Jalapeno peppers provide more than a kick of flavor to your nachos and tacos. These small, fiery green peppers provide multiple vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to support a healthy body. Jalapenos may also help you manage your weight. Choose fresh jalapenos and add them to mashed avocado, eggs, salsas, dips and meatloaf to provide extra nutrition and spice.
With 109 mg of vitamin C, one jalapeno provides more than a day's worth of this important nutrient. Vitamin C is essential to healthy tissue repair, and it acts as an antioxidant to help with immunity and to fight the effects of aging. One jalapeno also provides 6.4 micrograms of vitamin K and 530 international units of vitamin A. Jalapenos are also a minor source of vitamin E and most of the B complex of vitamins.
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A jalapeno contains a lot of potassium considering its petite size. In one pepper weighing 45 g, you get 153 mg of potassium – or about 7 percent of the 2,000 mg you need daily. Jalapenos also provide iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper and manganese. These minerals all play a role in promoting healthy red blood cells, strong bone development and nervous system function.
Jalapenos provide antioxidants in addition to vitamins C and E. Antioxidants are phytochemicals that can scavenge free radicals in the body that you acquire through exposure to pollutants in the air, food and water. Antioxidants can help prevent the onset of disease. Fresh peppers have greater antioxidant content than canned or jarred versions, as found a study in the "Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry" in January 2011.
A substance in jalapenos known as capsaicin may help boost your metabolism slightly – helping with weight loss. According to a June 2008 study in the "Journal of Biological Chemistry," capsaicin – which gives jalapenos and other peppers their heat – can raise the core body temperature, leading to an increased metabolic rate. While the metabolism-boosting effects of capsaicin are mild, the hot flavor of the peppers can help to squelch your appetite and lead you to eat less at meals.
- "Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry"; Antioxidant Activity of Fresh and Processed Jalapeno and Serrano Peppers; E. Alvarez-Parrilla; January 2011
- "Los Angeles Times"; Spicy Peppers May Hold a Key to Weight Loss, Scientists Say; Karen Kaplan; April 27, 2010
- "Journal of Biological Chemistry"; Capsaicin Stimulates Uncoupled ATP Hydrolysis by the Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Calcium Pump; Jasser A. Mammhoud; June 6, 2008