Chili peppers, despite their fiery “hotness”, are one of very popular spices known for their medicinal and health benefiting properties. The chili, actually, is a fruit pod from the plant belonging to the nightshade family (Solanaceae), within the genus, capsicum.
Though people love spicy food primarily for its flavor, studies prove that spices confer a host of health benefits. According to “The New York Times”, spicy food ingredients, such as hot peppers and horseradish, may help treat symptoms of the common cold. Other than helping you work up a sweat, some spices contain cancer-fighting antioxidants that may help prevent or slow the growth of cancerous cells.
The main component in chillies is a chemical called Capsaicin, which is responsible for the intense heat sensation. Capsaicin lowers blood sugar levels, improves heart health, boost circulation and protects against strokes. Eating chillies can have a very positive impact on people who are overweight or suffer from diabetes because they reduce the insulin levels. Known as circulation boosters, chillies can have a major impact on your health by boosting circulation and also act as a blood thinner to help protect against strokes.
Health benefits of chili peppers
Some spicy foods have anti-cancer potential. Turmeric, a peppery-flavored spice native to India, contains the active antioxidant curcumin, which has shown some anti-cancer effects in lab studies. Though small studies have shown positive results, according to the Mayo Clinic, curcumin requires further investigation before being used for cancer treatment. The American Cancer Society suggests that capsaicin may help slow the growth of prostate cancer cells. Further studies on humans are needed and, thus, it is not recommended for treatment at this time.
Many studies now reveal that Chillies can have a Therapeutic effect on the body, allowing one to relax more easily. Capsaicin blocks a natural chemical called Substance P, which is involved in the transmission and perception of pain. As a result Chillies can be useful in relieving and preventing common problems such as headaches, migraines and discomfort caused by sinus problems, allowing a person to relax more easily.
Capsaicin also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which lend themselves perfectly to the relief of conditions such as irritable bowel, neuropathy caused by the onset of diabetes and psoriasis.
Capsaicin, the active ingredient found in jalapenos, cayenne pepper and red chili peppers, may lower bad cholesterol, thus improving heart function. According to a study presented in the American Chemical Society, capsaicin helps reduce the accumulation of cholesterol in the body by increasing its breakdown rate. The medical team also found that capsaicin blocks a gene that narrows the arteries, thus increasing blood flow in the vessels.
Other Health Benefits
Chillies Help to Burn Fat
Capsaicin is also a thermogenic compound, and increases the metabolic rate, which aids in the fat burning process. Studies reveal that eating chillies can raise your metabolic rate by up to 23% for about 3 hours.
Lastly, eating Chillies has recently been shown to lower cholesterol, and to reduce the amount of fibrin in the blood, and as a result, lower the blood’s tendency to clot.
Chilies also slow down the growth of H. pylori, the bacteria that causes certain kinds of ulcers.