastic for the long-term health of your eye, and potassium is fantastic for protecting your cardiovascular health. Couple that with some of the health benefits below, and chilli peppers start to seem like a powerful force for your health.

Chilli peppers also have a number of health effects, mainly due to something called capsaicin. Capsaicin is an active ingredient in chilli peppers, and a compound that produces that hot, burning feeling on your tongue that makes the chilli pepper so addictive. The hotter the chilli, the more capsaicin.

Capsaicin has a number of researched benefits, such as powerful anti-cancer properties. Studies done on capsaicin have shown that it successfully inhibits the growth of both prostate cancer cells and leukaemia cells by causing ‘apoptosis’ (cell suicide).

Eating capsaicin is not the only way that this may have a benefit, however. Applying it topically (onto the skin), has been shown to have some fantastic benefits for pain relief and fighting inflammation. For example, this study and this study both report positive effects on pain management of arthritis in patients.

This is significant for a number of people living with arthritis as there is no known cure, so alleviation of the symptoms is important for leading a pain-free life. Applications of capsaicin also may have positive effects on diabetic neuropathy (a complication of diabetes) and post-herpetic neuralgia (a complication of shingles), although the evidence is not conclusive.

Finally, capsaicin is important because of its benefits for cardiovascular disease, in particular its ability to lower cholesterol and improve circulation. The study above found that by giving hamsters on high-cholesterol diets capsaicin (and similar compounds called ‘capsaicinoids’), they had lower cholesterol levels and better circulation.

This is significant because high cholesterol and bad circulation greatly increase your chances of heart attacks, strokes, and coronary heart disease (the biggest killer in the developed world).