Surprising Ways Eating Jalapenos Will Benefit Your Health

Jalapeños can be a wonderful addition to savory dishes, offering both flavor and nutrition. Plus, they come in several varieties and can be enjoyed fresh, dried, smoked, or cooked. For example, Fresno peppers are smaller and milder than other varieties of jalapeños. The Señorita pepper, on the other hand, can set your taste buds on fire. Capsaicinoids, the compounds responsible for their heat, also possess therapeutic effects (via Colorado State University). You might have heard about capsaicin, a chemical added to pain relief creams and ointments. This substance can soothe sore muscles and joint pain.

"The more the capsaicin, the hotter the pepper, and the higher the antioxidant level," wrote the authors of a 2014 review published in the journal Molecules. This compound occurs only in the Capsicum genus, with the highest concentration being found closer to the seeds. Jalapeños also contain significant doses of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, and antioxidants, according to WebMD. Some of these nutrients fight oxidative stress, while others support metabolic health and may aid in weight loss.

These small, fiery peppers do more than just spice up your meals. When consumed as part of a balanced diet, they may improve appetite control, boost your metabolism, and increase lifespan (via WebMD). 

Jalapeños might hold the key to a longer life

Capsaicin, the active compound in jalapeños and other spicy foods, supports cardiometabolic health. In clinical trials, this compound has been shown to protect against obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other conditions linked to heart disease (via Nutrients). Moreover, it may alleviate the symptoms of cardiac hypertrophy, stroke, and organ damage. In the long run, it may reduce mortality risk and add years to your life.

Studies indicate that the compound not only raises energy expenditure, but also wards off hunger and improves the body's ability to burn fat (via Appetite). On top of that, it may help lower blood sugar, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels, according to the Nutrients review. Its anti-cancer properties shouldn't be overlooked, either. Several studies suggest that capsaicin may induce cancer cell death and cancel out the effects of carcinogens, such as cigarette smoke and household chemicals (per Toxicologic Pathology).

Note that most studies have been conducted on animals, so further research is needed to confirm their findings. Plus, scientists investigated the effects of pure capsaicin rather than spicy foods. Jalapeños alone are unlikely to prevent or treat disease, but they can contribute to better health. Add these fiery peppers to your favorite salads, mix them into bread dough, stuff them with low-fat cheese, or use them in green smoothies for a spicy kick.