Why pickled banana peppers aren’t good for you?

Pickled vegetables | Nutritional Value | Banana peppers vs Pepperoncini | Hot vs sweet peppers | Adverse effects

Raw banana peppers are nutrient-dense, super healthy foods. They have a great nutritional value. On the other hand, pickled or jarred banana peppers aren’t good for you. Better avoid them.

Banana peppers are members of the chili pepper family. They are medium-sized peppers. Their flavor is mild and tangy. There are yellow, red and green banana peppers. Their color depends on the ripeness stage. Also, banana peppers get sweeter as they ripen.

You can enjoy them raw, cooked, roasted or pickled.

Raw banana peppers are good for you

Banana peppers are healthy. They’re nutrient-dense foods. For instance, they’re particularly rich in vitamin C. Actually, they have more vitamin C than oranges.

Moreover, banana peppers are good for weight loss because they’re low in calories. A raw banana pepper has about 9-20 calories, depending on its size.

Also, banana peppers are good sources of fiber. Actually, banana peppers are the richest pepper variety in fiber! Fiber promotes satiety!

In addition, banana peppers hydrate the body. First, they’re 92% water. Foods rich in water, fiber, and protein are the most filling ones.

Moreover, they’re good dietary sources of electrolytes. We have to replenish both water and electrolytes! Otherwise, electrolyte imbalances can lead to serious adverse effects.

Also, banana peppers are keto-friendly because they’re low in net carbs. Even people with diabetes can regularly consume them. Peppers don’t spike blood sugar.

Nutrition facts of banana peppers

Banana peppers are good for you, as they are rich in vitamins and minerals.

2 medium banana peppers (100g) contain (6):

  • Calcium: 14 mg. Banana peppers contain only traces of calcium. But, there are many of plant-based foods rich in calcium.
  • Iron: 0.46 mg.
  • Magnesium: 17 mg.
  • Phosphorus: 32 mg. There are many foods with a much higher phosphorus content, though.
  • Potassium: 256 mg.
  • Zinc: 0.25 mg. There are many common foods high in zinc. Whole grains, seeds, and nuts (e.g. almonds) are the best sources.
  • Copper: 94mcg.
  • Niacin: 1.24 mg.
  • Vitamin B6: 0.357 mg.
  • Vitamin E: 0.69 mg.

Banana peppers are great dietary sources of vitamin C and vitamin B6:

  • Vitamin C: 110% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Vitamin B6: 27% of the DV
  • Potassium: 10% of the DV
  • Copper: 10% of the DV
  • Niacin: 9% of the DV
  • Vitamin E: 5% of the DV

Differences between pepper varieties

There are many pepper varieties. Not only do they have different flavor, but also, they have different nutrition facts.

Banana peppers vs pepperoncini

It is difficult to tell the differences between banana peppers and pepperoncini.

Appearance of pepperoncini & banana peppers

Both banana peppers and pepperoncini peppers have the same size. They’re about 2-3 inches. Banana peppers are slightly longer and thinner, though.

Pepperoncini peppers are thin-walled peppers, with wrinkled light yellow-green skin. As they mature, pepperoncini peppers turn red, though.

Pepperoncini peppers come from Italy and Greece.

Green pepperoncini peppers are the most common. They’re mostly found pickled in jars.

Banana peppers look like pepperoncini peppers. They have a yellow color. When maturing, banana peppers turn green, red, or even orange. They look like bananas, hence their name.

We can find them pickled and fresh. When pickled, banana peppers are easily confused with pepperoncini peppers.

Nutrition facts of pepperoncini & banana peppers

Above all, prefer fresh banana peppers to pepperoncini peppers. It’s difficult to find fresh pepperoncini peppers. Only pickled pepperoncini peppers are sold. Pickled peppers have a poor nutritional value, though. For instance, pickled pepperoncini peppers contain no vitamin C.

Pickled vegetables are also packed with sodium. 100 grams of pickled pepperoncini may contain more than 1,500 mg of sodium. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day.

Pickled vegetables may be bad for your health. Better avoid them.

Banana peppers & pepperoncini have different flavor

Pepperoncinis are sweet, mild chili peppers. They also are juicier than banana peppers. On the other hand, banana peppers have a mild but tangier and sweeter taste.

