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Cayenne pepper vs. Chili powder spice — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Erna Harutyunyan by Erna Harutyunyan | Last updated on January 11, 2024
Medically reviewed by Elen Khachatrian Article author photo Elen Khachatrian
Cayenne pepper
vs
Chili powder spice

Summary

Chili powder spice and cayenne pepper, both popular spices, offer different nutritional profiles. Chili powder spice is higher in ironcoppervitamin Efibervitamin K, and selenium. On the other hand, cayenne pepper stands out with more vitamin Cvitamin A, and vitamin B6. Notably, chili powder spice covers daily sodium needs significantly more than cayenne pepper, with a 123% difference, while cayenne pepper contains less sodium. Additionally, chili powder spice has three times more copper.

Introduction

This article contrasts and compares two of the most popular and extensively used spiceschili powder spice and cayenne pepper (a reasonably spicy chili pepper). Topics for comparison are based on dietary differences and health advantages.

What’s The Actual Differences?

Chili powder spice is a complex blend featuring ground-dried chili peppersherbs like cumingarlic powder, Mexican oregano, and salt, while cayenne pepper consists solely of ground-dried chili peppers, providing a more concentrated and intense spiciness

Chili powder blend incorporates diverse elements like cumin, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt, contributing to its popularity. The blend of spices delivers a well-rounded flavor with moderate heat. Additionally, pure chili powder is made exclusively from driedfinely ground chili peppers, varying in flavor and heat levels depending on the pepper types used.

Classification

Cayenne pepper is a specific chili pepper belonging to the Capsicum genus and the Solanaceae, or nightshade family. On the other hand, chili powder spice is a blend of ground chili peppers and various other spices, and it doesn't belong to a specific botanical genus or family.

Taste and Uses

Ground cayenne pepper and chili powder have distinctive culinary uses in various cuisines and dishes. Cayenne pepper, known for its fiery kick, is versatile, enhancing various recipes, from sauces and soups to seasoning blends. It is a popular ingredient in MexicanIndian, and Thai cuisine, and it is also used in many American dishes, such as chili and hot sauces. On the other hand, chili powder is a spice blend typical in Latin American dishes such as enchiladastacos, stews, and sauces like Chili Con Carne. Whether a subtle kick for Cheesy Zucchini and Chicken "Enchiladas" or a Tex-Mex flair in Instant Pot Tex-Mex Beef Stew, chili powder adds complexity to earthy, savory flavors. While they share some uses, their distinct flavor profiles make them less interchangeable, especially in sweet or milder dishes.

Nutrition

The nutritional infographics in this article are presented for 100g servings of chili powder spice and cayenne pepper. However, spices are not naturally consumed in such large quantities. The average serving size of cayenne is ¼ tsp or 0.5g, and the chili powder spice is 1 tsp or 2.7 g.

Macronutrients and Calories

Chili powder spice and cayenne peppers are nutrient-rich, making them nutrient-dense spices.

Chili powder spice consists of 11% water, and cayenne pepper consists of 8.05% water, making cayenne pepper nutritionally denser.

Macronutrient Comparison

Macronutrient breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Fats +20.9%
Contains more Carbs +13.9%
Contains more Protein +12.1%
Contains more Water +33.5%
Contains more Other +95.5%
12% 17% 57% 8% 6%
Protein: 12.01 g
Fats: 17.27 g
Carbs: 56.63 g
Water: 8.05 g
Other: 6.04 g
13% 14% 50% 11% 12%
Protein: 13.46 g
Fats: 14.28 g
Carbs: 49.7 g
Water: 10.75 g
Other: 11.81 g
Contains more Fats +20.9%
Contains more Carbs +13.9%
Contains more Protein +12.1%
Contains more Water +33.5%
Contains more Other +95.5%

Calories

Due to having a 0.5g (cayenne pepper) and 2.7g (chili powder spice) serving size, spices are very low in calories. One serving of chili powder spice provides eight calories, while one serving of cayenne pepper provides two calories.

