Do chillies have health benefits?
Chilli contains up to seven times the vitamin C level of an orange and has a range of health benefits, including fighting sinus congestion, aiding digestion and helping to relieve migraines and muscle, joint and nerve pain. It's also a good source of vitamins A and E, beta-carotene, folic acid and potassium.
So what’s in it for you? Well, according to the naturalfoodseries.com article published in February 2018 and shown below, chilli:
1. Improves Cognitive Functioning
You need proper amounts of oxygen and iron for you to achieve and maintain good cognitive performance. Spicing up your meals with chilli peppers everyday can decrease your chance of getting cognitive disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease when you reach old age.
2. Contributes To Red Blood Cell Formation
Anaemia and fatigue are caused by iron deficiency. Chilli peppers contain copper and iron. These minerals are vital for new blood cell formation.
Chilli pepper is also rich in folic acid. Folic acid aids in the production of red blood cells and fights anaemia. It also plays a vital role in rapid cell division and growth in pregnancy. Pregnant women must never undergo folic acid deficiency; otherwise it could lead to certain birth defects in newborns.
3. Reduces Blood Pressure and Prevents Cardiovascular Disease
Chillies contain potassium. Potassium is a mineral that plays different functions in the body. An adequate intake of potassium combined with folate can greatly reduce the risk of heart diseases. Potassium relaxes blood vessels; thus creating ideal blood flow.
Chilli peppers are also an excellent source of riboflavin and niacin. Niacin increases a person’s good cholesterol levels, also reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Niacin deficiency can only lead to a disease called Pellagra. Pellagra is characterized by insomnia, dementia, and diarrhoea.
Spicing up your meals with hot peppers is the first step you can take in preventing atherosclerosis.
4. Acts as Natural Pain Relief
Topical capsaicin is used to alleviate pain caused by osteoarthritis and diabetic neuropathy. It works by desensitizing sensory receptors, and also possesses anti-inflammatory effects.
5. Clears Nasal Congestion
Capsaicin not only alleviates pain but also relieves congestion. Its fiery heat stimulates secretions that aid in clearing mucus from stuffy nose. Capsaicin has antibacterial properties that combat against chronic sinus infections, thanks to its ability to induce vasoconstriction in the blood vessels of the nasal cavity.
6. Soothes Intestinal Diseases And Disorders
Chilli peppers are often used as food preservatives because of its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Capsaicin can kill bacteria such as H. pylori and cure inflammatory bowel diseases.
7. Boosts Immunity
The bright red colour of chilli peppers indicates its high pro-vitamin A or beta-carotene content. You can achieve about 6% of the recommended daily value for vitamin C with just a meagre two teaspoons of red chilli peppers. Vitamin A is vital in keeping a healthy respiratory tract, intestinal tract, and urinary tract. Vitamin A is also known as the anti-infection vitamin and serves as the first line of defence against infections.
8. Maintain Healthy Eyes
We need Vitamin A to keep our eyes healthy at all times. Including chilli peppers in our regular diet, approximately one tablespoon each day, can definitely improve your eyesight. It also prevents night blindness as well as macular degeneration.
9. Inhibits Cancer
American Association for Cancer Research has stated that capsaicin has the power to kill leukaemia and cancer cells. Just like turmeric, a spice used in making curry, chillies can inhibit tumour growth and cancer. Medical News Today has cited that Capsaicin might actually have the ability to stop breast cancer.
However, further studies are still required and Capsaicin is not yet declared as a means to fully treat cancer.
10. Chilli Pepper Can Help Prevent Stomach Ulcers
Chillies can actually prevent stomach ulcers. Red hot chilli peppers kill bacteria that you may have ingested and stimulates the cells lining the stomach to release buffering juices. This is in direct contrast to the belief that peppers worsen the development or outcome of these ulcers.
11. Promotes Weight Loss
Obesity is a serious health condition and must not be taken lightly. You can lose weight by eating chillies regularly with the inclusion of regular exercise, of course. Capsaicin is thermogenic. It reduces your cravings and increases your metabolism. The heat you feel after consuming chilli pepper already takes energy and burn calories. Even cosmetic manufacturers have incorporated chilli peppers in slimming lotions.
According to Jong Won Yun, a biotechnologist in Daegu University (South Korea), people who have regular consumption of Capsaicin have reported lower calorie intake and fat levels in the body.
Moreover, preventing obesity can lead to decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.
12. Improves Longevity
Several researchers from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences have been observing the eating habits of roughly half a million Chinese people starting from age 30. They noticed that in a span of seven years, those who include chilli peppers in their diet six or seven times a week had a lower risk of mortality than those who do not consume these peppers on a regular basis. This could be due to the little known fact that chilli peppers increase levels of IGF-1 in blood, an anti-aging hormone.
The next time you prepare a meal, add an extra spark with chilli peppers. Getting a teary eye or a slight burn in your tongue can be all worth getting used to, especially when you can stand to benefit from such a long list of health benefits. Chilli peppers are in demand in many parts of the world for two reasons: its fiery flavour and its positive effects to the body. It can effectively reduce blood cholesterol, platelet aggregation, and triglyceride levels among many others. Whether you like spicy food or not, chilli peppers will always provide you an abundance of vitamins and minerals. In fact as previously mentioned, a chilli pepper contains more vitamin C than an orange.
A few concerns may also tag along such as skin irritation and hypersensitivity in some individuals; but just make sure you wash your hands thoroughly and be cautious enough not to irritate your eyes. If you cannot handle the heat, drink a glass of milk. However, this varies on a case to case basis. Anything taken in excess will always bring more harm than good. So it is better to always use everything in moderation