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Hot Stuff: The Health Benefits of Chili Peppers

J. A. Young

Ranging from mild to hot, chili peppers are generally beloved by cooks for their ability to raise the heat on wide variety of dishes, but according to research, these peppy peppers may also provide additional health benefits. The following article reveals the healthful side of chili peppers with regard to healing properties and cooking considerations.

Most chili pepper lovers may not be aware of their associated health benefits because the nutritional benefits of chili peppers are somewhat negligible. Although chili peppers offer some contribution to vitamin and mineral requirements, they are eaten in such small quantities that their contribution to nutritional values is scarcely worth mentioning. Nevertheless, these peppers pack a punch when it comes to healthy benefits.

Members of the nightshade family, chili peppers are sultry vegetables that are generally used to spice up cooking. But when it comes to health benefits, chili peppers offer some of the following: increase the body’s calorie-burning potential, stimulate digestion, reduce the risk for blood clot formation, clear congestion due to common colds and coughs, and possibly provide pain relief. Also, chili peppers have a high level of vitamin C.

Since blood clots are the harbingers of heart attack and stroke, it’s useful to know the potential chili peppers have to discourage these dangerous formations. A diet where chili peppers are regularly eaten may prevent the development of blood clots and stimulate good blood circulation throughout the body.

Capsaicin is the source of the chili pepper’s heat and the hotter the pepper, the more of this substance is concentrated within it. Eating these hot peppers can cause a person to break out in a sweat and cause the eyes to water and the nose to run. This stimulating action, however, can help to clear out airway congestion which is especially useful when suffering from a cold or cough.

Chili peppers may also assist with good digestion. The peppers appear to increase gastric acid which is needed to kill most bacteria contained in the food. Also, eating chili peppers appears to speed up metabolism and cause the body to quickly burn calories which is great news for dieters who like their food hot and spicy.

Finally, chili peppers may help people ward off pain. Chili peppers have a numbing effect on pain which has not been entirely explained by science as yet. This untapped potential may have future medicinal uses when it comes to combating pain associated with a variety of ailments.

Chili pepper fans may want to limit their consumption, however, to a moderate rate. Heavy chili pepper consumption has been associated with an increased risk of stomach cancer. Some healthcare providers also warn people with peptic ulcers to forgo the culinary pleasures of chili peppers. Chili pepper consumption can also aggravate hemorrhoids and conditions like gout or irritable bowel syndrome.

If the hottest varieties seem too hot to handle when it comes to cooking, consider using Hungarian paprika or Spanish pimento to add a mild kick to your meals. Habanero and Scotch bonnet chili peppers are among the hottest varieties, but there are many others that fall in between.

When cooking with chili peppers, most recipes call for them to be seeded before use. If too much has been added to a dish, it can be cooled off by adding in some plain yogurt. Chili peppers are widely used in hot countries where there are many recipes that call for their use. Yet, they can be used to spice up nearly any bland dish and provide some of the great health benefits just discussed.

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