100g of each spice, chili powder spice provides 282 calories, whereas cayenne pepper provides 318 calories.

Protein

Both spices have almost similar amounts of protein. Chili powder spice contains 1.45 g more protein.

Fats

Cayenne pepper has 3 g more fat than chili powder spice.

The predominant fats in chili powder spice and cayenne pepper are polyunsaturated fatty acidsTrans fats and cholesterol are naturally absent in both spices.

Fat Type Comparison

Fat type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains less Saturated Fat -24.5%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +16.8%
Equal in Polyunsaturated fat - 8.006
23% 19% 58%
Saturated Fat: 3.26 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 2.75 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 8.37 g
18% 23% 59%
Saturated Fat: 2.462 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 3.211 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 8.006 g
Contains less Saturated Fat -24.5%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +16.8%
Equal in Polyunsaturated fat - 8.006

Carbohydrates

Carbs are the main macronutrients in chili powder spice and cayenne peppers, making up over 50% and 57% of the nutrients. 

Cayenne spice is somewhat higher in total and net carbs.  Chili powder spice contains 14.9g net carbs and 49.7g total carbs, while cayenne pepper contains 29.43g net carbs and 56.63g total carbs.

Carbohydrate type comparison

Carbohydrate type breakdown side-by-side comparison
11% 30% 60%
Starch: 0 g
Sucrose: 0.76 g
Glucose: 2.14 g
Fructose: 4.29 g
Lactose: 0 g
Maltose: 0 g
Galactose: 0 g

Fiber

Both spices are rich in dietary fiber. Chili powder spice has more fiber, with 34.8 grams, compared to 27.2 grams in cayenne pepper. 

Vitamins

Cayenne pepper is richer in vitamin A, providing 41,610 IU, compared to chili powder spice, with 29,650 IU. Additionally, cayenne pepper has more vitamin C and folate content than chili powder spice. On the other hand, chili powder spice has higher levels of vitamin E (38.14mg), vitamin B3 (11.6mg), vitamin B5 (0.888mg), and vitamin K (105.7 mg) compared to cayenne pepper. Chili powder spice and cayenne pepper have comparable vitamins B1, B2, and B6.

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
:
Contains more Vitamin A +40.3%
Contains more Vitamin C +10814.3%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +31.2%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +17%
Contains more Folate +278.6%
Contains more Vitamin E +27.9%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +33.3%
Contains more Choline +29.1%
Contains more Vitamin K +31.6%
Equal in Vitamin B2 - 0.94
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 2497% 597% 0% 255% 82% 213% 164% 0% 566% 80% 0% 29% 201%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 1779% 763% 0% 3% 63% 217% 218% 54% 484% 22% 0% 37% 265%
Contains more Vitamin A +40.3%
Contains more Vitamin C +10814.3%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +31.2%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +17%
Contains more Folate +278.6%
Contains more Vitamin E +27.9%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +33.3%
Contains more Choline +29.1%
Contains more Vitamin K +31.6%
Equal in Vitamin B2 - 0.94

Minerals

Chili powder spice provides more sodium (2867mg), calcium (330mg), iron (17.3mg), zinc (4.3mg), copper (1mg), and selenium (20.4 mg). On the other hand, cayenne pepper is more abundant in potassium (2014mg). 

Both contain almost similar amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese.

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
Contains less Sodium -99%
Contains more Manganese +17.6%
Contains more Calcium +123%
Contains more Iron +121.8%
Contains more Zinc +73.4%
Contains more Copper +168.1%
Contains more Selenium +131.8%
Equal in Magnesium - 149
Equal in Phosphorus - 300
Equal in Potassium - 1950
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 45% 293% 109% 126% 178% 4% 68% 125% 261% 48%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 99% 649% 107% 129% 173% 374% 118% 334% 222% 112%
Contains less Sodium -99%
Contains more Manganese +17.6%
Contains more Calcium +123%
Contains more Iron +121.8%
Contains more Zinc +73.4%
Contains more Copper +168.1%
Contains more Selenium +131.8%
Equal in Magnesium - 149
Equal in Phosphorus - 300
Equal in Potassium - 1950

Oxalates

The oxalate content of chili powder spice is 274mg per 100 grams. Chili powder spice is considered to be high in oxalates. There is currently no available information regarding the oxalate content of cayenne pepper.

