Active ingredients: how to pepper-power your health with capsicum

When you’re nibbling on bell pepper crudités or sprinkling paprika into a dish, you probably don’t realise you’re working a superfood called capsicum into your diet. So what is capsicum, and what specific health benefits does it offer?

What is capsicum?

Capsicum is actually a term for a group of peppers, which includes cayenne, paprika, chilli peppers, jalapeños and bell peppers. As their culinary connotations might suggest, they’re native to South and Central America, but today they’re cultivated the world over. Capsicum is also used to describe pepper-powered health supplements.

How can capsicum benefit my health?

When it comes to health foods, capsicum peppers are a bit of a superhero. Studies have shown that all four bell varieties are pretty good at preventing the oxidation of cholesterol. That’s important because oxidised cholesterol – if there’s too much of it – can ultimately lead to heart disease.

Red and cayenne peppers in particular can also give your eyesight a boost. They contain high amounts of a cartenoid called lutein, which can help prevent macular degeneration. This is the technical term for age-related decline in central vision.

Lastly, capsicum can be used as a weight-loss aid. Spicy peppers contain capsaicin, which has been shown to speed up fat oxidation without negatively impacting on blood pressure.

How can I incorporate capsicum into my lifestyle?

This one’s easy. Start off by building on something you’re probably already doing: eating fresh, crunchy bell peppers. For a speedy snack, put a dollop of houmous in a tupperware container then top it up with slices of this yummy veg. To release their sweet flavour, cook them slowly in chillis or stews.

If you prefer spicier tastes, make cayenne and paprika your new staple ingredients. A dusting of smoked paprika will bring even the plainest meals to life, while cayenne is a great go-to for when you want to clear those sinuses.

And if you want an even simpler option, get your daily dose of capsicum from our Restore Me supplement. Designed to work as hard as you do, it’ll help to support your daytime endurance and a peaceful sleep. This potent mixture of vitamins, minerals and superfoods – including capsicum – has the added bonus of enhancing your immune system and protecting you from free radical damage.