Bioactive Compounds from Capsicum annuum as Health Promoters
- Pp. 92-109 (18)Adriana M. S. Sousa, Lorena Carro, Encarna Velàzquez, Carlos Albuquerque and Luis R. Silva
Capsicum annuum (Pepper) is an agricultural crop of the Solanaceae family which is important as a vegetable food (bell pepper), as a spice (chili pepper), and as a colorant (paprika). It is native to Mexico and Central America but it is consumed worldwide and used in a great variety of dishes depending on its texture, flavor and color. C. annuum is a good source of bioactive compounds, such as polyphenols (flavonoids and phenolic acids), capsaicinoids, capsinoids, carotenoids and vitamins, with well-known anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Since the human body cannot produce many of these compounds, this crop assumes an important role in health protection, and might present new pharmacological solutions to several conditions. In this chapter, we aim to summarize the phytochemical composition of C. annuum and emphasize the major and most recent findings concerning health promoting benefits of its bioactive compounds (polyphenols, capsaicinoids, capsinoids, carotenoids, vitamins, and phytosterols), particularly those related with anti-oxidant, anti-nociceptive, anti-neoplastic, and anti-obesity properties.