Banana peppers are also called “yellow wax peppers” or “banana chili’s.” A member of the chili family, this bell-pepper-like vegetable has a mild but tangy taste and usually is found in a yellow variety (though red, orange, and green varieties are available). They aren’t spicy like many other chili varieties and make a nice addition to salads, sandwiches, and many other dishes. They also contain an abundance of nutrients, including vitamin C, fibers, capsaicin, potassium, and more. Is banana pepper good for you? Let’s find out.
Vitamins and Nutrients in Banana Peppers
They are high in fibers
Like many pepper varieties, high fiber comes from the leathery skin and hard tissues of this vegetable. High fiber diets have been proven to be healthy for us, lowering cholesterol, risk of heart disease and several types of cancers, and improving digestion (1). Other benefits of a high fiber diet include healthy weight loss, better blood sugar control, and an even longer lifespan (2, 3). Adding this pepper to your diet can help you meet your goals, containing 17% of your recommended daily fiber intake per cup (4)
They are high in vitamin C
We focus on vitamin C when we have a cold, but the truth is this vitamin is important for our proper body function all the time. Vitamin C (also called ascorbic acid) gives banana peppers their tang and has been credited with antioxidant, anti-cancer, and immune-boosting properties (5). High levels of this vitamin are found in our brain and endocrine (hormonal) system, which suggest activity with our neurotransmitters and hormones (6). Vitamin C has a range of functions in our body, and we haven’t solved all of the mysteries yet, but banana peppers contain 114% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C per cup (7).
They are high in B vitamins
Various types of B vitamins are essential for your health and body function. Banana peppers are particularly high in vitamin B6. B vitamins are known to be involved with several of the enzymatic reactions that keep our body running and are thought to be essential for proper brain and neuron functioning. However, some work remains in this area of research (8, 9). This means our brain and central nervous system need vitamin B6 (as well as other B vitamins) to keep us alive and well.
Banana peppers contain capsaicin
To read even further about the benefits of capsaicin, read our “Is Salsa Good for You?” article, which details the various health benefits of capsaicin-rich hot peppers. Although banana peppers aren’t spicy like jalapenos, they contain capsaicin, which has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-cancer, vascular improvement, and cardio-protective effects. Capsaicin has also been noted to improve our digestive system by boosting our healthy gut bacteria (10, 11). In addition to keeping us feeling good, this could also improve how we break down foods and extract the nutrients from them.
Banana peppers contain potassium
Potassium is an underrated nutrient that we need to run efficiently. Our cells use potassium and sodium together to maintain extracellular fluid (the liquid in our cells that helps them keep their shape and run as they should) and plasma (part of our blood containing white blood cells that fight disease) volume (12).
They contain calcium
Calcium interestingly can be found in peppers in addition to dairy products! Calcium is needed for several body functions, including muscle, nerve, blood vessel, and hormone activity. We also need lots of calcium to maintain healthy bones and teeth (13).
Banana peppers have folate
Folate is another B vitamin that our body needs. Used for enzymatic reactions, DNA formation, and cell division, we need to get folate from our diet to keep these processes running. Folate is absorbed in our gut, and we get it from the foods that we eat, like banana peppers (14).
Banana peppers are a great source of vitamin A
Vitamin A (called the “seeing vitamin”) is essential for our eye health, immune function, and cell-to-cell communication. Another little-known function of vitamin A includes the maintenance of organs such as your heart, lungs, and kidneys (15). To learn more about vitamin A, read our “Top Foods High in Vitamin A” article.
They contain some vitamin K
Vitamin K is another needed vitamin that our body needs for enzymatic processes involved with the formation of bones, blood clotting, and other miscellaneous functions (16). While our gut bacteria make some vitamin K, we need to get some from our diet, and banana peppers are a great source (17).
Some Notes about Banana Peppers
Vitamin C is best absorbed from fruits and vegetables rather than supplements. Not only does this mean you get added fiber and other nutrients, but studies have not shown the same health benefits from vitamin supplements as compared to increasing fruit and vegetable intake (18).
Processing of banana peppers can affect the nutrient content. Length of storage is important, too, with longer stored time resulting in fewer nutrients (19). This means you have to eat more peppers to get the same health benefits! Try to aim for freshly harvested, non-preserved (i.e., canned or jarred), untreated banana peppers for best results.
In summary, is banana pepper good for you?
Give these underrated vegetables a try and reap the many vitamin and nutrient benefits it contains. Banana peppers are a great source of many vitamins and nutrients we are chronically low on, but our body desperately needs to function normally. Banana peppers can be eaten in sandwiches, salads, pizza, or even stuffed with meats, cheese, or vegetable blends. Try something outside the box and enjoy it as the main ingredient or side-dish of your next meal.