Nutrition and health benefits of chili pepper

Kiambu residents have been advised to consume pepper regularly as it has vital nutrition and health benefits, which help to minimise the effects of major chronic diseases in the body.

Faith Munoru, the Kiambu level 4 hospital nutritionist, speaking to KNA in her office on Wednesday, noted that chilli was one of the very popular spices known for its medicinal and health benefiting properties despite its fiery hotness that most people dread.

She explained that the plant had amazingly high levels of vitamins and minerals, and that just 100grammes provided 240% of vitamin C, 39% of vitamin B-6, 32% of vitamin A, 13% of iron, 14% of copper and 7% of potassium in relation to the recommended daily allowance.

Munoru added that the main component in the plant was a chemical known as capsaicin which she said was responsible for the intense heat sensation that increases the metabolic rate which aids in fat burning process.

In addition, she stated that capsaicin lowers blood sugar levels, improves heart health, boosts circulation, heal intestinal problems and protects against strokes.

The nutritionist explained that the plant had very positive impact on people who were overweight or those that were suffering from diabetes because it helped to reduce the insulin levels by boosting the pancreases that produces the fluid in question.

Her colleague in the field, Patrick Wanjohi affirmed that chili was known as circulation booster and also acts as blood thinner to help protect a person against stroke which had claimed many lives.

He expounded that regular intake of chilli can help minimize the effects of inflammatory diseases in the body by eliminating bloating especially after feeding poorly.

Wanjohi said it was also good in other antioxidants such as vitamin-A, and flavonoids like a-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin that help protect the body from injurious effects of free radicals generated during stress and diseases condition.

Wanjohi added that chilies carry a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron and magnesium which are important component of cell and body fluids that helps in controlling heart rate and blood pressure.

However, he cautioned residents on frequent consumption of fresh chilies which may cause stomach problems unlike the dry chilies. He also warned them on certain chemical compounds like aflatoxin (fungal mold), found in spoiled chilies that are known to cause stomach, liver and colon cancers.

Source: Kenya News Agency