Good news for pepper soup consumers. A recent study by Semaniuk et al.(2022) showed that the regular use of chili peppers whether in soup or any other form improves life spans. Indeed, chili pepper fruits contain phenolic substances which are structurally similar to those that show anti-ageing properties. Chili powder added to food in concentrations of 0.04%-0.12% significantly extended the median lifespan in fruit fly cohorts of both genders by 9% to 13%. However, food supplemented with 3% chili powder shortened the lifespan of male cohorts by 9%.
A previous report by the American Heart Association(2020) also revealed that consumption of chili peppers may reduce the relative risk of cardiovascular disease mortality by 26%, according to an analysis of diet and mortality data from four large, international studies. Chili pepper consumption was associated with a 25% reduction in death from any cause and 23% fewer cancer deaths, compared to people who never or only rarely consumed chili pepper.
These studies drew my attention to the Nigerian Pepper soup and the Ghanaian light soups with hot spices. For instance, one study by Jiang TA(2019) found that frequent consumption of spicy foods was also linked to a lower risk of death from cancer and ischemic heart and respiratory system diseases. However, the actual role of spices and herbs in the maintenance of health, specifically concerning protecting against the development of chronic, non-communicable diseases, is currently unclear.
In the case of the Nigerian pepper soup is embedded with a burst of natural flavors and spices that awaken your food senses and set your appetite straight. It is very versatile as it can be made with various fleshy foods like turkey, chicken, fish, and even our nutrient-packed offals.
Adegoke et al.(2015) study evaluated the perception of consumers on the culinary, social, and health attributes of pepper soup. A structured questionnaire was used to identify reasons for taking pepper soup, the preferred type of pepper soup, the social environment for the consumption of pepper soup, beverage accompaniment preferred with pepper soup, and types of food preferred as accompaniment with pepper soup. It also evaluated the perception of the claimed health benefits of the constituents of pepper soup. The survey indicated that pepper soup was mostly a weekly and occasional diet taken by respondents for enjoyment (68.3%) and relaxation (55.8%).
About 90.2, 85.9, 90.2, and 92% of the respondents preferred catfish, goat meat, chicken, and cow tail, respectively, as the flesh components in their pepper soup. The preferred color, texture, and flavor was either light or dark brown, viscous or light, and peppery and spicy. Hot and warm pepper soup was preferred by 97% and 65.8% of the respondents, respectively.
The respondents (66.3 and 79%) preferred to take their pepper soup with beer and wine, while 75.9 and 90.7% of respondents had a preference for non-alcoholic beverages as accompaniments preferred carbonated beverages and juices or mineral water, respectively. The majority of respondents (60.5 ± 8.52%) disagreed significantly that pepper soup possessed most of the health benefits associated with herbs, spices, and other constituents of pepper soup, implying that pepper soup may not be consumed for its perceived medicinal value.
The nutritional benefits of pepper soup generally depend on the ingredients that are used in its preparation. The spices and condiments used have been rooted to be effective in medical treatments
Pepper soup is a healthy dish that is packed with nutrients. The soup is low in calories and fat, and it is a good source of protein. Pepper soup is also high in vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, iron, and potassium. In addition to being healthy, pepper soup is also a delicious and easy-to-make dish. The soup can be made with chicken, goat meat, or yams. Pepper soup can also be spiced to taste.
An article by Eunice Olaleye(2022) published in the Tribune revealed that a scientific review by Dr Heben’s team on DrHealthBenefits.com says that the soup does help to control heart rate. It also helps to control blood pressure and keep it from getting ridiculously high or low. In other words, it helps to stabilize blood pressure.
Another medicinal function of pepper soup is that it chases away free radicals that could cause cancer because it is an antioxidant(Nwose EU, 2009; Agbor et al. 2019).
Pepper soup can relieve you of cold and cough. There are several other medicinal benefits it has that you should look out for.
The author also revealed that the soup is good for the cold weather. Hot and spicy pepper soup is essential to provide warmth for your body. It’s a win-win. You enjoy your pepper soup and your body gets warmth while you are at it.
According to youmustgethealthy.com, what makes pepper soup healthy is the ingredients found in it. Unripe plantain, fresh catfish, cow skin, beef, or goat meat can be found in pepper soup, and they don’t only taste nice; they contain anti-oxidants.
Consuming pepper soup is one way to ensure adequate intake of nutrients all while staying hydrated. Due to its spicy nature, one tends to take in a lot of water.
From the literature, pepper soup made with local spices has many health benefits. Also, the American Heart Association(2020) also revealed that the consumption of peppers or hot spices may reduce the relative risk of cardiovascular disease mortality by 26%, according to an analysis of diet and mortality data from four large, international studies. Chili pepper consumption was associated with a 25% reduction in death from any cause and 23% fewer cancer deaths, compared to people who never or only rarely consumed chili pepper.
With this information, lovers of hot spices can add them to their diets in any form to improve their health.
Prof. Nyarkotey has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations to justify his write-ups. My articles are for educational purposes and do not serve as Medical advice for Treatment. I aim to educate the public about evidence-based scientific Naturopathic Therapies.
The writer is a Professor of Naturopathic Healthcare, a Medical Journalist, and a science writer. E. mail: [email protected] .