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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Not Just an Appetizer: Health Benefits of Eating Chili Pepper

Fond of adding chili peppers on your food to increase your appetite?
How about enjoying your chili-spiced meals knowing there are so many benefits for your body?
If you're a non-chili eater, perhaps it's time to change your mind.

Is there any place in the world where chili pepper is not known? That fruit of Capsicum pepper plants which is noted for their hot flavor? Perhaps none.

Although not everyone is keen on extra hot chili, there are those who simply can't eat their food without chili, in any form, to increase their appetite.

So far, I haven't been to a restaurant where they don't have chili, chili sauces or even very hot catsup for the chili lovers.

When I asked family members and friends why they love chili on their food, most of them said it's because chili increases their appetite and makes their food more delicious. But is that all there is to chili?

Well, how would chili lovers feel when they learn that chili has its many benefits for the body as well?

I'm not strongly fond of chilis myself, but after knowing that it has its perks, I have started adding a little spicier chili sauce to my food although it makes my eyes a little watery at first and burns my mouth. Whew!

Why beneficial?

Turns out chili is high in nutrients such as calcium plus vitamins and minerals among others.

The main bioactive plant compound in chili peppers, capsaicin, is responsible for the intense burning heat we feel after each mouthful of spiced food causing us to want to drink a lot of water -- which is good for hydration.

Interestingly, chili improves cognitive functioning. Studies say that we need proper amounts of oxygen and iron for us to achieve and maintain good cognitive performance; so it would help to spice up our meals with chili peppers daily as it could decrease our chances of getting cognitive disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, especially as we get older.

Capsaicin also helps to improve the condition of the heart, boosts the circulatory system, and thins the blood to lower the risk of strokes; so daily chili consumption is not bad after all.

It is also said to be useful in relieving and preventing common problems such as headaches, migraine attacks, and sinus discomfort; acting as a relaxant.
Also, chili helps to lower blood sugar levels, which means it’s perhaps advisable for those who are overweight or those with high sugar levels or is diabetic as moderate consumption of it could help to significantly control insulin levels.

It also helps to burn fat in our body because capsaicin is also a thermogenic compound that helps to increase the metabolic rate, and which, in turn, helps in the fat-burning process. No wonder my chili-loving brother is so slim compared to me!

It also aids in lowering cholesterol and reducing the amount of fibrin in our blood; thereby lowering the blood’s tendency to clot. Adding chili spice to our meals has been found to protect against the build-up of cholesterol in our blood. Sounds good, right?

Another benefit is that capsaicin also provides relief from pain and also aids in reducing inflammation because it has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties whereby regular intake of chiles could help to minimize the effects of auto-inflammatory diseases like arthritis and rheumatoid on the body which means it could be a safe alternative to other painkillers as it also prevents the gastric damage associated with anti-inflammatory painkillers.
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It is also helpful in clearing congestion when you have a cold attack. How? Some soup recipe glazed with a moderate amount of chili would help to effectively open nasal passages and allow easier breathing. Not too many chili please!

Do you know that chili intake also improves longevity?

A number of researchers from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences have reportedly been observing the eating habits of roughly half a million Chinese people age 30 and up and they noticed that in a span of seven years, those who include chili peppers in their diet six or seven times a week had a lower risk of mortality than those who do not consume peppery food on a regular basis. This could be attributed perhaps to the little known fact that chili peppers increase levels of IGF-1 in blood, which is an anti-aging hormone.

In addition, the American Association for Cancer Research has stated that capsaicin has the capacity to kill leukemia and cancer cells. Just like turmeric - a spice used in making curry - chiles could inhibit tumor growth and cancer.

No excessive addiction to chili, please!

Lastly, because it inhibits cancer cell growth, the plant compound also minimizes the risk of stomach cancer, as per cancer research studies, because the capsaicin actually protects the stomach lining.

                                                             (Image via Pixabay)

But do take note that too much addiction to chili is not advisable as it could cause stomach damage which might eventually lead to stomach cancer. 

Remember the old adage that "too much of anything is never good to our health." Chili included.

Knowing that chili has many benefits for our well-being, we can enjoy more than extra hot chili sauce on our pizza and other food, but make sure not to 'overburn'.

Meanwhile, here's a video from Wellness via YouTube for additional info:

This article is filed under: Health, Article About Health, Health And Nutrition, Health Advice, Health Informatics