Chili powder is a spice blend that consists of powdered chili peppers along with other spices. The spices commonly used are those that typically show up in authentic Latin American cooking. They include powdered chili peppers, garlic, and cumin. The pepper in chili powder is typically ancho or pasilla pepper.
Chili powder has a number of health benefits including the fact that it is low in calories. A one-tablespoon serving of chili powder is estimated to have a little over 23 calories, which means that it is a low-calorie food that can help with weight loss efforts.
Chili powder also has a variety of nutrients to improve health. Let’s break down chili powder nutrition into its parts:
The cumin and chili peppers in most chili powder blends are both good sources of vitamin A and niacin. Niacin is also known as vitamin B3. Both spices also contain significant levels of pyridoxine, which is better known as vitamin B6. Oregano is another ingredient in chili powder and it is a great source of vitamins A and C along with vitamin E. The result is that a single tablespoon of chili powder can provide 2372 IU of vitamin A, which is 80 percent of the vitamin A that men need each day and more than 100 percent of the amount that women need.
Your body needs vitamin A for healthy teeth and bones as well as for functioning mucous membranes among other benefits. Niacin helps the nervous system to function properly and is needed for the conversion of carbohydrates into fuel.
Your body needs vitamin B6 to make red blood cells and to keep your brain functioning properly.
Vitamin E is another antioxidant that helps with the formation of red blood cells in addition being necessary for your body to be able to use vitamin K.
The herbs and spices in chili powder are great sources of several minerals including calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. A 1-tablespoon serving provides 26 mg of calcium, which is 2.6 percent of your daily recommended intake. Of course, this is just a small part of what you need every day; however, it is significant given the tiny portion size. You also get 12 mg of magnesium from that same serving size and 24 mg of phosphorus. As with the calcium, these amounts are just fractions of your daily recommended intake of those nutrients; however, they considerable for one tablespoon of spice.
You need calcium for muscle function in addition to its importance for healthy bones and teeth. Magnesium is needed for nerve transmission and for a healthy immune system. Phosphorus is found in every cell and is also needed for skeletal and dental health.
The cumin and oregano in chili powder are particularly rich in fiber and allow a 1-tablespoon serving of chili powder to provide 2.8 g of fiber, which is more than 10 percent of your daily recommended intake. Foods rich in fiber have more bulk, which helps to create the feeling of fullness. They also aid digestion by speeding up the time food takes to move through the intestines. In addition, fiber-rich foods help to lower blood cholesterol and are important for slowing the absorption of sugar into the blood.
Consuming chili powder can help with the treatment and prevention of diseases and health conditions such as:
- Heart disease: The antioxidants in chili powder help to eliminate the free radicals that can promote the accumulation of cholesterol that leads to heart disease.
- Constipation: The high level of fiber in chili powder not only helps to prevent constipation, it can help to protect the body from colorectal cancer.
- Osteoporosis: The calcium in chili powder can help to make bones stronger and denser thus helping to offset the loss of bone density that comes with aging.