Health benefits of Aleppo pepper includes its rich source of vitamin A, fibers, antioxidants with potential savior against cardio vascular diseases, increasing immunity, helping digestion and increasing metabolic rate.
Aleppo pepper or Aleppo Chili as the name suggests originates from Aleppo city in Northern Syria. Aleppo Pepper is popular in Mediterranean region including Lebanon, Turkey and Greece. Aleppo pepper belongs to Capsicum annuum type of pepper and also known as Halaby pepper, Near Eastern pepper, Halab Pepper or Pul Biber (Turkish). Aleppo Pepper has mild “chilliness” or heat. It leaves slightly fruitiness, cumin/rasin like taste. This pepper has a heat level of around 10000 on the Scoville scale. (Bell pepper scores zero on this scale, while hottest chili scores 16 billion). Though being mild, it is bright red in colour, offering food colour of hotness. Its described on some website as having the flavor of “sweetness, roundness and perfume of the best kind of sundried tomatoes, but with a substantial kick behind it.”
Often the flakes and powder Aleppo pepper is prepared from ripe dried fruit pods of this pepper. Removal of seeds makes this pepper further mild. Aleppo pepper has mainly culinary use. It is commonly used in flavouring salads, fish, chicken, meat, soups, kebabs, vegetables. It blends very well along with other herbs and spices.
Health benefits of Aleppo Pepper
Some health benefits of Aleppo pepper are listed below:
Excellent source of Vitamin A
Aleppo pepper similar to red coloured food items is high on carotene and Vitamin A. Along with Vitamin A, it is rich source of Vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, manganese. Vitamin A is known to aid tissues of eyes and improves vision.
Works for immunity and digestion
Aleppo pepper is believed to boost the body immunity and helps in digestion of food. It contains fiber which is good for your colons and keeps your digestive tract properly working. Alkaloids in Aleppo pepper acts as digestive stimulant.
As powerful antioxidant
Aleppo pepper contains various bio active compounds having antioxidant properties. Antioxidant helps remove unwanted free radicals in body and keeps heart and body tissues healthy. Due to these antioxidant properties of Aleppo pepper it can be considered good for your heart and reduces risk of heart attack.
Fights cough as expectorant
Various bio active compounds in Aleppo pepper are believed to have mucus thinning properties and act as expectorant for asthmatic or cough conditions. It gives relief from nasal congestion and dilates airways in lungs.
Increases metabolic rate
Next time you eat Aleppo pepper and you sweat, it shall be because of your increased metabolism. Similar to other pepper, it increases the metabolic rate of body. Sweating induced by consumption of hot pepper cools body and is one reason why it is commonly used in tropical regions. Tough calorie burn faster because of this increased metabolic rate, there doesn’t seem to be much health benefits for people wanting to loose weight, as this effect is temporary.
Aleppo pepper similar to other pepper has anti inflammatory properties. Aleppo pepper contains capsaicin which offers hotness and is believed to reduce impact of inflammation causing substances. Heat inducing properties of Aleppo Pepper helps relieve inflammation related to asthma, arthritis, nerve disorders.
Controls body sugar in diabetes
Capsaicin content in Aleppo pepper similar to other pepper is known to control body sugar levels. Clinical test results on mice have proved capsaicin as cure on diabetes.
Detox your body
Aleppo pepper similar to other chilies acts as detoxifying agents and helps removal of waste products from body. Along with being antioxidant, it thus helps in prevention of cancers.
Stimulant for body enzymes and hormone
Aleppo Peppers stimulate release of endorphins which have pain killing effect. Endorphins also have soothing effect on brain.
Aleppo Pepper Uses
Aleppo pepper use is popular in Syrian recipes. It is also used in various Mediterranean, Turkish and Lebanese recipes. Various articles, recipe books like this one by Paula Wolfert book “The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean” and demand by Turkish and Syrian immigrants have made Aleppo pepper popular in US and other markets.
As marinate to various sea food, chicken and meat, it adds distinct flavor to food. Aleppo pepper flakes are used in salads and kababs. Meze or mezze dishes served in Middle east use Aleppo pepper. There is no perfect substitute for Aleppo pepper. It is somewhere in between sweet paprika and cayenne.
Any Side effects?
Over consumption of Aleppo pepper for that matter any pepper should be avoided. It may affect inner linings of your stomach.
Aleppo Pepper Recipes – Try out some Turkish Chicken kebabs with Aleppo or Grilled Corn with Aleppo Pepper. Also look out for meze dishes with Aleppo. Try out boiled eggs or roasted chicken with Aleppo pepper flakes!
Where to buy Aleppo Pepper – Aleppo pepper flakes and powder are available in spices shelf in supermarket. One can buy Aleppo pepper online.
Apart from adding rich flavor and colour to food, consumption of Aleppo pepper can also add various benefits to your health. That’s why health benefits of Aleppo pepper and other pepper is an area of research in leading food institutes.Image Credits: Flickr - Pete Taylor