|About Green Chillies|
|Green Chilli Nutrition|
|Benefits of Green Chillies|
|Side Effects of Green Chillies|
Indian cooking is incomplete without a generous use of green chillies. The green vegetable adds the hot, spicy taste that is typical to Indian cuisine. Capsaicin, the chemical responsible for its shiny green colour and spiciness is also responsible for several other health benefits. Read through to learn more about the benefits of green chillies.
About Green Chillies
Although a vegetable, green chilli is widely used as a spice. It is scientifically known as Capsicum Frutescens. The vegetable is cultivated throughout the year. There are almost 400 different varieties of green chillies, each having a different degree of pungency.
Green Chilli Nutrition
The green chilli benefits are linked to the high nutritional value of green chilli.
Every 100 gm of green chillies contains:
- Carbohydrates – 9.46 gm
- Proteins – 2 gm
- Fats – 0.2 gm
- Fibre – 1.5 gm
- Sugar – 5.1 gm
- Iron – 1.2 mg
- Calcium – 18 mg
- Phosphorus – 46 mg
- Magnesium – 25 mg
- Potassium – 340 mg
- Copper – 0.174 mg
- Zinc – 0.3 mg
- Sodium – 7 mg
- Manganese – 0.237 mg
- Vitamin C – 242 mg
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) – 0.09 mg
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) – 0.09 mg
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin) – 0.95 mg
- Vitamin B6 – 0.278 mg
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) – 0.061 mg
- Vitamin A – 59 IU
- Folate – 23 IU
Green chillies are also rich in several plant compounds namely, alkaloids, flavonoids, phenolics, essential oils, tannins, steroids, and capsaicin.
Benefits of Green Chillies
The nutritional value of green chilli, along with several plant compounds, has various health effects. These are:
1. Protecting from Chronic Diseases
Green chilli benefits are primarily related to its high antioxidant content. Chemicals like flavonoids, phenols, and proanthocyanidins present in green chillies protect the body from free radicals and stop the oxidation process. Free radicals in the body are known to cause DNA damage, alter the genetic structure and increase the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and certain cancers.
2. Helpful Against Diabetes
Capsaicin, the chemical abundantly present in green chillies, helps reduce blood sugar levels. Capsaicin is also known to promote insulin secretion, increase insulin sensitivity, which helps in controlling blood glucose levels.
3. Helping Cure Anaemia
Anaemia is a condition marked by iron deficiency and low haemoglobin levels. Green chillies are naturally rich in iron. Furthermore, green chillies contain high amounts of Vitamin C, which play a crucial role in promoting iron absorption.
4. Antimicrobial Properties
The bioactive compounds in green chillies have high antimicrobial properties. Regular ingestion of green chillies thwarts the growth of several disease-causing bacteria and viruses.
5. Promoting Healthy Skin
Green chillies benefit the skin in many ways. The vegetable is exceptionally high in Vitamins C and E. While Vitamin C helps in the production of collagen, Vitamin E reduces the signs of ageing. The antioxidant compounds in green chillies help fight free radicals which harm the skin. Furthermore, the antimicrobial properties of green chillies protect the skin from acne and skin infections.
6. Aiding Weight Loss
Capsaicin, the active compound in green chillies, is known to boost metabolism. Upon ingestion, capsaicin produces heat which boosts the metabolism. Faster metabolism leads to the melting down of accumulated fat which leads to weight loss. To top it up, green chillies are a zero-calorie food. The presence of Vitamin B5 helps in the breakdown of fatty acids.
7. Increasing Body Temperature During Winters
The bioactive compounds in green chillies directly induce thermogenesis, converting energy into heat. This helps raise the body temperature and keeps you warm during winter. Thermogenesis also helps in burning body fat.
8. Reducing Stomach Ulcers
Plant compounds present in green chillies reduce the secretion of stomach acids which are responsible for stomach ulcers. Green chilli extract also improves tissue health. This reduces the risk of stomach ulcers.
