Hot peppers are truly a gift we didn’t know we needed. These chiles that burn your mouth, make you tear up, and gets your forehead sweating actually have a ton of benefits. Not only do hot peppers to add flavor to your meals, but they can improve your health, increase weight loss, and build a stronger immune system. Say what?
Pretty crazy how much power one small spicy fruit can hold.
Back before Christopher Columbus discovered the New World, chili peppers were fully domesticated by the native population. They originated in Mesoamerica, the region that extends from Central Mexico to Central America and northern Costa Rica. These people were using hot peppers for culinary and medical uses for centuries, and now there are over 50,000 different peppers in the world!
If you’re debating on growing hot peppers or eating spicy food, keep reading to find out 9 health benefits of chili peppers and why you should get on board.
Before we lay out the awesome benefits of peppers, let’s break down what is capsaicin. As we mentioned in our Hot Pepper Heat Scale, capsaicin is the chemical compound found in peppers, and you can find it in the oil residing in the pepper or seed. This is what makes the peppers pretty hot, and why you’re getting that burning sensation that lingers on your tongue for a while.
Fun Fact: Capsaicin even has a medical purpose where it’s a key ingredient in creams and patches that can give you relief from pain. This can help relieve pain like muscle sprains, strains, migraines, and arthritis.
Now that you know what capsaicin is, here are the 9 benefits of hot peppers:
Eating hot peppers or spicy food can promote a healthy heart and prevent blood clots. The chili peppers can reduce the damaging effects of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) which is your bad cholesterol and fights off inflammation which is known to be a factor for heart issues.
The capsaicin can prevent blood clots as it clears away artery-narrowing lipid deposits and increases arteries and blood vessels to clear away those clots. This then will create better blood flow, which your heart will thank you!
If you got a taste for hot stuff, you probably know some level of pain is involved. Yet, you don’t actually have to eat superhot peppers to relieve that joint or nerve pain. As we mentioned earlier, capsaicin cream can be applied to the skin to act as a natural painkiller. Studies show that capsaicin reduces the amount of substance P, which substance P means pain chemical that carries pain messages to the brain.
There is also evidence that capsaicin can relieve pain after surgery like a mastectomy or an amputation, and even alleviates pain from nerve damage in the feet or legs from diabetes, lower back injuries, shingles and psoriasis! You’ll be glad to know that you can apply this type of cream to relieve that annoying pain.
Hot peppers may sting you, but it’ll stop the stinging migraine pain. If you experience a migraine and then consume a hot pepper, your body will focus on the pain that’s burning your mouth or in a different part of the body. This will then cause the sensation of the migraine pain to go away! In a study by the American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, the researchers believe capsaicin works by desensitizing the trigeminal nerve and depleting CGRP, the neurotransmitter responsible for migraine pain.
You are tricking your body to feel pain somewhere else, which is a win in our books.
Yep you read right, eating hot peppers can increase your metabolism and decrease your appetite, thus potentially helping you with your weight loss. The capsaicin boosts the thermogenic process, which your body turns calories into heat to use for fuel.
When this process is happening, it utilizes energy that burns additional calories so try adding some hot peppers into your cooking or eat spicy food occasionally! Peppers have low calories and a ton of nutrition so you’re getting a bang for your buck.
Not only that, they can help you digest food which we all have come to know what happens to our digestive system after we eat a superhot pepper or some spicy food. Continue reading to learn how it benefits your digestive tract.
While it could be a touchy subject, you should know that the capsaicin in hot peppers act as anti-irritant. Chili peppers are rich in antioxidants and other compounds that can soothe digestive issues such as ulcers, upset stomachs, cramps, intestinal gas, and even curing diarrhea. Peppers are able to accomplish this because they stimulate gastric juices and work against the acidity in your digestive tract.
Those chili peppers you grow in your backyard presents a potential natural remedy for fighting cancer. According to the American Association for Cancer Research, the capsaicin and antioxidants in chili peppers can kill cancer in leukemia and prostate cancer. With the capsaicin working as an antioxidant, it’s protecting cells from harmful molecules that can cause cancer.
Although the capsaicin triggers a depletion of leukemia and prostate cancer, this could fight against breast, pancreatic, and bladder cancer as well.
There are some studies saying that consuming spicy food or using common spices have the chance to increase a person’s life to live a longer, heathier life. A study at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences reveals that people who eat spicy food once or twice a week are 10% less likely to die earlier!
The researchers also found that those who eat spicy food three to seven times in a week are less likely to experience cancer, heart disease, and respiratory illnesses.
Having a runny nose or sinus allergies can be frustrating but imagine having a clear head and nose after using a nasal spray or eating some hot peppers to reduce that congestion! Peppers help build a stronger immune system because they are full of antioxidants, specifically full in beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A. Vitamin A and Vitamin C are key in maintaining a healthy system and will build up your immunity against infections and illnesses.
Chili peppers can also be used for their anti-fungal properties, killing food pathogens and cure a number of inflammatory bowel diseases.
Must we need to say more? 🙂
Now that you've read the health benefits of peppers, you can see why we love hot peppers! They can add flavor to your meals, but they come with a ton of positives that you may have not realized before. If this convinced you to get started but you don't know where to go, we created an easy-to-follow guide that can help you have a successful growing experience from seed to harvest.
Don’t want to start from seed? Let Joe can do the germination work for you and get live pepper seedlings shipped right to your door in early Spring!