Spices constitute an essential dietary ingredient. Hot peppers are commonly used as a culinary spice. The benefits of using them are not only related to taste, but also to their positive health-promoting effect. This is associated with polyphenolic compounds and other compounds showing antioxidant properties contained in the fruit of hot peppers, such as capsaicin. The objective of the research study was to determine the content of polyphenolic compounds, including flavonoids and capsaicinoids, the antioxidant properties and the ability to reduce iron ions in spices containing hot pepper and available on the Polish market. Aqueous-ethanolic extracts were prepared of 7 different spices labelled by the manufacturers as „hot pepper”, „chilli” or „cayenne pepper”, and of the home grown jalapeño chilli. In those extracts the total content of polyphenolic compounds (using the Folin-Ciocalteu method) and flavonoids were determined. Also FRAP and DPPH• antioxidant tests were performed; the content of capsaicinoids was spectrophotometrically determined and calculated as capsaicin. The spices available on the Polish market did not differ significantly as regards their antioxidant properties, however they differed very much from the home grown and home dried jalapeño chilli that was distinguished by the highest content of capsaicin and the highest antioxidant activity values. Most likely it was the effect of the drying and storing parameters of jalapeño chilli. Moreover, the industrially produced spices may contain other substances added, which increase the volume of the product and at the same time decrease the quality of the final product. Based on the research carried out, it was concluded that the spices with chilli pepper could be a good source of antioxidant compounds in diet.
hot pepper, polyphenols, capsaicin, capsaicinoids, antioxidant properties, SHU