10 Health Benefits of Jalapenos
Most people are familiar with the ubiquitous and spicy jalapeno pepper. Renowned for their heat, they’re a popular adornment to things like nachos, tacos, salads, sandwiches and pizzas. However, jalapenos have more to offer than just their spice. They’re also a vast source of health benefits and can be used to remedy a number of common ailments.
Health Benefits of Jalapenos
Excellent Source of Vitamin C – Hot peppers like jalapenos boast some of the highest concentrations of vitamin C found in food and are an even better source than citrus fruits and leafy greens. As an antioxidant, one of vitamin C’s main purposes is to neutralize free radicals and fix the damage they’ve wrought. Another role that it plays is in the health and structural integrity of skin, connective tissues and joints. The body cannot produce collagen without adequate vitamin C, which leaves these tissues susceptible to damage and slow to heal. Vitamin C is also an essential part of bone health. Other bone minerals like calcium, magnesium and phosphorous cannot be utilized without it.
Anti-inflammatory – Capsaicin, the chemical that makes jalapenos hot, is a potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic. It reduces pain and swelling as well as NSAIDs, but without the risk to your liver, kidneys and stomach. Eating jalapenos regularly will help to eliminate chronic inflammation that can lead to health problems such as cancer, autoimmune disorders, a weak immune system and high cortisol.
Fat Burner – Out of all of the foods said to accelerate weight loss, few may be as beneficial as jalapenos. The capsaicin contained within causes a temporary, but very effective, boost in metabolism. This occurrence is known as thermogenesis and it can give an average increase of 8 percent over a period of three hours. You can get the most out of this by eating some jalapenos right before visiting the gym.
Digestive Aid – Jalapenos and other hot peppers have been used in ancient medical systems across the globe for thousands of years as a general digestive tonic. Spicy foods stimulate the production and release of stomach acid and digestive enzymes, as well as the movements of the bowel. This hastens digestion, preventing food from lingering in the stomach and causing reflux or belching. Another benefit of this efficiency boost is that because your food is being more thoroughly digested, you also get enhanced nutrient absorption.
Blood Thinner – Eating a diet rich in jalapenos can help to reduce the strain on your heart by thinning your blood. This same effect also makes them good for preventing deep vein thrombosis, a potentially fatal condition wherein a blood clot forms in your arteries and may travel to the heart and lungs. People who are at risk for this condition include women taking birth control or hormone replacement, as well as people with sedentary lifestyles and those who travel frequently.
Antihemorrhagic – Although jalapenos are capable of preventing blood clots, they are just as capable of stopping bleeding. Blood flow from nosebleeds, cuts and other wounds will be slowed or brought to a halt within moments of ingestion. This makes jalapenos a useful thing to keep around if you have rambunctious children!
Soothes Ulcers – To most people, it seems counterintuitive to eat jalapenos with a peptic ulcer. However, they may be exactly what you need to heal. Over the counter ulcer medications come with a host of alarming risks. The capsaicin in jalapenos, however, is perfectly safe and works by causing your stomach to coat the ulcer in mucus, protecting it from stomach acid. Furthermore, capsaicin even inhibits the growth of Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria responsible for causing peptic ulcers.
Sinus Decongestant – The next time you’re suffering from a head cold so bad that you can barely breathe, ditch the tea and curl up on the couch with a nice jalapeno pepper, instead. Most people who have eaten jalapenos have likely noticed that their nose begins to run. The heat from these peppers stimulates the sinuses, causing them to both produce and flush mucus. The relief of your sinus congestion can also reduce headaches, help you sleep more comfortably at night and make the benefits of vaporizers more effective.
Supports a Healthy Heart – One way that jalapenos support a healthy cardiovascular system is by thinning the blood, which reduces the strain on your heart. However, they also work by reducing your cholesterol and triglyceride levels and providing vitamins that nourish the heart and blood vessels. Also, because jalapenos facilitate weight loss, strain on the heart is further reduced.
Anticancer – Jalapenos, like all peppers, are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and other beneficial compounds that have been shown to drastically reduce the risk of developing cancer. Their anti-inflammatory effects also contribute to their ability to prevent cancer.
Regardless of age, medical status or weight, jalapenos have something to offer you and your health. They’re delicious, inexpensive, widely available, highly nutritious, making them one of the most convenient and beneficial vegetables to have. The next time you’re eating a hot, gooey plate of jalapeno poppers, stop and think about all of the good you’re actually doing for yourself!