Acidity

Both chili powder spice and cayenne pepper have similar acidity levels, with a PRAL (potential renal acid load) of -31.4, indicating an alkaline nature.

Weight Loss and Diets

Due to their small serving sizes, both spices are considered keto-friendly despite their high carb content.

During the Atkins diet, cayenne pepper can be consumed in moderation. MediterraneanDukan, and Paleo diets also allow the consumption of chili powder spice and cayenne peppers. Chili powder spice and cayenne peppers are great for anti-inflammatory diets.

The spices help with weight-loss diets through exact mechanisms. Both spices are rich in capsaicin, which increases satiety, stimulates thermogenesis, and regulates fat metabolism (1,2,3).

Health Benefits

Pain Relief

Although capsaicinoids are found in cayenne pepper and chili powder spice, capsaicin is found most in peppers (4). It attaches itself to pain receptors, rendering them impervious to all types of pain (5). It is essential to remember that the desensitization effect is temporary, as evidenced by a study that found that pain receptors returned three days after stopping capsaicin intake (6).

Cardiovascular Health and Diabetes 

Both chili powder spice and cayenne pepper, rich in capsaicin, have been associated with health benefits, particularly in reducing the risk of total and heart disease-related death (7,8).  The phytochemicals in chili peppers, including capsaicin, may positively impact metabolic syndrome and atherosclerosis by enhancing insulin sensitivityreducing body fat, and improving liver and heart functions (9,10,11).  Both spices have shown potential for improving insulin sensitivitymanaging blood glucose levels, and promoting weight loss, with studies indicating lower blood glucose and insulin levels in individuals consuming cayenne-rich diets (12,13).

 Digestive Health

Cayenne peppers and chili powder spice derived from chili peppers offer distinct characteristics and potential health effects. They are recognized for their gastroprotective effects, enhancing antioxidant enzyme activity in the mucosal layer of the stomach and intestines, thereby reducing mucosal injury (14). In animal studies, capsaicin from chili peppers, the substance responsible for their hot flavor, has been shown to stimulate alkali and mucus secretions and inhibit gastric acid secretion, providing benefits against gastric ulcers (15,16). However, individuals with peptic ulcers should exercise caution and avoid cayenne peppers if they experience dyspepsia or discomfort (17). On the other hand, chili peppers, known for their fiery taste due to capsaicin, can cause gastrointestinal distress, including abdominal paincramps, and diarrhea. Due to its intense burning sensation, the compound oleoresin capsicum extracted from chili peppers is a crucial ingredient in pepper sprays. While regular exposure to capsaicin may desensitize specific pain neurons over time, individuals with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may experience exacerbated symptoms, necessitating moderation in the consumption of chili and other spicy foods (18,19,20).

Cancer

Studies suggest that cayenne or chili peppers may decrease the risk of various cancers, including liverlungcolorectalcervix, and prostate, owing to their antioxidantanti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory effects (21). The active components in peppers have demonstrated the ability to induce programmed cell deathinhibit cancer cellular proliferation and migration, and increase radiotherapy and chemotherapy sensitivity (22). However, caution is warranted as test-tube and animal studies and some human observational studies present conflicting findings. While capsaicin, a plant compound in chili peppers, has shown potential in both increasing and decreasing cancer risk in various studies, observational research has linked chili pepper consumption to an elevated risk of gallbladder and stomach cancers, particularly in some regions like India, where red chili powder is identified as a risk factor for oral and throat cancer (23,24,25,26). Observational studies cannot establish causation, and further research is needed to determine the long-term safety of heavy chili intake or capsaicin supplements.

