“Red hot chili peppers”… Not the band – but something you could start using in your cooking if you aren’t doing so already. They are stacked with health benefits and therefore make a great addition to your recipes.

Spice things up

If you are already a fan of a bit of ‘kick’ and spice then this will be music to your ears (even though we’re not talking about the band!) and you can enjoy the spice in the knowledge you are also delivering several favours to your body.

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So apart from that wonderful chili punch and excitement it brings to your food, do you know what other benefits are being brought to your plate courtesy of chili peppers? Let’s find out…

Chili peppers benefits

Chili peppers contain an active ingredient called capsaicin. It is thought this actually acts as a defence for the plant against mammals and certain kinds of fungi. And although it might have the same effect of some humans, for us it is actually associated with the prevention of many different health problems.

1. Cardiovascular diseases

chili peppers benefits_2Numerous studies have shown that chili pepper’s components, such as capsaicin, help lower cholesterol levels in the body and they also allow more blood to flow through blood vessels by blocking the action of a certain gene.

This way chili peppers may be working in prevention of serious cardiovascular diseases.

Moreover other studies associate capsaicin with small infarct sizes, protection against reperfusion injury and platelet anti-aggregating.

2. Cancer

Different investigators have supported at intervals the anti-cancer effect of capsaicin in numerous conditions like gastric cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, leukemia and hepatocellular carcinoma, while others support just the opposite. It is clear that more research and evidence is needed in this field.

3. Weight loss

chili peppers benefits_3Many different studies have supported that capsaicin leads to an increase in energy expenditure by increasing the diet-induced-thermogenesis and lipid oxidation.

Other studies report a decrease in appetite and reduced fat accumulation in the adipose tissue after capsaicin intake. Thus it seems that it might be a helpful tool towards weight loss. However, using it in excess might cause gastrointestinal problems.

4. Pain relief

Clinical trials have shown an analgesic effect of capsaicin in humans, when used in a patch.

More specifically it seems to reduce neuropathic pain resulting from post-herpetic neuralgia, post-surgical neuralgia, post-traumatic neuropathy, polyneuropathy and mixed pain syndrome. Besides, capsaicin is approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug

Administration and is used in several topical medications for pain relief. The effect of capsaicin in many other clinical situations such as oral mucositis, migraine, rhinopathy, kidney stones, appendicitis, gout, giant cell arteritis, chronic pancreatitis, tension headache, dysmenorrhea, peripheral vascular disease, is being studied, but there isn’t yet enough evidence to support its action.

Therefore, more investigation is required in human subjects in order to identify other potential benefits of capsaicin.

Are you a fan of the hot sensation that red hot chili peppers produce? If you do find their flavour pleasant, start using them within a balanced diet and take advantage of all their benefits!

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