Ranging from mild to spicy and available in many different sizes, peppers can be used in a variety of dishes or eaten fresh as a snack. The species Capsicum annuum includes several favorite types of pepper, including one of the most popular varieties: the banana pepper.
Commonly found at sandwich shops and salad bars, banana peppers are known for packing a punch of flavor without being as spicy as other common pepper varieties. Banana peppers are named for their oblong shape and yellow color, which make them look a lot like bananas. However, as they ripen, these peppers can take on other colors such as orange or red.
Due to their high fiber content, banana peppers are filling despite being low in calories. Banana peppers are also chock full of important nutrients, including several key vitamins and minerals.
Here are a few of the most notable health benefits of banana peppers:
Lower Blood Pressure
A one-cup serving of banana pepper contains 103 milligrams of vitamin C, well over the recommended daily value. Preliminary research suggests that vitamin C can play a role in controlling blood pressure.
Improved Brain Function
Just one cup of banana pepper includes nearly half your recommended daily value of vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 helps the body produce dopamine and serotonin, which impact everything from motivation to communication with other parts of the body. By getting enough B6, you can reduce your risk of sleep problems, mood changes, and other issues.
Banana peppers contain a compound called capsaicin. Capsaicin is the chemical that makes peppers spicy, but it may also play a role in addressing obesity and related health concerns. Research suggests that capsaicin may help improve the body’s metabolism and reduce the accumulation of body fat.
The capsaicin in banana peppers can help speed up the digestive process, increase your metabolism, and even protect against stomach ulcers. Their high fiber levels may also help reduce or treat constipation and other digestive problems.
Nutrients per Serving
One cup of banana peppers contains:
Banana peppers are also an excellent source of:
How to Prepare Banana Peppers
When selecting banana peppers, consider their color. Mild, yellow peppers taste the sweetest, and they grow spicier as they change from yellow to red.
Most varieties of banana pepper are ready for harvest in July or August. Some varieties require a longer growing season and are harvested in September. Banana peppers can be found at the supermarket or at farmer's markets, but many people grow them in their own gardens. As long as they receive plenty of water and sunlight, they are easy to grow.
Following harvest or purchase, banana peppers should be kept in a cool environment. Properly stored in the fridge, they last about one week. If chopped and placed in airtight containers, they can be stored in the freezer for up to one year. Some people prefer to air dry or dehydrate banana peppers before eating.
Banana peppers can improve a variety of recipes. Try these ideas for incorporating them in your diet:
- Combine with cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and Feta cheese to create a fresh Greek salad.
- Add as a topping on your favorite homemade pizza.
- Stuff with cream cheese, wrap in bacon, and cook in the oven for a tasty snack.
- Layer slices over turkey and cheese in a sandwich.
- Use in salsa alongside or instead of jalapeno peppers.
- Add to tacos, burritos, or nachos.
Feature with other types of peppers in a hot pepper jelly.