9. Ensuring Effective Cold Relief
Capsaicin in green chillies produces heat within the body. This stimulates the mucus membranes in the nose, causing the mucus secretion to become thinner. This promotes easy drainage and helps in unblocking respiratory passage and improving cold and cough symptoms.
10. Potent Pain Reliever
Green chillies have anti-inflammatory compounds. They cut down inflammation in the body and provide effective relief from joint pains. Health benefits of green chillies are particularly seen in people with arthritis and osteoporosis. Furthermore, the heat produced by chillies acts as an active pain reliever.
11. Boosting Immune Health
Green chillies contain high amounts of Vitamin C and beta-carotene. These nutrients strengthen immune defence as they support various cellular functions. This improves both innate and adaptive immunity.
12. Promoting Eye Health
Vitamin C in green chillies helps form collagen, a protein that provides structure to the eyes. The vitamin protects the eyes against cataracts. Furthermore, beta-carotene is a precursor of vitamin A, which maintains eye health and prevents several eye conditions.
13. Boosting Mood
Upon digestion, green chillies release endorphins, the chemicals released by the body when it is in pain or stress. These are potent pain relievers and reduce stress, uplift mood, increase positivity, and promote overall well-being.
14. Lowering Body Temperature
Ingesting enough capsaicin stimulates the hypothalamus, the cooling centre in the brain. As the hypothalamus is activated, it sends signals to the sweat gland to produce more sweat. This cools off the body and lowers body temperature during hot weather conditions.
15. Helping Prevent Osteoporosis
Green chillies are rich in Vitamin K. Optimum levels of Vitamin K in the blood increase bone mineral density and reduce the risk of fractures. Vitamin K also strengthens bones by binding calcium to the bones.
16. Promoting Digestion
Green chilli benefits the digestive system. The vegetable is loaded with dietary fibre, which helps in colon cleaning. The high fibre content bulks up the stool, which allows healthy bowel movements. This prevents constipation and allows the body to get rid of toxic waste.
17. Promoting Hair Health
Green chillies are a good source of Vitamin C. The nutrient helps in the formation of collagen, which makes the hair stronger and healthier. Vitamin C also facilitates iron absorption, which ensures an adequate supply of oxygen-rich blood in hair follicles. This prevents breakage and split ends. Green chillies also contain natural silicon that promotes a healthy scalp.
Side Effects of Green Chillies
The green chilli benefits and side effects go hand-in-hand. While a moderate intake of green chilli is good for health, there are disadvantages of eating green chillies too. These are:
- Green chillies can cause skin and eye irritation upon direct contact.
- Chewing green chillies directly can irritate the inner lining of the mouth and trigger a burning sensation.
- Prolonged exposure to capsaicin can cause blisters and swelling on the skin. Capsaicin in the eyes can cause extreme redness and tears.
- Excessive consumption of green chillies can negate the benefits against stomach ulcers. Instead, it can damage the stomach lining and raise the risk of ulcers.
- Excessive intake of green chillies can damage the liver and kidneys and lead to brain toxicity.
- The heating effect of green chillies can cause intestinal distress in some people. It can lead to painful cramps and diarrhoea.
- Excessive consumption of capsaicin can trigger abnormal cell growth. This can increase the risk of cancer, especially in the stomach and gallbladder.
- Direct chewing of raw chillies can increase the risk of mouth and throat cancer.
Green chillies are widely used throughout the world. They add a hot, pungent flavour to the meals. In addition to enhancing taste, the benefits of green chillies include weight loss, improved skin and hair quality, increased immunity, and protection against several diseases. These health benefits are associated with the nutritional value of green chilli.
Green chillies are rich in vitamins, minerals, and several plant compounds namely, alkaloids, flavonoids, phenolics, essential oils, tannins, steroids, and capsaicin. Capsaicin, the chemical responsible for its shiny colour and spiciness, contributes to these health benefits. But there are disadvantages of eating green chillies too. Thus, they must be used with caution and consumed within moderate limits.