Antioxidant, anti-obesity, nutritional, and other beneficial effects of different chili pepper: A review

 Azrina Azlan, Sharmin Sultana, Chan Suk Huei, and Muhammad Rizal Razman   |  

The chili pepper is an important spice that is also used in therapeutic diets due to the activities of unique components, Bioactive compounds and vitamin C present in chili pepper are of great therapeutic importance as they have anti-inflammatory activities

Nowadays, obesity is a worldwide health concern. Obesity is a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, diabetes mellitus, osteoarthritis, and hypertension. Some diet therapy such as keto; low-carb, high-protein diet; high-fat diet, and low-energy diets are used for obesity treatment, using established behavior-change techniques and social support on a short-term basis. These practices do not harm a person’s health if maintained on a long-term basis. Compared to a non-ketogenic diet, a ketogenic diet has less sustainability.

Vegetables are an indispensable part of a healthy diet. A healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in fat, sugars, and salt may help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and excess weight gain.

The chili pepper, a plant that belongs to the capsicum genus, is an important spice that is widely used as a vegetable plant. Chili pepper is also used in a therapeutic diet due to the activities of unique components, capsaicin, and capsaicinoids, that contribute to the pungent scent of hot chili pepper. Recent studies on chili peppers have focused on their beneficial functions as potential anti-tumor, anti-cancer, antioxidant, anti-obesity agents.

It has been documented that capsaicin can act as a potential agent for anti-obesity caused by adipogenesis of cells and oxidative stress. However, there is little evidence concerning the effect of capsaicin’s anti-obesity properties. Additionally, the antioxidant content and activities of different chili pepper varieties have not been documented in detail.

This review is an attempt to redefine the importance of these compounds as possible solutions to the problem of obesity and to explore their potential for the benefit of human health.

Chilis belong to the genus Capsicum, the most important genus in the family of Solanaceae. Chili fruits are botanically known as berries. Unlike most berries, chili seeds are not embedded in the fleshy pericarp but are located in the placenta. Chili fruits vary in shape in different species. Different chili species have their own unique shapes. The extreme variability in fruit characters results in a difficult classification of chili crops. For commercial purposes, the classification of chili products is usually based on variations in pungency, color, flavor, their uses, and the size and shape of the fruits.

Capsicum annuum is the most widely cultivated and economically important Capsicum species. C. annum, which includes cultivars such as sweet peppers, Jalapeno, pablano, cayenne, ancho, and Serrano types, is a species of the plant genus native to southern North America and northern South America.

Most fruits are green, but some can be red or orange and can grow up to 15 cm, while seeds are mostly pale-yellow in color, reniform or discoid, and 3–5 mm in size. Most chili plant grows in tropical climates, as they need a warm, humid climate to survive.

Obesity is characterized by chronic low-grade metabolic inflammation and may be regulated by the control of preadipocytes differentiation. Antioxidants, including polyphenol, vitamin C, and flavanol molecules, are potent radical scavengers. Reactive oxygen species and free radicals are the main factors that initiate pathological conditions such as inflammation, metabolic disorder, and carcinogenesis.

Bioactive compounds and vitamin C present in chili pepper are of great therapeutic importance as they have anti-inflammatory activities on preadipocytes differentiation and cellular oxidation. Adipogenesis is the process of cell differentiation by which preadipocytes become adipocytes, and is caused by the reduction of mRNA, protein, the activity level of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor, and enhancer-binding protein.

Capsaicin molecules can trigger the activation of the transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member mechanisms. They are the key transcription factors that regulate adipocyte differentiation and lipid synthesis. Thus, a potential anti-obesity agent can reduce the rate of adipogenesis to a very low level.

Read the study:
Azlan A, Sultana S, Huei CS, Razman MR (2022) Antioxidant, Anti-Obesity, Nutritional and Other Beneficial Effects of Different Chili Pepper: A Review. Molecules. 27(3):898.

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