As the weather warms up and salad season is upon us, you may want to toss some sweet red peppers in with your greens. Besides adding a satisfying crisp and crunchy texture, two recent studies tout the health benefits of this brightly colored vegetable.
Slimming Super Power
It has been theorized that capsinoids, a chemical naturally present in peppers, rev up your metabolism and may subsequently aid weight loss. How this works is not completely understood, but some studies have shown that capsinoids reduce body fat in mice. A recent study examined whether the same effect would be seen in humans.
Obese adults were given 6 mg of capsinoids or a placebo in addition to undertaking a diet and exercise regimen. While there was no significant difference in the weight loss between the capsinoid and placebo groups, those who took the capsinoids did lose more fat around their abdomen. It seems that the capsinoids enhance the rate at which fat is burned for energy, but the researchers caution that the study was small and requires further investigation to confirm the red pepper as a belly fat burner. They also suggest that there may be a genetic component that makes capsinoids more effective in some people more than others.
No more scraping those seeds into the trash. Korean researchers found that the entire red pepper is chock full of antioxidant power — the peel, flesh and seeds — so go ahead and eat the whole thing. Antioxidants, chemicals found naturally in many plant-based foods, help protect us from infection, inflammation, illness and other damage to our cells.
Red peppers are also a good source of vitamins A, C, B6 and folate. And it delivers a fair amount of potassium, vitamin E, vitamin K and fiber. So on your next trip to the grocery store, go ahead and pick up a peck of powerful peppers.