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Pepper: the right kind helps to lose weight and even prevents cancer

Pepper: the right kind helps to lose weight and even prevents cancer

Peppers are beneficial to the body because they have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anticancer activities, improve digestion, lower cholesterol levels and, for having thermogenic effect, ie accelerate metabolism, help you lose weight. But not all peppers bring this list of advantages. In order to reap such benefits, pepper must be of the genus Capsicum.

This group of peppers were already consumed by Brazilian Indians and throughout Latin America even before the arrival of Europeans in the New World. The main peppers of the genus Capsicum produced in Brazil are jalapeño, chili pepper, goat's pepper, cumari-do-Pará, chilli peppers, chilli peppers, finger-of-the-girl, murupi, pout and cambuci or frade hat. The amount of capsaicinoids in each of these peppers varies according to the burning of the fruits, the more spicy the more the amount of the active ingredient.

Main nutrients of the pepper

Nutrients -10 grams

Calories4.52 kcalCaloriesSuckSuckMurupiDe-bodeCumari-do-para
MalaguetaJalapeñoCalories4,52 kcal3.85 kcal6.31 kcal2.17 kcal4.66 kcal4.52 kcal
10.5 kcal5.5 kcalPhosphorus4 mg2.46 mg6.2 mg2.9 mg4.3 mg5.7 mg
10.8 mg4,4 mgPotassium39.7 mg35.1 mg49.6 mg22.2 mg37.9 mg34 mg
63 mg39 mgCalcium2.5 mg1.6 mg2.4 mg1.3 mg1.2 mg3.2 mg
5.9 mg2.1 mgVitamin C5.2 mg9.9 mg8 mg13.4 mg9.2 mg7.4 mg
-5.2 mgFiber0.9 g0.5 g0.86 g 0.9 g 0.9 g 0.9 g 0.9 g 0.9 g 0.9 g 0.9 g 0.9 g 0.9 g 0.9 g 0.9 gCheck the percentage of the daily value * of some nutrients for 10 grams of pepper.30% of vitamin C in Murupi pepper0.59% of calcium in Malagueta

1.5% of phosphorus in chilli pepper

6.36% of the fiber in chilli pepper.

  • * Daily reference values ​​for adults based on a 2,000 kcal or 8,400 kj diet. Your daily values ​​may be higher or lower depending on your energy needs.
  • Capsicum peppers are rich in vitamin C that increases the body's defenses, helping to prevent and combat infections such as the flu. It also acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing unstable free radicals that can cause damage to the body by accelerating cellular aging. In addition, this vitamin provides resistance to the bones and teeth and facilitates the absorption of iron in the body.
  • Another vitamin very present in these peppers is E. It is important because it is also an antioxidant and therefore acts slowing aging and still protects the body against non-communicable chronic diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
  • Carotenoids, the same plant pigment as carrot, are also present in peppers. They are good for the body because they turn into vitamin A. About half a tablespoon of dehydrated powdered young peppercorn powder can supply the daily requirement of vitamin A, which is 600 micrograms. Thus, the nutrient will be interesting for health and visual acuity, the integrity of the epithelia (cells lining the body and form a barrier against infections) and skeletal growth and development. The nutrient still has antioxidant function, which fights aging and cancer, and prevents chronic diseases such as cataracts, arthritis and cardiovascular diseases.

Despite all these nutrients, the main nutritional flagship of peppers is the active principle capsaicinoids. They are important for health because they have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, improve digestion, lower cholesterol levels and help you lose weight.The more spicy the pepper the higher the content of capsaicinoides. The blazing of the fruit is expressed by a sensory scale called Scoville Heat Units (SHU) or Scoville Heat Units. Its values ​​vary from zero to "sweet" peppers up to one million SHU for extremely hot peppers.

Blistering of peppers consumed in Brazil

Type of Pepper

Pungency (SHU *)

or Bikini


Cambuci or Hat of the Friar

37,000Finger of
46,000Bode Pepper
223,000Source: Lutz and Freitas (2008)
SHU * - Scoville Heat UnitsThe benefits of pepper
Pepper can help prevent cancer - Photo: Getty ImagesHelp to lose weight:

Pepper is one thermogenic food, capable of increasing the body's caloric expenditure during digestion and the metabolic process. The substance responsible for this is capsaicin which increases the metabolic rate by up to 20%. Thus, the consumption of 6 grams of pepper burns about 45 calories.

Furthermore, some experimental studies indicate that the fruit decreases the desire to ingest proteins, carbohydrates and fats. This probably occurs because peppermint activity increases the sympathetic nervous system that affects food intake behavior.

Fights cancer:

A study published in The US Journal of Cancer Research in 2006 found that capsaicin induces apoptosis, programmed cell death, in prostate cancer cells. Some studies, including one published in the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, suggest that capsaicin would also help reduce the growth of tumors in the breasts and ovaries. The benefit would also occur because of the ability of the substance to induce apoptosis of cancer cells.

Good for heart: A study by the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul concluded that capsaicin present in pepper also helps lower levels of bad cholesterol, LDL. The fruit can still reduce clots in the blood by having vasodilator action and increased fecal excretion of fats. The result is a reduction in the risk of problems such as hypertension, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.

Good for teeth:

Pepper stimulates salivation and thus neutralizes saliva acids and protects teeth and gums. In addition, it is rich in vitamin C that provides resistance to bones and teeth. Protects the stomach:

Some studies argue that capsaicin present in peppers has a gastroprotective effect as it increases the production of gastric mucus. It can also fight the bacteria that causes gastric ulcers and stomach ulcers.

Recommended amount of pepper There is no set amount for the consumption of pepper. The only guidance is not to overdo it, like eating the fruit about 3 to 4 times a day. It is interesting that people who do not have health problems, such as gastritis or hemorrhoids, ingest pepper once or twice a day.

How to consume pepper The best way to eat pepper is fresh. Thus, all the nutrients of the fruit are maintained. The versions in the form of sauce, preserves, jellies, paprika, dehydrated and desiccated are also options, but part of the nutrients, especially the vitamins, may be lost in the process.

Contraindications There is no scientific evidence that pepper causes ulcers or other digestive disorders. However, as a precaution, it is recommended that people who already have ulcers or gastritis avoid excessive consumption of the fruit. Those who have hemorrhoids should also take care of the pepper, because in large quantities it can lead to irritation of the endothelium, which constitutes the inner cellular layer of the blood vessels, remembering that the problem results from swollen and sore veins.Risks of excessive consumption

Although beneficial to health, the pepper can not be consumed exaggeratedly. Take special care with the pepper sauces that do not use the fresh fruit, but the extract or concentrated oil made from dry and spicy peppers. These heavy-duty sauces can cause burns or blisters in the mouth or tongue, nausea, respiratory changes and vomiting.

It has been proven that consumption of extremely high doses of capsaicinoids can lead to death in rats. However, in humans it would be necessary to consume about 1.8 liters of hot pepper sauce in a single time so that the individual is unconscious.

Where to find

The types of pepper and their products, such as jellies and sauces , are sold in most of the hypermarkets, groceries and health food stores.

Pepper recipes

Pepper chocolate pie is a delight - Photo: Getty Images

Check out the delicious recipes made with the peppers Capsicum genus Capsicum

-Milk of homemade pepper

-Torta of chocolate with pepper sauce

Sources consulted:

Regina Célia Rodrigues de Miranda Milagres, Master of Science of Nutrition by the Federal University of Viçosa

Nutritionist Heloisa Vidigal Guarita Padilha

Nutrologo Roberto Navarro

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