Not only are jalapeno peppers a delicious addition to many dishes they pack a nutritional punch, with notable amounts of two important vitamins. Jalapenos are just one variety of chili pepper, a nightshade vegetable well known for a hot and pungent flavor. These little peppers derive their heat from a natural plant compound called capsaicin, which offers powerful health benefits.
Jalapenos are mostly available green, turning red as they mature. These peppers contain a negligible amount of calories, with only 4 calories in one pepper. They also have less than a gram each of protein and fat and just 0.91 gram of carbohydrates in a serving, making them a good choice for low-carb diets.
Like other peppers, jalapenos are a rich source of vitamin C, with almost 17 milligrams in a small pepper. That is equal to 18 percent of the recommended daily allowance for men and 23 percent for women. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps prevent damage from free radicals, rogue molecules that can cause cell damage in your body. Jalapenos also supply a good amount of vitamin A, which supports skin and eye health.
Capsaicin is the main chemical that makes chili peppers hot. Jalapenos rank as medium on the scale, with 2,500 to 8,000 Scoville heat units per pepper. Capsaicin has impressive health benefits, particularly as an anti-inflammatory and vasodilator that promotes healthy blood flow.