Jalapeno pepper: Health benefits and side effects

Jalapeno pepper


Jalapeno pepper is one of the varieties of peppers mostly produced and consumed in Mexico in various forms such as fresh (raw), pickled, dried, canned, smoked, and in sauces. Peppers are popular due to the flavor, aroma, and color that they add to food and have been consumed all over the world for more than 6000 years.   It is also known as chili pepper, or hot pepper, and is famous for the sensation of hotness or burning in the mouth and throat due to the presence of capsaicin in them.

Geographical distribution

Jalapeno pepper is widely produced in Central and Northern Mexico and in Southern Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula

Nutritional value of Jalapeno pepper

Jalapeno pepper contains a good amount of different phytochemicals, including vitamins A and C, phenolic compounds, flavonoids, and carotenoids which have a health-promoting potential (1).

Compound                                                                                     Amounts per 100 g.
Water 91.69 g
Energy 29 Kcal
Protein 0.91 g
Total lipid (fat) 0.37 g
Carbohydrate, by difference 6.5 g
Fiber, total dietary 2.8 g
Sugar 4.12 g
Calcium 12 mg
Iron, Fe 0.25 mg
Magnesium 15 mg
Phosphorus 26 mg
Potassium 248 mg
Sodium 3 mg
Zinc 0.14 mg
Copper 0.046 mg
Manganese 0.097 mg
Vitamin C 118.6 mg
Thiamin 0.04 mg
Riboflavin 0.07 mg
Niacin 1.28 mg
Pantothenic acid 0.31 mg
Vitamin B-6 0.42 mg
Folate, DFE 27 µg
Vitamin A, RAE 54 µg
Vitamin A 1078 IU
Vitamin K 18.5 µg
Fatty acids, total saturated 0.09 g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 0.03 g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated 0.11 g

Health benefits of Jalapeno pepper

1. Antimicrobial properties of Jalapeno pepper

Capsianosides, capsaicin, and cinnamic acid are the main antimicrobial compounds present in jalapeno pepper. It helps in fighting against Streptococcus pyogenes, Clostridium sporogenes, and Clostridium tetani, Listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli, and Salmonella enteric (2,3).

2. Antioxidant properties

Jalapeno pepper contains carotenoids, capsaicinoids, and phenolic compounds that help to fight against different diseases (4). Moreover, after processing the reaming by-product of Jalapeno contains a good amount of flavonoids such as rutin, epicatechin, and catechin which exhibit strong antioxidant potency by inhibiting lipid peroxidation reducing food loss and waste (5).

3. Anti-obesity properties of Jalapeno pepper

A high amount of capsaicin, capsinoids increases energy expenditure and enhances metabolism, fat oxidation, thermogenesis, as well as decreases lipid accumulation in the adipocyte and appetite in humans which further reduces body weight, and abdominal fat loss. Therefore, intake of Jalapeno pepper is useful for the early prevention and treatment of obesity (6, 7).

4. Anticancer properties

Capsaicin found in jalapeno pepper inhibits cancer cell growth, by reducing cell viability and inducing cell death through increased reactive oxygen species and decreased mitochondrial membrane potential thus preventing different cancers such as human bladder carcinoma cells, human KB cancer cells, leukemia, multiple myeloma, cutaneous cell carcinoma, glioma, tongue cancer, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, esophageal carcinoma, gastric cancer, pancreatic cancer, hepatocarcinoma, colon carcinoma, non-small cell lung cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer (8, 9).

5. Treat gastrointestinal disease

Jalapeno pepper contains various bioactive compound which plays an important role in the treatment of various gastrointestinal disorders such as stimulation of digestion and gastromucosal defense, reduction of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms, inhibition of gastrointestinal pathogens, ulceration, and cancers, regulation of gastrointestinal secretions and absorptions (10).

6. Rich in nutrients

Jalapeno pepper contains a good amount of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and dietary fiber which act as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial agent, which may play a role in the prevention of chronic diseases and decreasing human micronutrient deficiencies (11).

7. Reduce pain

Jalapeno peppers contain capsaicin which shows a wonderful effect on the development of analgesia in patients with neuropathic pain (12).

8. Treat ulcer

An ulcer is a common problem caused by various agents (NSAIDS drug, Helicobacter pylori) however intake of capsaicin (Present in Jalapeno) stimulates the neurons in the stomach and protects from ulcers (13).

10. Decrease mortality

Studies proved that the daily intake of Jalapeno is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease death in the Mediterranean diet. Thus we can say that eating Jalapeno pepper protects us from a heart attack and increases life span (14).

11. Keep the heart-healthy

Daily intake of Jalapeno pepper reduces total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels as well as increases HDL-cholesterol levels. Therefore, showing a beneficial effect on vascular and metabolic health (15).

Side effect of Jalapeno pepper

Research studies proved that 30 g of fresh jalapeno peppers did not cause any mucosal damage in the stomach (visible changes). However, precaution should be needed before consumption in high amounts because it may cause

  1. Burning sensation in the mouth
  2. Induces heartburn (16).


Capsianosides, capsaicin are the main compounds present in Jalapeno. These compounds have the ability to reduce heart disease and decrease the cholesterol level of the body. Not only this, these compounds help in increasing metabolic activity and also enhance the fat-burning of the body. Thus helps in weight loss. along with these Capsianosides, capsaicin also possesses antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.