Article author photo Erna Harutyunyan
Education: General Medicine at YSMU
Last updated: January 11, 2024
Medically reviewed by Elen Khachatrian

Infographic

Cayenne pepper vs Chili powder spice infographic
Infographic link

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the rightmost column. It displays the amounts side by side, giving a clearer understanding of the difference.
Cayenne pepper Chili powder spice
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in Glycemic Index ok
Lower in price ok
Rich in minerals ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Cayenne pepper Chili powder spice Opinion
Net carbs 29.43g 14.9g Cayenne pepper
Protein 12.01g 13.46g Chili powder spice
Fats 17.27g 14.28g Cayenne pepper
Carbs 56.63g 49.7g Cayenne pepper
Calories 318kcal 282kcal Cayenne pepper
Fructose 4.29g Chili powder spice
Sugar 10.34g 7.19g Chili powder spice
Fiber 27.2g 34.8g Chili powder spice
Calcium 148mg 330mg Chili powder spice
Iron 7.8mg 17.3mg Chili powder spice
Magnesium 152mg 149mg Cayenne pepper
Phosphorus 293mg 300mg Chili powder spice
Potassium 2014mg 1950mg Cayenne pepper
Sodium 30mg 2867mg Cayenne pepper
Zinc 2.48mg 4.3mg Chili powder spice
Copper 0.373mg 1mg Chili powder spice
Manganese 2mg 1.7mg Cayenne pepper
Selenium 8.8µg 20.4µg Chili powder spice
Vitamin A 41610IU 29650IU Cayenne pepper
Vitamin A RAE 2081µg 1483µg Cayenne pepper
Vitamin E 29.83mg 38.14mg Chili powder spice
Vitamin C 76.4mg 0.7mg Cayenne pepper
Vitamin B1 0.328mg 0.25mg Cayenne pepper
Vitamin B2 0.919mg 0.94mg Chili powder spice
Vitamin B3 8.701mg 11.6mg Chili powder spice
Vitamin B5 0.888mg Chili powder spice
Vitamin B6 2.45mg 2.094mg Cayenne pepper
Folate 106µg 28µg Cayenne pepper
Choline 51.5mg 66.5mg Chili powder spice
Vitamin K 80.3µg 105.7µg Chili powder spice
Tryptophan 0.07mg Chili powder spice
Threonine 0.27mg Chili powder spice
Isoleucine 0.39mg Chili powder spice
Leucine 0.63mg Chili powder spice
Lysine 0.36mg Chili powder spice
Methionine 0.13mg Chili powder spice
Phenylalanine 0.37mg Chili powder spice
Valine 0.54mg Chili powder spice
Histidine 0.18mg Chili powder spice
Saturated Fat 3.26g 2.462g Chili powder spice
Monounsaturated Fat 2.75g 3.211g Chili powder spice
Polyunsaturated fat 8.37g 8.006g Cayenne pepper
Omega-6 - Gamma-linoleic acid 0.014g Chili powder spice
Omega-3 - ALA 0.519g Chili powder spice

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Cayenne pepper Chili powder spice
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low Glycemic Index diet ok

People also compare

Vitamins & Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score

The summary scores indicate the extent to which this food can fulfill your daily vitamin and mineral requirements if you consume 3 servings, consisting of 100 grams of each (an approximation of 3 serving sizes).
Vitamins Daily Need Coverage Score
360%
Cayenne pepper
300%
Chili powder spice
Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
125%
Cayenne pepper
231%
Chili powder spice

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Sugar?
Chili powder spice
Chili powder spice is lower in Sugar (difference - 3.15g)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Chili powder spice
Chili powder spice is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.798g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Chili powder spice
Chili powder spice is lower in glycemic index (difference - 32)
Which food is cheaper?
Chili powder spice
Chili powder spice is cheaper (difference - $2.5)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Chili powder spice
Chili powder spice is relatively richer in minerals
Which food contains less Sodium?
Cayenne pepper
Cayenne pepper contains less Sodium (difference - 2837mg)
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.

References

All the values for which the sources are not specified explicitly are taken from FDA’s Food Central. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Cayenne pepper - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170932/nutrients
  2. Chili powder spice - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171319/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000-calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.