The documented health benefits from hot peppers continues to grow at a break-neck speed, similar to the increasing popularity of consuming hot foods in various forms. The heat and health benefits comes from a chemical called capsaicin.
Historically, spicy additions to food helped prevent spoilage in warm climates before the invention of refrigeration. Capsaicin’s anti-microbial properties inhibit as much as 75% of bacteria growth. People from cultures who lived and survived due to the use of various spices passed down to the next of kin spicy recipes and taste buds desiring extra zing in food.
Adding hot peppers, hot sauces and hot powders to food continues to protect us from food poisoning even though we now refrigerate food. To maximize these health benefits, eating the hottest pepper would magnify these effects.
Below are 10 health benefits of hot peppers.
1. Benefits the Digestive Tract
This may sound counter-intuitive, but the capsaicin in peppers actually act as an anti-irritant. People with ulcers have been told for years to avoid hot spicy foods, but research has revealed that peppers are beneficial to ulcers.
For example, pepper powder provides trace amounts of anti-oxidants and other chemicals to aid digestive issues such as, healing an upset stomach, reducing intestinal gas, curing diarrhea and acting as a natural remedy for cramps.
It does this by reducing the acidity in the digestive tract that causes ulcers. It also helps produce saliva and stimulates gastric juices aiding digestion.
2. Promotes a Healthy Heart
It also aids the circulatory system and prevents heart disease by lowering blood serum cholesterol and reduces lipid deposits, and therefore, reverses excessive blood clotting. It also dilates the blood vessels to aid in blood flow.
3. Mitigates Migraines
Have you ever had a pain on a body part that was your sole focus until you had another pain that was even worse? The original pain simply disappeared when your brain focused on the new injury. This phenomenon is what happens to a migraine when you consume hot peppers. Your body becomes desensitized to the migraine and the overall sensation of pain is lessened.
4. Relieves Joint Pain
Due to the powerful pain-relieving properties of the capsaicin from peppers, it can be applied to the skin to reduce the chemical P, the ingredient that carries pain messages to the brain. Ultimately, the pain receptors exhaust themselves by depleting the body’s reserves. Once this happens, the capsaicin acts as a pain reliever. It is used effectively for shingles, HIV neuropathy and other types of pain.
5. Improves Metabolism / Promotes Weight Loss
Spicy peppers revs up the metabolic rate by generating the thermogenic processes in our body that generates heat. That process utilizes energy, and thereby, burns additional calores. In addition, if hot peppers are consumed at breakfast, the appetite is suppressed the rest of the day which ultimately helps in weight loss. It may even alter proteins in your body to combat fat accumulation.
Capsaicin also has been studied as a holistic method to for weight loss. It will selectively destroy nerve fibers that send messages from the stomach to the brain.
6. Quells Psoriasis
Psoriasis is an itchy skin condition resulting in ugly skin patches. Capsaicin cream will significantly reduce the number of cells to replicating and aids in the reversal of the auto-immune skin lesions.
7. Reduces Cancer Risk
Since tne capsaicin in pepper flesh has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it is being studied as a cancer-fighter. It reduces the growth of prostate cancer cells, while leaving normal cells unharmed. Research also shows consumption of large quantities of peppers effective against breast, pancreatic and bladder cancers. (8 large habaneros per week)
8. Fights the Flu, Colds and Fungal Infections
Hot peppers are chalked full of beta carotene and antioxidants that support your immune system and will aid in fighting off colds and the flu. Research has found that nasal sprays containing capsaicin reduce congestion. Increased body temperature from the ingestion of hot peppers triggers the immune system into action in fighting the norovirus (cold), flu viruses.
Consumption of peppers fights against 16 fungal strains by reducing fungal pathogens.
9. Prevents Bad Breath
To keep your significant other attracted to you, eating hot pepper powder acts as a disinfectant to the air you breathe out by improving the odor of your breath.
10. Prevents Allergies
Due to the anti-inflammatory benefits of capsaicin, hot peppers can help prevent allergies and symptoms from allergies.
Cayenne Pepper Benefits Your Gut, Heart & Beyond – Dr. Axe. (2015, May 23). Retrieved September 17, 2015, from http://draxe.com/cayenneof-pepper-benefits/
Food bacteria-spice survey shows why some cultures like it hot | Cornell Chronicle. (n.d.). Retrieved September 17, 2015, from http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/1998/03/food-bacteria-spice-survey-shows-why-some-cultures-it-hot
Using Chili Peppers for Pain Relief. (n.d.). Retrieved September 17, 2015, from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/07/14/chili-peppers-pain-relief.aspx
Which Hot Peppers Speed Up Your Metabolism Best? (2013, August 16). Retrieved September 17, 2015, from http://www.livestrong.com/article/36905-hot-peppers-speed-up-metabolism/
Zhang, W., & Po, L. (1994, March 22). The effectiveness of topically applied capsaicin. Retrieved September 17, 2015, from http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00196108?LI=true#page-1