Capsicum Annuum – Review the Latest Research

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Introduction:

My food is edible. I am green. My name is yellow. I am red. You may see me in orange as well! What could this food product be? Capsicum! Capsicum, which has the scientific name Capsicum Annuum, is a member of the Solanaceae family. Capsicums are also known as bell peppers within America, Shimla mirch in India and peppers within the United Kingdom. Capsicums originate in the northern part of Latin America and Mexico and are available in different colors that range from red to green and yellow. These vegetables aren't just tasty when used as toppings on pizzas or cooked as an ingredient; they are also very nutritious. Let's explore some fascinating advantages of this vegetable.

Nutritional Value of Capsicum:

I find it interesting to see how contemporary research is catching up to the information that some people have been able to know for centuries! Capsaicin, a chemical found in capsicum, is a traditional remedy for pain relief. While research has shown promising results, it's important to remember that further research on humans is required to verify the benefits of its pain-relieving properties.

Capsicum (Shimla Mirch) is a source of various nutrients, which are listed below. It is high in many phytochemicals, such as anthocyanins, vitamins, flavonoids, phenolic acid, capsaicinoids, and carotenoids.

  • Energy (Kcal/K): 26/111
  • Total carbohydrate: 6.03 g
  • Dietary fibre: 2.1 g
  • Protein: 0.99 g
  • Total fat: 0.30 g
  • Calcium: 7 mg
  • Magnesium: 12 mg
  • Phosphorus: 26 mg
  • Potassium: 718 mg
  • Sodium: 4 mg
  • Vitamin C: 127.7 mg
  • Niacin: 0.9 mg
  • Pyridoxine: 0.29 mg
  • Vitamin A: 3131 IU
  • Vitamin K: 4.9 micrograms
  • Vitamin E: 1.58 mg

Properties of Capsicum:

I'd suggest adding capsicum to your diet when you're looking to reduce your food intake. Capsaicin in capsicum, can have some short-term effects on the body. If you take capsaicin in a form that is consumed orally (like eating spicy food), it could cause you to feel more satisfied, which can lead to a decrease in the amount of food you consume.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Capsicum has been shown to possess a variety of properties, including the ones listed below:

  • It could serve as an antioxidant.
  • It could have antifungal properties.
  • It might have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • It could be an antidiabetic agent.
  • It could have anticancer effects.
  • It could be an alternative to analgesic.
  • It could be neuroprotective.
  • It could also be an antibacterial activity.
  • It could have immunosuppressive qualities.
  • It may also have an immune-stimulant action.1,2

Did you even know?

  • Consumption of capsicum is linked to a lower risk of certain cancers like lung and prostate cancer.
  • Capsaicin in capsicum has been proven to increase metabolism and assist with weight reduction.
  • Capsicum is high in vitamin C. Bell peppers are a good source and contain 169% or more of the daily recommended intake.

Potential Uses of Capsicum for Overall Health:

Based on my experience and observations, capsaicin intranasally could help to reduce nose problems. In a research study, those who received capsaicin noticed the possibility of a decrease in nasal symptoms like a runny nose and blocked nasal passages. Also, they showed improvements in the sensitivity to dry, cold air that could last for as long as 9 months following the treatment. Therefore, intranasal capsaicin may be efficient and safe in reducing nasal symptoms.

Sure of the benefits of capsicum can be described in the following manner:

1. Potential applications of capsicum to treat dyslipidemia

Dyslipidemia manifests as the reduction of good cholesterol, also known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and an increased level of the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) total cholesterol and triglycerides. Research has shown that red capsicum and one of its most important constituents, capsaicin, could regulate the changes in conditions in dyslipidemia. Zafar et al. experimented in 2012 using male rats to test the impact of an aqueous extract of red pepper on cholesterol profile. Rats treated with an extract of red pepper in aqueous form (200mg/kg) saw a decrease in cholesterol levels total, low density lipoprotein (LDL) and trlow-density, as well as incre,ased levels of the high-density lipoprotein (HDL).  could indicate that consumption of capsicum can aid in reducing dyslipidemia. However, further studies on humans are required to confirm these claims.

2. Capsicum could be a useful ingredient for controlling blood sugar levels

Capsicum is a source of phytochemicals, such as capsaicin and capsiate (capsaicin analog), that may have an effect of hypoglycaemic (reduction of blood glucose). Sanati et al. conducted a research study in 2017 to study the effects of the capsaicin compound on blood glucose levels in rats suffering from Type I DM. The animals received 6 mg/kg capsaicin and had capsiate throughout 28 days. The study results showed that capsaicin and capsiate could assist in reducing blood glucose levels. This could indicate that the consumption of capsicum can aid in controlling blood glucose. However, further research is required to verify these findings in humans.

