Poblano peppers (Capsicum annuum) are a type of chili pepper native to Mexico that can add zing to your meals.

They’re green and resemble other varieties of peppers, but they tend to be larger than jalapeños and smaller than bell peppers.

Fresh poblanos have a mild, slightly sweet flavor, although if they are left to ripen until they’re red, they taste much hotter.

Dried poblano peppers that are fully ripe and deep red are known as ancho chiles, a popular ingredient in mole sauces and other Mexican dishes.

This article provides a complete overview of poblano peppers, including their possible benefits and uses.

Poblanos are low in calories and rich in fiber and several micronutrients.

In fact, 1 cup (118 grams) of chopped raw poblano peppers provides (1):

  • Calories: 24
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Fat: less than 1 gram
  • Carbs: 5 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Vitamin C: 105% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Vitamin A: 30% of the DV
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): 2.5% of the DV
  • Potassium: 4% of the DV
  • Iron: 2.2% of the DV

Poblanos are particularly rich in vitamins A and C. These two nutrients act as antioxidants in your body and help fight underlying damage from free radicals, which may lead to disease (2).

Dried poblano peppers, or ancho chiles, have higher amounts of vitamins A and B2 and other nutrients, compared with fresh poblanos (3).

Summary

Poblano peppers are rich in fiber, vitamins A and C, and several other nutrients.

Due to their high amounts of nutrients and beneficial plant compounds, poblano peppers may provide health benefits.

However, there is no substantial research on the health effects of eating poblanos in particular.

Rich in antioxidants

Poblanos and other peppers in the Capsicum annuum family are rich in antioxidants, such as vitamin C, capsaicin, and carotenoids, some of which turn into vitamin A in your body (4).

Antioxidants help fight oxidative stress caused by excess free radicals.

Free radicals are reactive molecules that lead to underlying cell damage, which in turn may increase your risk of heart disease, cancer, dementia, and other chronic conditions (5).

Therefore, eating antioxidant-rich poblanos may help prevent illness related to oxidative stress (6, 7).

May have anticancer effects

Capsaicin, a compound in poblanos and other peppers that imparts a spicy taste, may exert anticancer effects.

Specifically, capsaicin may influence genes involved in the spread of cancer and promote cancer cell death, though its role in this process is not fully understood (8).

Test-tube studies suggest that capsaicin may exert anticancer activity against human lung and colorectal cancer cells (9, 10).

However, a review of 10 observational studies in humans found that low capsaicin intake was associated with protection against stomach cancer, while medium-high intake may increase the risk of this disease (11).

More research is needed to fully understand whether eating poblano peppers and other foods with capsaicin has anticancer effects.

May help fight pain and inflammation

Capsaicin may also fight inflammation and help alleviate pain.

Some studies suggest that it binds to nerve cell receptors and, in turn, decreases inflammation and pain (12, 13).

There is limited research on the effects of dietary capsaicin, especially from poblano peppers, on pain. Still, studies in humans and rats suggest that capsaicin supplements may fight inflammation (14, 15).

One study in 376 adults with inflammatory bowel diseases and other gastrointestinal issues found that capsaicin supplements prevented stomach damage (14).

Still, be sure to consult your healthcare provider before taking capsaicin supplements to treat a medical condition.

Could boost immunity

Poblano peppers are loaded with vitamin C, a water-soluble nutrient that’s vital to immune function. Not getting enough vitamin C can lead to an increased risk of developing an infection (16).

What’s more, the capsaicin in poblano peppers has been linked to optimal immune function.

Several animal studies have shown that capsaicin may influence genes involved in the immune response and help protect against autoimmune conditions (17, 18).

summary

While there’s no substantial research on the health effects of eating poblanos specifically, studies on the compounds in these peppers suggest that they may have anticancer effects, help fight inflammation, and even boost immunity.

Poblano peppers can be used in a variety of ways.

They can be enjoyed raw in salsas and other dips, as well as added to chilis, taco meat, or sauces.

To prepare a poblano pepper for these dishes, halve the pepper lengthwise, remove the stem and seeds, and then dice it into pieces.

You can also roast poblano peppers whole and then remove the skin, stem, and seeds.

One of the most popular ways to enjoy poblanos is stuffed with ground meat, beans, rice, spices, corn, and tomatoes.

To make stuffed poblanos, halve the peppers, remove the seeds, and roast them in the oven at 350°F (177°C) for 10–15 minutes.

Stuff each pepper half with filling and sprinkle cheese on top, then put them back in the oven for a few more minutes.

Summary

You can enjoy poblano peppers in salsas and tacos, or make stuffed poblanos by filling them with meat, beans, tomatoes, corn, and cheese and baking them in the oven.

Poblano peppers are a mild variety of chili peppers that are highly nutritious and equally delicious.

They’re rich in vitamins A and C, carotenoids, capsaicin, and other compounds that may act as antioxidants, have anticancer activity, and fight inflammation.

Poblano peppers can be added to soups, tacos, or salsas, or stuffed with meat, beans, rice, and cheese.