Chili peppersChili peppers are also known as red peppers and are relative of the bell pepper. These hot peppers are widely used to spice up dishes. Chili peppers are native to Latin America and after the discovery of the Americas in the 15th century they were spread worldwide. There are hundreds of different types of chili peppers, each with their own intensity. Capsaicin is the chemical in chili peppers that provides the sharpness and the amount of capsaicin that the chili peppers contain determines their ultimate sharpness. The heat from chili peppers is indicated by the Scoville scale, which indicates how far a chili pepper extract added to sugar syrup must be diluted until the heat is not longer detectable. The scale runs from 0 Scoville units for the ordinary bell pepper to about 280.000 Scoville units for the most spicy chili peppers like the Habanero. The much used powdered Cayenne pepper has a range of about 50.000 to 100.000 Scoville units.

Chili peppersBesides that capsaicin is responsible for the sharpness of the chili peppers this chemical compound also has many beneficial properties for your health. Capsaicin for exmple stimulates your metabolism. It also suppresses your hunger feeling and ensures that you'll have fewer cravings for sweets. The body heat you experience after eating chili peppers, called thermogenesis, costs your body energy and thus calories to produce. These are all beneficial properties for people who want to lose weight.

When you consume chili peppers regularly you have less risk of elevated blood insulin levels, a condition that's linked to type 2 diabetes. The amount of insulin needed to lower your blood sugar after a meal decreases when that meal contained chili peppers. When you use chili peppers in your meals on a regular basis the amount of insulin needed is reduced even more. The speed at which the liver breaks doen the insulin is also improved by the chili peppers. So you use less insulin and you use it more effectively.

SpicyChili peppers are also beneficial for your heart and blood vessels. In countries where chili peppers are used more liberally, people have far less often heart attacks or strokes. This is because the compounds in chili peppers lower your cholesterol levels and increase the ability of the body to dissolve blood clots. Chili peppers have a vasodilatory effect in the body and also increase the amount of blood that can reach the heart. There are even reports of people who have survived a heart attack by consuming chili peppers.

The bright colour of chili peppers is an indication of their high beta-carotene (provitamin A) content, of which they are a very good source. Chili peppers are also a very good source of vitamin C, and lots more vitamins and minerals, which are all beneficial for your immune system.
Here follows a list with some of the health benefits of eating chili peppers:
  • Chili peppers are a source of vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, C, E, & K.
  • Chili peppers are a source of the minerals calcium, copper, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, zinc & sodium.
  • Chili peppers aid with weight loss by stimulating the metabolism, suppressing hunger feelings and cravings for sweets.
  • Chili peppers often protection against the development of type 2 diabetes
  • Chili peppers are beneficial for the heart and blood vessels.
  • Chili peppers cause a drop in your cholesterol level.
  • Chili peppers protect against gastric ulcers by killing any bacteria you may have ingested and they stimulate the release of protective digestive juices in the stomach.
  • Chili peppers help stop the spread of prostate cancer and destroy the existing cancer cells.
  • Chili peppers open up a congested nose and sinuses and help you cough up mucus.
  • Chili peppers have anti-inflammatory properties and are particularly effective in the treatment of arthritis.
  • Chili peppers increase your ability to fight of diseases.
  • Chili peppers are a natural painkiller.
Tip: When you have eaten a bit to much chili peppers, you could eat something fatty like yogurt for relief, drinking does not help but rather aggravates the burning sensation in your mouth, this is because capsaicin is poorly soluble in water.