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Friday, March 20, 2009

Capsicum and Health Benefits !

Capsicum helps in curing many diseases that include lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol and warding off strokes and heart attacks, speeding up metabolism, treating colds and fevers, preventing cancer and pain control. Capsaicin is a flavorless, odorless chemical concentrated in the veins of chiles and peppers.

Capsicum contains Vitamins A and C, and beta-carotene. It's low in fat, calories and cholesterol. If you thought your diabetic diet was supposed to be boring, try spicing up your cuisine with capsaicin-based products, like hot sauce or jalapeno peppers.

Listed below are some of the health benefits of Capsicum :

* Enhances Metabolism: Capsicum increases the metabolism by lowering triglycerides, which are stored fats in blood corpuscles.This helps in burning calories.

* Anti Oxidant Property: Capsicum is an important source of vitamin A and vitamin C. These two vitamins are powerful antioxidants that help in fighting free radicals in the body and help in treating heart diseases, osteoarthritis, bronchial asthma, cataract etc. The free radicals are responsible for causing cellular damage, damage to nerves and blood vessels.

* Pain Relief: Scientists believe that the compound capsaicin found in capsicum blocks the transmission of pain from the skin to the spinal cord. This is considered helpful in treating neuralgia, pain associated with herpes zoster and postoperative amputation trauma.

* Cancer Prevention: The compound capsaicin is also believed to treat cancer by preventing carcinogens from binding with DNA. As a regular dietary intake, it has been found through various studies that eating capsicum can provide some protection from cancer.

* Prevents Clotting of Blood: Studies suggest that capsicum has the capacity to prevent clotting of blood. Vitamin C is found to play a major role in dissolving blood clots.

* Fights Food-Borne Bacterial Diseases: In a study it has been found that capsaicin content in capsicum is effective in fighting off food-borne bacterial diseases like Vibrio vulnificus bacteria found in raw shellfish.

Capsicum is a vegetable that comes in an exciting range of colors, like green, red and yellow. It is native to America and in fact, has been cultivated by the people of the tropical Americas since thousands of years. Known by a number of names, like chili pepper, bell pepper and red or green pepper, the vegetable is used as a spice, medicine and obviously, a vegetable. Apart from being great in taste, capsicum also holds a great degree of nutritional value and accords numerous health benefits to people. In the following lines, we have listed the nutrition benefits of eating capsicum.

Nutritional Value of Capsicum

a) Carotenoids (Capsanthin, Capsorubin, Carotene and Lutein)
b) Proteins
c) Fats
d) Vitamin A
e) Vitamin C
f) Capsaicinoid Oleoresin
g) Provitamins E, P, B1, B2 and B3
h) Steroidal Alkaloidal Glycosides (Solanine and Solasadine)
i) Scopoletin (Coumarin)

Health & Nutrition Benefits of Eating Capsicum

1) Beneficial to the mucous membranes, eyes and skin
2) Helps wards off infection
3) Promotes cardiovascular health, by helping lower blood pressure
4) Has antioxidant properties that neutralize the free radicals responsible for damaging tissue and cells
5) Has anti-inflammatory properties
6) Helps reduce cholesterol and thus, is effective in warding off strokes and heart attacks
7) Speeds up the metabolism and helps burn more calories
8) Good for treating colds and fevers
9) Stimulates stomach secretions and improves digestion
10) Lowers triglycerides
11) Has a laxative effect
12) Triggers the release of endorphins
13) Good for diabetics

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