Banana peppers are commonly used raw in salads or sandwiches. Also, they’re common on pizzas.

Are banana peppers hot or sweet?

Additionally, in many recipes, we add banana peppers for their sweetness. When the recipe demands heat, other pepper varieties are used, though.

Peppers’ burning effect is due to the capsaicin content. It’s measured by the Scoville Heat Scale:

  • Jalapeño peppers: is a pretty hot pepper variety with about 5,000 Scoville Heat Units
  • Banana peppers: is rather a sweet variety. They have only 500 Scoville Heat Units.
  • Pepperoncini peppers: almost have no heat. They have around 100-500 Scoville Heat Units.
  • Bell peppers: have no heat at all. They have 0 Scoville Heat Units.

If you want to increase the heat of your recipes, consider using Jalapeño, Hungarian wax, Anaheim, Poblanos, Cayenne, Tabasco, or Cubanelle peppers. These hot varieties are common in sauces.

Are pickled, canned, or jarred vegetables unhealthy?

Pickling is the process of preserving food by anaerobic fermentation for a period of time. In brine or some acid solution, such as vinegar. Brine is a solution of salt and water.

Pickled vegetables are convenient. But, we shouldn’t consume them regularly.

Weight gain, Body Mass Index & Blood Pressure

Scientists tried to figure out if high consumption of pickled vegetables can affect our weight. In 2018, they designed a study with 289 participants (8). The evidence showed that people who consumed too many pickled veggies had a higher Body Mass Index (BMI).

They also had higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Scientists found a significant association between pickle consumption and obesity. Pickled vegetables may manipulate our hormones, making us consume more calories.

Pickled Vegetables & cancer

Researchers of the National Cancer Center of Korea and from the Ministry of Health of Japan tried to find out if pickled vegetables increase the risk of gastric cancer (7). They came to the conclusion that a high intake of pickled vegetables may increase gastric cancer risk.

Scientists suggest that we should eat more fresh vegetables than pickled ones, in order to reduce gastric cancer risk.

A 2010 study showed that the total amount of vegetable intake is important for a decreased risk of breast cancer (9).

Another study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, suggested a potential two-fold increased risk of esophageal cancer associated with the intake of pickled vegetables (10).

A 2017 study investigated the association between high intake of pickled vegetables and colorectal cancer (11). The researchers studied the eating habits of participants. Especially the amount of pickled vegetables consumed. The results showed that a high intake of pickled vegetables may be a risk factor for colorectal cancer.

Moreover, they highlighted the possible synergistic effect of cured meats and pickled vegetables. Their combination may increase the risk of colorectal cancer. On the contrary, scientists believe that consuming tea and beans may decrease the risk of colorectal cancer. Even we continue to consume pickled vegetables.

Tea is rich in polyphenols, which have powerful anti-cancer effects. Other possible health benefits of green tea are reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases and increased overall longevity.

What type of pickled vegetables should I prefer?

If you enjoy your pickled vegetables once in a while, at least try to buy pickled vegetables which:

  • are low in sodium. We need sodium, but just a little. Pickled vegetables will skyrocket your daily sodium intake. Prefer brands with the minimum sodium content.
  • contain vinegar. Vinegar has many health benefits. Most noteworthy, vinegar helps the body to control blood sugar.
  • are fermented. Fermented foods naturally contain probiotics. These are good for gut microbiota. Probiotics keep your digestive system healthy.

Sources:

  1. NIH-National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI): Fresh and pickled vegetable consumption and gastric cancer in Japanese and Korean populations: a meta-analysis of observational studies.
  3. NCBI-National Center for Biotechnology Information: Pickle Consumption is Associated with Body Mass Index and Blood Pressure among Iranian Female College Students: a Cross-Sectional Study (pdf)
  4. NCBI-Vegetables, but not pickled vegetables, are negatively associated with the risk of breast cancer.
  5. British Journal of Cancer: Pickled vegetables and the risk of oesophageal cancer: a meta-analysis
  6. Pubmed: Intake of Pickled Vegetables and Colorectal Cancer
  7. Academy of Nutrition and Diabetics: Dietary fat increases vitamin D-3 absorption.