Jalapenos stimulate your taste buds and may help to keep your eyes healthy and prevent risk factors for heart disease. A low-calorie food that adds a lot of flavor and spice to your meals, eating jalapenos more often helps you meet your daily need for vitamin C while, keeping your calorie and fat intake low.
Calories, Fat, Protein and Carbohydrates
Most people don't eat a large quantity of jalapeno peppers at one time. Their intense heat makes even a few slices of this pepper per meal enough to satisfy most people's desire for spice. Eating one whole jalapeno pepper gives you only about 4 calories and less than 1 gram of fat, protein and carbohydrate, according the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This makes jalapeno peppers an excellent flavor addition for any weight management or weight-loss plan. They're also a great seasoning, if you're watching your daily salt intake or trying to limit your fat intake to improve blood pressure or cholesterol.
Vitamins in Jalapenos
One jalapeno is such a small amount of food that it doesn't contribute a significant amount of most vitamins and minerals. However, one of these spicy peppers does contain 16 milligrams of vitamin C, which is 27 percent of the daily value for the vitamin. Your body relies on vitamin C to form collagen, which is an important connective tissue, and aids wound healing, immune function and iron absorption, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. You'll also get small amounts of vitamins A and K and folate from jalapenos.
Plant foods such as jalapenos, contain different phytonutrients, or plant nutrients, which are beneficial for your health. Carotenoids called lutein and zeaxanthin are two nutrients found in jalapenos. These compounds are deposited in the retina of your eyes. They help to protect your eyes from harmful wavelengths of light and help to prevent oxidative stress in your eyes. Consuming lutein and zeaxanthin may help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts, according to the American Optometric Association.
The fiery flavor of jalapenos comes from a compound called capsaicin they contain. Eating capsaicin may improve digestion by increasing digestive fluid secretions and fighting off infections in the digestive tract. Capsaicin acts as an antioxidant in your body and may help lower cholesterol levels, according to an article published in the journal, "Phytotherapy Research" in May 2003. It may also stimulate circulation helping to relieve high blood pressure, coldness and arthritis. If you're congested, eating capsaicin from jalapenos helps act as an expectorant, thinning and loosening mucus.
- USDA National Nutrient Database For Standard Reference: Peppers, Jalapeno, Raw
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin C
- American Optometric Association: Lutein and Zeaxanthin
- Comprehensive Health Care of New Jersey: Capsaicin
- Phytotherapy Research: Short-Term Control of Capsaicin on Blood and Oxidative Stress of Rats in Vivo
- The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Healing Remedies; C. Norman Shealy