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BENEFITS OF CONSUMING PEPPERS
Whether spicy or sweet, peppers contain many phytochemicals, which are naturally occurring compounds found in plants. Many of peppers' phytochemicals have antioxidant abilities. This means they can help neutralize free radicals in the body, which damage cells. So they may help prevent or reduce symptoms of certain diseases. Similar to hormones, some phytochemicals also act as messengers in the body.
Go for a variety of colors in peppers to get the biggest bang for your buck. Red bell peppers are a good source of fiber, folate, vitamin K, and the minerals molybdenum and manganese. And, they're especially rich in nutrients and phytochemicals.
Whether mild or fiery, peppers are nutrient-dense. They're one of the richest sources of vitamins A and C. Just a cup a day can provide more than 100% of your daily needs.
The noteworthy antioxidant that gives spicy peppers their zing is called capsaicin. The more capsaicin, the hotter the pepper, and the higher the antioxidant level. The capsaicin in peppers has also been shown to slightly curb appetite and is an excellent choice for weight loss programs. Some studies indicate that capsaicin speeds up metabolism as well.
It appears that capsaicin may fire a lethal blow at cancer cells by affecting the activity of a protein complex called NF-kappa Beta. This makes it more difficult for cancer to dodge programmed cell death (apoptosis).
The compound that gives peppers their burn -- capsaicin -- can actually relieve the burning from nerve pain. Available in a cream, capsaicin can relieve neuropathy sometimes experienced by people with type 2 diabetes. Studies show that capsaicin is also effective in reducing the pain of osteoarthritis and psoriasis. Some apply capsaicin topical creams on the forehead for headaches as well.