Hot pepper: the benefits and the best recipes

With its spicy taste, chilli pepper gives an edge to your dishes, but also makes them very healthy. This small fruit of some plant varieties of the genus Capsicumin fact, it has been considered since ancient times an excellent natural remedy, as well as a powerful aphrodisiac due to the vasodilatory action it carries out on the peripheral circulation and which would make it an effective natural stimulant.
Why is eating spicy good for you? Discover with us the nutritional properties of pepperhis beneficial effects not recipes to taste it.

The nutritional properties of chili peppers

The spiciness of the chilli is due to the capsaicin, a substance which, in addition to giving it its unmistakable flavour, also gives it interesting nutritional properties. The content of capsaicin is more or less high depending on the variety: that’s why there are peppers, such as the Mexican JalapeƱo, which are medium hot and peppers that put a strain on the palate, such as the Carolina Reaper, one of the hottest according to the Guinness Book of Records. There is one Scoville scale from the name of the American chemist who created it, who classifies chillies according to their degree of spicinessto be consulted before purchasing to avoid surprises!

The characteristic color of the pepper, which can vary from yellow to green, from dark red to purple, testifies to its content of carotenoids, plant pigments with an antioxidant action. Even their quantity, and consequently the color, changes according to the degree of ripeness of the fruit.

But the nutritional identity card of chilli is also distinguished by the presence of other very beneficial components. As the food composition tables of CREA (Research Center for Food and Nutrition) point out, the fresh chilli brings vitaminsespecially the vitamin C (229 g per 100 g)e mineral saltsmostly potassium (230 mg per 100 g), with very few calories (just 30 per 100 g). In addition to carotenoids, it also contains other antioxidant substances such as i flavonoidsin particular luteolin and quercetin, from the family of polyphenols.

Let’s find out, then, what are the benefits that a touch of its spiciness in the dish can ensure for our health.

The health benefits of pepper

Many positive effects are attributed to chili peppers which make it a small concentrate of well-being. Let’s look at the main ones.

Ally of the heart

The chilli plays aantioxidant and anti-inflammatory action which makes it beneficial for the cardiovascular health. Many studies have associated regular consumption of chili peppers with a lower risk of heart attack and cerebrovascular diseasein addition to one reduction in the risk of death for heart attack and stroke.


The capsaicin contained in chili peppers is capable of stimulate the secretion of gastric juicesthus promoting digestion.

A boost for the metabolism

The chili has thermogenic propertiesthat is, it has the ability to produce heat in the body. Thanks to this feature it can help stimulate a somewhat slowed metabolism, creating favorable conditions for burning more calories. This, however, does not mean that it has the power to make us lose weight. In fact, the goal of weight loss can only be achieved with a low-calorie diet and regular physical activity: no food alone is able to have a slimming effect.

A shield against infections

The pepper is attributed aantimicrobial action which would make it useful for fighting and preventing infections.


Thanks to its capsaicin content, the chili would analgesic properties. This substance, in fact, has the ability to bind to some pain receptors present in our mouth, stimulating them to send an alarm signal to the brain, in response to the spiciness of the pepper, which leads it to release endorphins. These molecules, which act on our mood, cause us to perceive the spicy taste of chili peppers not as painful, but as pleasant. This phenomenon, said capsaicin desensitizationwould be the basis of the analgesic properties of chilli.

Protective against tumors

According to some studies, chili peppers play aanti-tumor action: would, that is, be able to induce programmed death of cancer cells e you limit the formation of new blood vessels that supply blood to the tumour and promote their growth.

Of course, these positive effects have been observed in studies where i active principles of chili pepper they were administered in the form of an extract, therefore in higher concentrations than those present in foods. A regular consumption of hot peppers it brings reduced quantities of these substances to our body, so the effects could be less marked. However, it is useful to use chili pepper regularly in the kitchen, because within a globally balanced and varied diet can help help us stay healthy. Moreover, flavoring foods with this spice can be useful for add less saltprotecting the health of the heart: a high consumption of salt, in fact, represents a cardiovascular risk factor.

Precautions for use and contraindications

Chilli pepper is good for you, but there are some situations in which it is better not to abuse it or avoid eating it. In high doses, in fact, capsaicin can irritate the mucous membranesso the consumption of chili is not recommended for those suffering from gastrointestinal disorders such as gastroesophageal reflux, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, gastritis, ulcers and haemorrhoids.

Pepper recipes

Except for these borderline cases, bringing this spice to the table is a very healthy habit and, fortunately, there are so many recipes with chilli, in Italy and beyond. In our country, many traditional dishes see the chili pepper as the protagonist, give them spaghetti with garlic, oil and hot peppers at penne pasta with arrabbiata saucedal devilled chicken garlic Spaghetti Alla Carrettiera. Also other gastronomic cultures, from Mexico with the famous chilli with beef to India with the salsa Chutneymake extensive use of chili peppers: here 10 dishes from the world of which this spice is an inevitable ingredient.

Discover others too recipes with fresh chilli in the “Ingredients” section of Buonissimo.

And, if extreme spiciness doesn’t scare you, try the Habanero pepper recipesone of the hottest peppers in the world!

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