Jalapeno peppers can add flavor and heat to almost any recipe, including bread, chili or soup, or be used as toppings for salads or Mexican-inspired dishes. Jalapenos are nutritious choices to add to your meal, and they can be part of a healthy diet to lower your high blood pressure. A nutritionist can help you develop a meal plan designed to control blood pressure.
Blood Pressure and Diet
High blood pressure, or hypertension, increases your risk for heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. You may be able to lower your blood pressure by increasing your physical activity -- with your doctor’s approval -- reducing stress levels and losing weight if you are overweight or obese, according to the American Heart Association. Jalapeno peppers can be good choices for a weight loss diet because they are low in calories, with only 26 calories in a cup of sliced peppers. They are also fat-free.
Too much sodium in your diet can prevent you from lowering your blood pressure, and a low-sodium diet has a limit of 1,500 milligrams per day, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. With only 3 milligrams of sodium per cup, fresh jalapeno peppers are healthy choices for adding flavor to your food. However, canned jalapeno peppers with added salt provide 2,273 milligrams of sodium per cup, or more than 150 percent of the recommended amount.
Fresh jalapeno peppers provide 107 milligrams of vitamin C, or 178 percent of the daily value, and canned peppers have 14 milligrams of vitamin C, or 23 percent of the daily value. A high intake of vitamin C may help lower your high blood pressure, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Not all studies that have investigated the effects of vitamin C in individuals with hypertension have found that a high intake decreases your blood pressure, so it is best to continue monitor your blood pressure under your doctor’s supervision.
Potassium and Fiber
Jalapeno peppers supply 223 milligrams of potassium per cup, compared to recommendations to get at least 4,700 milligrams per day. Potassium is an electrolyte and an essential mineral for regulating blood pressure, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A high-fiber diet may support lower blood pressure, according to the Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center, and a cup of jalapenos has 2.5 grams of fiber, or 10 percent of the daily value.
You probably won't sit down and eat a cup of raw jalapenos for a snack, but there are plenty of ways to add them to your diet. Chop them up and put them on raw salads or in hot soups. Stuff jalapenos with a low-fat cream cheese and chicken, or stuff chicken breast with low-fat cream cheese and jalapenos. Make a jalapeno salsa or jalapeno hummus. Your imagination is the limit when it comes to how to incorporate them into your diet.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Peppers, Jalapeno, Raw
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Peppers, Jalapeno, Canned, Solids and Liquids
- Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center: Vitamin C
- American Heart Association: Prevention and Treatment of High Blood Pressue
- Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center: Dietary Fiber
- AllRecipes.com: Jalapeno Pepper Recipes