The health benefits of capsicum include relief from cancer, peptic ulcer, menopausal problems, low risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It has anti-inflammatory, analgesic properties and may also provide relief in pain related to arthritis. With the many varieties of chili peppers available, it is important to know that the capsicum content of each type of chili pepper varies and it is possible to get less heat and still receive the health benefits of the chili peppers active ingredient capsicum. Capsicum is contained both in the fleshy membrane of both sweet and hot peppers and in higher concentration the seeds. This natural fruit may be used fresh or dried as a culinary spice, added to teas, or taken in capsules to reap its many medicinal benefits.
Health benefits of Capsicum
1. Anti-inflammatory properties
The phytochemical constituents of capsicum are shown to produce an anti inflammatory response that proves to alleviate peripheral neurogenic pain such as related to Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory disease of the bowel. Another example of peripheral neurogenic inflammation is cutaneous pain of the skin. Its creams and balms are often massaged topically onto the skin with care taken to avoid open areas and mucous membranes. The burning effect of capsicum is felt when applied to the skin. This is caused by an inflammatory response of the peripheral nerve endings, but regular application deadens the sensory nerve endings which relieve chronic diabetic neurogenic pain. Some suggest that the anti inflammatory effect of capsicum may also help to alleviate pain related to arthritis. Its cream may be utilised as an option for treating this malady and many others .
Capsicum contains tannins. Tannins are astringent and often considered for their benefits when treating gastrointestinal disorders that produce diarrhea such as dysentery and other microbial disorders. Gastric mucilage acts to protect the gastric lining. A causative effect of peptic ulcer development is the breakdown of gastric mucilage which is causative of the ulcerations made with increased gastric acid contact with stomach lining. It works as a mucilage when ingested by increasing the production of gastric mucus. Increased gastric mucus and the anti inflammatory properties of capsicum may result in beneficial effects in the treatment of peptic ulcer disease, as many studies show. Another example of the reliability of capsicum in producing mucus that is more readily observable is that of increase nasal drainage when ingesting peppers with high concentrations of the heat producing phytochemical capsicum. Also for this reason, it is beneficial to avoid touching eyes and bodily mucus membranes during preparation of capsicum peppers and to wash hands thoroughly after preparation to avoid transferring volatile oils containing capsicum to these sensitive areas.
3. Chemopreventive properties
Another bioactive effect of tannin contained in capsicum molecule is in the prevention and treatment of cancer. Studies have shown that is has a inhibitory effect on many types of malignant cancer that is well documented. These anti tumor properties are most beneficial to treating pulmonary, hepatic, and gastric cancers. The anti oxidative effects of capsicum are showing a possibility of treatment for other types of cancer, such as certain hormone related prostate cancers. The anti-cancer effect of capsicum is determined by the bioactive ability of this phyto chemical to inhibit cancerous cell growth and also causes destruction of already damaged cellular structure in the human body.
Studies of flavonoids have suggested that they are beneficial towards preventing coronary heart disease. Capsicum is both warming and vasodilative. A suggested effect of the vasodilative properties of capsicum is the improvement of hypotension and decreased heart rate. Vasodilatation allows for improved blood flow resulting in better oxygenation of organ tissues. This is most likely due to the tachynikins, a known bioactive ingredient in capsicum.
5. Antioxidant properties
Many of the bioactive compounds of capsicum provide antioxidant effects. Improved vasodilatation allows for these antioxidant phyto chemicals to circulate through regions of the body that may already been effected as well as healthy tissue. This allows capsicum to have a beneficial effect in repairing tissue protein’s and possibly even DNA. As well, the healthy tissue receives protection from the antioxidant effect of the capsicum chili pepper.
With the world wide prevalence of diabetes, the consideration of capsicum as hypoglycemic medicinal has provoked research into this matter. Some studies have indicated, though not yet concluded that capsicum may stimulate insulin production which results in lower blood glucose. This would determine a possibility of capsicum to beneficial in preventing onset of type II diabetes and its potential complications. The hypoglycemic benefits of capsicum are most concentrated when the capsicum chili is green.
Capsicum contains vitamin C is valued as an immune supportive bioactive phyto chemical. Vitamin C has many beneficial effects on the immune system. It helps in repairing damaged brain tissues, reduced risk of oxidative stress, pediatric asthma, cancer and improved bone health.
Many clinical trial shown the effectiveness of Capsicum for treating symptoms of fibromyalgia when applied topically. Those using capsicum topically stated beneficial effects in reducing tenderness and improvement of sleep.
9. Diabetic neuropathy
A disease that often produces this type of neurogenic pain is diabetes. Capsicum is shown to have a beneficial effect on diabetic neuropathic pain when applied topically. Capsicum works to deaden cutaneous nerve endings and reducing the pain.
Many clinical trial shown the effectiveness of Capsicum for treating symptoms of fibromyalgia when applied topically.
11. Skin and aging
Vitamins in the capsicum chili pepper are shown to have an antioxidant effect on cell tissue which may improve skin and aging.
12. Menopausal symptoms
Menopausal symptoms may also be relieved by the consumption of flavonoid containing fruit such as the capsicum chili.