3. Potential benefits of capsicum in increasing metabolism

Capsicum is a rich source of capsaicinoids, which can help improve metabolism. Capsaicinoids can stimulate vasodilatation (increased blood flow), which boosts temperature (heat production). The increase in thermogenesis can boost metabolism. This could indicate that the consumption of capsicum can help enhance metabolism. However, further research is required to confirm these claims.

4. Capsicum may be used in the future to treat cancer

Capsaicin is a phytochemical with bioactivity abundant in capsicum. A literature review by Chapa et al., published in 2016, confirms that capsaicin may alter gene expression during different stages of cancer cell survival in angiogenesis, metastasis, and cancer. So, it is no doubt that capsicum consumption can help fight cancer. However, there is a need for more studies on humans to confirm the claims.

5. Capsicum may be a useful ingredient to aid in healing wounds

Capsicum is a source of phytochemicals, such as dihydrocapsaicin and capsaicin, which are commonly employed to treat wounds. However, the scientific evidence for this is sporadic. In 2021, Ekom et al. conducted a study on rats that examined the antibacterial capacity of capsicum extracts to aid wound healing. This study's findings suggested using capsicum extract as an antibacterial substance. However, further research is required to verify the validity of these claims for humans.

6. Capsicum could be used to increase immunity

Capsicum is a rich source of Vitamin C, a biologically active phytochemical that helps improve immunity. It's possible that regular consumption of capsicum could increase the immune system. However, the scientific evidence to support the claims is not sufficient. Therefore, further studies are needed to confirm these claims in the human population.

7. The potential uses for capsicum include anxiety

Capsicum is an excellent food source of Vitamin B6 and magnesium. Both play crucial functions in ensuring the brain's functioning. Therefore, it can ease anxiety and help manage anxiety attacks. Furthermore, magnesium in capsicum can help alleviate muscle tension due to stress. This implies that consumption of capsicum may improve anxiety. However, scientific evidence to prove these claims isn't enough, and further studies are needed to confirm these claims in humans.

8. Other uses that could be made of capsicum include:

  • Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, It can aid in easing the symptoms of Crohn's disease and arthritis.
  • It can help ease the discomfort and soreness that come with yellow fever.
  • It can help with diarrhoea and dysentery.
  • It could help boost the immune system.
  • It could help ease stress.
  • It could help fight cataracts.
  • It could help improve metabolism.
  • It could help manage the increase of body fat and, therefore, could be beneficial in reducing obesity.

While some studies prove the advantages of capsicum under various conditions, they are not enough, which is why there's an urgent need for more research to determine the real magnitude of capsicum's positive effects on the human body's health.

How to Use Capsicum?

From my point of view, capsaicin in capsicum has a powerful effect. In small quantities, capsaicin can help protect the stomach from damage caused by alcohol and certain substances. It can do this by stimulating the sensory nerves, which can help in cases of gastric trauma.

Capsicum is a great ingredient to use for the following purposes:

  • Capsicums are eaten in salads raw, with pasta and cooked, then stuffed with other vegetables and cooked into a sauce for peppers. Spanish pisto, a dish from Spain, or the a classic dish, made with ratatouille are all prepared with capsicums.9

You should consult a licensed doctor before using any herbal supplement. Do not stop or change any ongoing treatment using modern medicine or herbal or ayurvedic preparations without consulting a licensed doctor.

Side Effects of Capsicum:

Some of the side effects that are related in the intake of capsicum can be :

  • An increase in the frequency of allergic reactions among people who are sensitized.
  • Excess consumption of capsicum may cause stomach pain as well as gastric irritation.
  • Atypical amount of sweating and a runny nose.10

If you experience any negative reactions to capsicum, immediately seek out a doctor or your Ayurvedic doctor who prescribed the medicine. They can provide you with the appropriate treatment for the symptoms you are experiencing.

The precautions to be taken with capsicum

As with all fruits and vegetables, consumption of capsicum can be enjoyed in moderate quantities. However, the general rules of thumb must be taken when eating capsicum, the most significant being:

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  • Excessive consumption of capsicum could cause allergic reactions in sensitive people.
  • Consuming capsicums, you should be aware if you suffer from the tendency to experience stomach discomfort.
  • It is suggested that capsicum be thoroughly washed before use to prevent infections.

Involvement With Other Drugs:

There's a shortage of research on the interactions of capsicum and other drugs. But, it is essential to consult with your Ayurvedic doctor regarding the potential interaction between capsicum and other medications and adhere to the instructions carefully, as they will be aware of your medical condition and the other medications you're taking.

Live Healthier
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