The Benefits Of Red Peppers

Red pepper being cut with a knife by a goblin.
Photo by JESHOCKcom, c/o Pixabay.

The red pepper known as paprika (Capsicum annuum L.) is a very colourful vegetable which rivals the tomato for vividness and hue in its red colour. It is full of compounds of great benefit to human health:- carotenoids, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), tocopherol, flavonoids, and phenolic compounds, as well as natural food colorants (Jeong et al., 2008; Al-Duais et al., 2009).


The main carotenoid in red pepper is capsanthin  (Aizawa et al., 2009). the other major colour compounds are a diester of capsanthin and capsorbin diester.

Uses In Product Development

Red pepper is often associated in its raw state with  salads where it is chopped up. Pungent forms of red pepper are often used to spice up dishes as in goulashes, curries etc. In Korea for example they use it not just as a spice, but ferment it as part of their wonderful condiment, kimchi.

Health Benefits

A number of studies with red pepper are now suggesting it has anti-cancer possibilities (Maoka et al., 2001; Maokaa et al., 2004). Some studies have shown suppression of tumours and a reduction of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease (CVD).  These activities involve the improvement of high‐density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL‐C) and hepatic gene regulation 9Aizawa et al., 2009; Aizawa and Inakuma, 2009).


Aizawa K, Inakuma T. (2009) Dietary capsanthin, the main carotenoid in paprika (Capsicum annuum), alters plasma high‐density lipoprotein‐cholesterol levels and hepatic gene expression in rats. Brit. J. Nutr. 102 pp. 1760–6  (Article).

Aizawa K, Matsumoto T, Inakuma T, Ishijima T, Nakai Y, Abe K, Amano F. 2009. Administration of tomato and paprika beverages modifies hepatic glucose and lipid metabolism in mice: a DNA microarray analysis. J Agric Food Chem 57 pp. 10964–71.

Jeong EM, Kim WT, Kim SR, Yun SH. (2008) The actual condition and subjects of paprika in Korea. Munwonsa, Korea : Korea Rural Economic Insti. p 2008–22

Jeong CH, Ko WH, Cho JR, Ahn CG, Shim KH. (2006) Chemical components of Korean paprika according to cultivars. Korean J Food Preserv 13:43–9

Maoka T, Mochida K, Kozuka M, Ito Y, Fujiwara Y, Hashimoto K, Enjo F, Ogata M, Nobukuni Y, Tokuda H. (2001) Cancer chemopreventive activity of carotenoids in the fruits of red paprika (Capsicum annuum L.). Cancer Lett 172 pp. 103–9

Maokaa T, Enjob F, Tokuda H, Nishino H. (2004) Biological function and cancer prevention by paprika carotenoids. Foods Food Ingred J Jpn 209:203–10

Markus F, Daood HG, Kapitany J, Biacs PA. 1999. Change in the carotenoid and antioxidant content of spice red pepper (paprika) as a function of ripening and some technological factors. J Agric Food Chem 47:100–7.

Miller NJ, Sampson J, Candeias LP, Bramley PM, Rice‐Evans CA. 1996. Antioxidant activities of carotenes and xanthophylls. FEBS Lett 384:240–2.

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