Chillies have been used as a medicinal plant since pre-Colombian times. Today, chillies are one of the most widely used of all natural remedies. It is these reasons why the indigenous peoples of the Americas started to domesticate chillies all those years ago.
Chillies are excellent for your immune system because they are rich in both vitamin A (said to be the anti-infection vitamin) and vitamin C.
Chilli peppers’ bright red colour signals its high content of beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for healthy mucous membranes, which line the nasal passages, lungs, intestinal tract and urinary tract and serve as the body’s first line of defence against invading pathogens. Just two teaspoons of red chilli peppers provide about 6% of the daily value for vitamin C and more than 10% of the daily value for vitamin A.
The US Department of Agriculture’s National Nutrient Database lists red capsicum as having 143.7mg of Vitamin C per 100g, while oranges contain only 45mg per 100g. Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant used by the body to soak up free radicals. Chillies also contain other anti-oxidants: lutein is found in red chillies, while alpha-carotene is found in yellow and orange chillies as well as capsicums.
Other vitamins found in chillies include the vitamin B group (mainly B6) and vitamin E. They are also high in potassium, magnesium and iron.