Antioxidant Rich Foods – Peppers for Life and Health


Blog-peppersIn keeping with the theme of Antioxidants here is my article on Peppers from Suite 101

From Bell Peppers to hot peppers these nutritional vegetables are vitamin rich and have been used to promote health for centuries.

Bell peppers are a rich source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin K.  Red peppers in particular have an abundance of these vitamins.  Red pepper or as it is sometimes known cayenne pepper has been used for centuries by herbal practitioners for everything from inflammation to hangovers.

Benefits of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is absolutely necessary for connective tissue health.  It prevents cell damage and cancer and assists in healthy tissue growth.  It boosts the immune system protecting the body from infection.  It is very effective against the diseases of aging.

Vitamin K Benefits

Vitamin K is necessary for blood clotting and bone growth.  It is thought that vitamin k is useful in the prevention of osteoporosis.  Vitamin K is also key in preventing oxidative damage to cells.  It should be obtained from natural sources such as bell peppers, broccoli and green leafy vegetables.

Benefits of Vitamin A

Vitamin A is necessary for maintaining good eye health.  It is used to prevent some skin disorders, enhance the immune system and for epithelial tissue maintenance and repair.
Health Benefits of Cayenne  

Red pepper or cayenne can be used internally and externally.  Internally it is an excellent digestive aid.  It stimulates the flow of saliva as well as the secretions of the stomach both of which break down the foods eaten.  It is used as a carminative to reduce gas and due to its antibacterial properties it also helps relieve infectious diarrhea.

Red pepper has been used internally to combat fevers and colds.  One or two doses of red pepper in warm water  has been known to remove a cold.  The analgesic properties of red pepper can assist in the recovery from too  much fun.  For hangovers adding a pinch of cayenne to some tomato juice will go a long way to getting rid of the hangover headache

Externally red pepper slightly irritates the skin which increases blood flow to the area which reduces inflammation.  Traditionally a small amount of cayenne has been added to the socks to warm up cold feet.  Redness does not occur when using red pepper because it stimulates sensory nerves rather than capillaries.  Caution must be taken when using red pepper because overuse can result in blistering  and severe dermatitis.  In small quantities however it can be extremely beneficial for treating sore painful joints and tendonitis.

Red pepper has been used as a counter-irritant for muscle pain for centuries.  Studies recently have shown that it does contain analgesic properties which are useful for certain types of chronic pain.  It is effective for the ankle and foot pain known as burning foot which occurs in approximately half of all diabetics.

Red pepper or cayenne is under study for the possibility that it may help cut cholesterol.  It is an amazing stimulant which also assists in cleaning the blood.  New results on the health benefits of red pepper are appearing regularly.

Bell peppers are rich in antioxidants and vitamins while their hotter relative red pepper or cayenne is not only antioxidant rich but extremely effective for its medicinal properties.  One thing is certain, peppers of all kinds are worth adding to a healthy diet.