Capsicum is the name for the genus of plant that comprises bell peppers. Bells peppers belong to the family of nightshade vegetables (Solanaceae), which also includes tomatoes and eggplants. Capsicum also includes chili peppers, cayenne peppers, jalapeno peppers and wax peppers.1
Capsicum plants are considered a fruit in botanical terms because they contain seeds. However, nutritionally, capsicum peppers are vegetables because of their taste. Capsicum come in a variety of colors including green, red, orange, yellow and even black. Rarely, you can also find bell peppers in white, brown and lavender.1,2
Capsicum plants are commonly associated with tropical climates but they can grow in a variety of regions. You can find capsicum in North, Central and South Americas, the Mediterranean, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.2
Capsicum Health Uses and Health Benefits
Capsicum are a nutrient-rich food type. Bell peppers are high in vitamin C and A and low in fat. Bell peppers are also a good source of B vitamins and fiber. The spicy members of Capsicum genus like cayenne, jalapeno and chili peppers, contain a unique phytochemical called capsaicin. Capsaicin is the substance responsible for the spicy taste of these peppers.1
Capsicum benefits are also derived from their antioxidant content. These peppers contain a group of antioxidants called carotenoids, which include beta-carotene and lutein, for example.1,2
Capsicum benefits for improved health include:
- Reducing risk of heart disease
- Helping in weight loss
- Improving eye health
- Boosting immune system function
- Maintaining cognitive health
- Improving skin health
Capsicum uses for treating conditions include:
- Atherosclerosis (Arteriosclerosis) - Capsicum benefits include being high in certain antioxidants that are good for cardiovascular health, particularly preventing atherosclerosis.
- Dyspepsia - Some reports have shown that capsicum peppers can help treat symptoms of dyspepsia, including heartburn or bloating.
- Indigestion - Capsicum peppers can help to prevent indigestion, bloating and gas.
- Diarrhea - Bell peppers contain fiber, which can help to regulate digestion and prevent diarrhea.
- Triglycerides - Capsicum benefits include being a highly nutritious food that can aid in weight loss and lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Capsicum Side Effects and Precautions
Capsicum side effects are limited as it is a food type generally safe for everyone. Some people may experience capsicum side effects caused by an allergic reaction. Some other may also experience cramping or bloating due to an intolerance to capsicum peppers.1