The banana pepper is a variety of Capsicum annuum known for their mild flavor and slight tang that works perfectly pickled. The typical banana pepper has a Scoville rating of between 0 and 500 Scoville heat units, which makes it very mild. Think of it as a bell pepper with a hint of spice. In addition to being versatile, the banana pepper is full of nutrients in addition to having a number of other health-boosting qualities. Let’s break down banana pepper nutrition to see the health benefits close up.
A single 33 g pepper contains only 0.15 g of fat and 9 calories. This means that it can be included as a part of a healthy diet and is not likely to cause weight gain.
Banana peppers contain significant amounts of vitamin A, C and Vitamin B6. Vitamin A is an antioxidant that is also important for eye health. Your body needs vitamin C to synthesize collagen and L-carnitine as well as various neurotransmitters. Furthermore, consuming vitamin C along with iron helps your body to absorb the iron. Vitamin C is also essential for the metabolism of protein. Vitamin B6 is also necessary for your body to be able to break down and absorb protein; your body uses it in over 100 enzyme reactions.
Banana peppers contain traces of various minerals including calcium and magnesium but are a rich source of one in particular. A 33 g serving of banana pepper can provide you with 84 g of potassium. This is a fraction of what you need each day but is still considerable given the small serving size. Your body uses potassium to break down carbohydrates and to use them as well as to build muscle.
A 33 g serving of banana pepper provides 1.1 g of dietary fiber. Fiber adds bulk to food, which can make you feel full faster and reduce your food intake. Reduced intake can help with weight loss.
The nutrients in banana peppers can help prevent and treat health issues like:
- Gout: Gout is the result of excess uric acid which forms crystals in the joints leading to inflammation and pain. A diet that contains adequate vitamin C can significantly reduce the chances of developing gout.
- Arthritis: If your diet does not contain enough vitamin B6, this can increase your chance of developing rheumatoid arthritis. An adequate amount of the vitamin B6 found in banana peppers can also help to control the pain from rheumatoid arthritis.
- Cancer: Banana peppers do not contain large amounts of capsaicin, but they do have some. Capsaicin is the chemical in hot chilies that gives them their heat and which has been shown to be effective for killing certain cancer cells.
- Poor digestion: The insoluble fiber that you get from banana peppers helps to shorten the time for food to make it through your digestive system. This can prevent issues like constipation and indigestion.
- Age-related macular degeneration: The vitamin A in banana peppers can help to preserve your vision as you age by protecting your macula from degeneration.
- Inflammation: Capsaicin is one of the compounds in banana peppers that can help to protect your body from inflammation. Capsaicin reduces levels of substance P, which is the neurotransmitter that sends pain and inflammation signals from the nervous system.