Chili peppers are grown all over the world and is considered one of the popular spices in the culinary world. But there is more to this pepper than just adding heat to your palette.
“Chili pepper contains a bioactive plant compound called capsaicin, which is responsible for its hot and spicy kick.5,6 Capsaicin is concentrated in the seeds and white inner membrane; the more capsaicin it contains, the spicier the pepper. Capsaicin offers more than just a pungent oral sensation in your mouth — experts say the endorphin rush it causes makes this chemical compound an effective remedy for pain and other medical conditions.Aside from pain relief, capsaicin has shown promise in weight loss by helping reduce calorie intake and shrinking fat tissue.10 Chili also offers these benefits:
•Helps Fight Inflammation — Capsaicin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and it has shown potential for treating inflammatory diseases and cancer. In fact, a research published in Future Oncology indicated that it can suppress the growth of human prostate cancer cells.12,13
•Boosts Immunity — Chili peppers are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. This vitamin is essential for maintaining healthy mucous membranes to help protect the body from invading pathogens (microorganisms that cause disease). Chili is also rich in vitamin C, and this helps the body produce white blood cells that fight germs.14
•Helps Reduce Insulin Levels — Another known benefit of eating chili peppers is how they help with blood sugar level management. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that the regular consumption of chili may help reduce risk of hyperinsulinemia (high insulin levels in the blood).15
•Protects Your Heart — The compound capsaicin can help reduce triglycerides, cholesterol and platelet aggregation. Some studies have shown that it may assist the body in dissolving fibrin, which prevents the formation of blood clots. Additionally, cultures that use hot peppers regularly in cooking have significantly lower heart attack and stroke rates.16
•Prevents Sinusitis and Relieves Congestion — Another health effect of the compound capsaicin is its ability to address nasal congestion by helping clear mucus from your nose. It has antibacterial properties as well, and can help fight chronic sinus infections.17Aside from capsaicin, chili also contains other beneficial bioactive plant compounds, including:18,19
- Capsanthin. This is the primary carotenoid (antioxidant) in red chili peppers, giving them their red color and typically accounting for up to 50 percent of the spice’s antioxidant content.
- Lutein. Most plentiful in immature (green) chili peppers, it has been shown to help maintain and improve eye health.20
- Volaxanthin. It is the main carotenoid found in yellow chili peppers, which accounts for 37 to 68 percent of their total content.
- Sinapic acid. Also known as sinapinic acid, this antioxidant is known for its neuroprotective potential.21
- Ferulic acid. This compound has shown promise in protecting against diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.22
“The ‘Hot’ Health Benefits of Chili Peppers” by Dr. Mercola