What are the health benefits of eating a chili pepper everday? Is it a myth or based on fact? The red traffic light-colored fruit that can knock your socks off with its intensely spicy flavor—the hot chili has more benefits for your health and you will be surprised! Originating from Mexico, chili peppers are now one of the world’s ubiquitous ingredients, prominently used in dishes from Asia, Africa, Europe, and, of course, North and South America. Chilis can range from sweet to extremely mild to scorching hot, and a great addition to any meal thats why we included below some of Naturezedge’s favorite recipes for the hot pepper varieties we grow. These little spicy packages are from the genus Capsicum and are thus a part of the nightshade family, a group that contains several dangerous plants.
What are the benefits of eating a hot pepper every day? Chili peppers can benefit your health and spice up your life! so let us look at the exact known health benefits and why not through in some bonus recipes to spice up your life. Be it as may there is no reason to fear the pepper!
What Do Hot Peppers Do to Your Body?
The main bioactive plant compound in chilis is capsaicin. It is exactly the compound that causes the tingly, burn-like sensation within your mouth as soon as you eat something that’s a little beyond your spice tolerance. It’s also the reason why, after handling hot peppers, you should immediately wash your hands with soap and water—the compound lingers in the oils of the pepper and will affect any sensitive parts of your body.
Capsaicin works by binding with the pain receptors within your mouth and throat, causing those nerve endings to register them as pain in your mind. However, unlike actual pain, the nerve endings simply register a burning sensation.
Over time those nerve endings can become desensitized, and frequently eating peppers may allow you to eat spicier foods more comfortably and become less sensitive to other forms of pain as well.
What Are the Health Benefits of Eating Chili Peppers?
Chili peppers contain a variety of vitamins and minerals which, if eaten every day, can provide a large boost of nutrition to improve your health. While the exact quantity varies by species and type of chili pepper—a bell pepper, for example, is not the same as a bird’s eye chili—in general, this is a good guideline for the beneficial vitamins and minerals that different types of chilis provide.
- Vitamin C: Chili peppers are packed with vitamin C, the vital immune system boosting nutrients that everyone needs both during and after the flu season.
- Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6, which is a part of the vitamin B family, helps prevent pyridoxine deficiency which, in turn, causes anemia.
- Vitamin K1: Vitamin K1 is necessary for blood clotting and maintaining healthy bones and kidneys.
- Vitamin A: In particular red chili peppers contain high levels of beta carotene, which the body then converts into vitamin A. Vitamin A helps support the eyes, skin, and immune system.
- Potassium: The mineral also found in bananas and potatoes, potassium helps reduce risk of heart disease and cramps.
- Copper: While it might sound a bit odd, copper is an essential mineral used to create strong bones and healthy neurons.
Also, due to capsaicin’s ability to bind to pain receptors and desensitize them when used consistently over time, chili peppers have been medically used in topical creams, ointments, and dermal patches as pain relievers. These medicines are used to treat health concerns that range from basic joint pain to nerve damage caused by chronic illnesses.
Still, while it might be tempting to skip the pharmacy line and rub a hot pepper directly onto your muscle pains, do not try to home remedy topical capsaicin. It can potentially cause a chemical burn that is far more painful than beneficial.
Some actual chili pepper home remedies that families have been using for generations involve using water infused with chili peppers or ground peppers, such as cayenne, to help soothe sore throats and coughs. That’s because the burning sensation the capsaicin gives allows the throat to feel warm a while after the tea has been swallowed. People have combined pepper with lemon, ginger, honey, and even additional ground black pepper to create a not so tasty but certainly punchy herbal drink.
Perhaps the most straightforward and beneficial use of spicy chili peppers, however, lies in simply eating it. The sweat produced by eating spicy foods helps to cool your body down, which is why eating the spicy local cuisines of the notoriously humid and tropical places such as India and Thailand can be so satisfying. Plus, eating food so spicy it makes you tear up can also help you clear nasal congestion. It clears up the sinuses and helps you blow your nose—just be careful not to touch your face.Don’t underestimate the benefits this small but powerful fruit contains!
Can Chili Peppers Really Help in Weight Loss?
The short answers is both a yes and a no. Now, this is something the chili pepper isn’t as famous for, but many studies have shown that the spice of this little fruit “capsicum annuum” can help promote weight loss and have many other health benefits. This is due to capsaicin’s ability to potentially reduce appetite and increase fat burning.
Here is the effect of chilis on weight loss:
- Fewer cravings
- Increased metabolism
- Increase caloric burn
- Reduction in body weight
The reduced appetite would only really work with those with a low tolerance for spice. By eating food that is spicy beyond your means, your desire to eat through the burning sensation in your mouth will decrease, thus reducing your appetite.
Additionally, chilis can increase fat burning by raising your body’s temperature and thus increasing your metabolism. By artificially increasing your body’s temperature, your body will subtly work harder to bring the temp back down to neutral, going through a couple of extra calories.
However, when it comes to clinical evidence on the effects of chilis and weight loss evidence is inconclusive. There are just as many reports saying that chili peppers had a neutral effect on weight loss than positive effects.
Additionally, increased tolerance to chilis and capsaicin may also reduce chili peppers’ effects over time.
Ultimately, eating chili peppers alone will not instigate a dramatic weight loss. However, adding more spice into your daily routine can act as a great supplement to other healthy lifestyle changes that target weight loss. Cooking new dishes with chilis can be a way to promote healthier cooking at home, helping you avoid fattening takeout and junk foods.
What Are the Downsides to Chili Peppers?
While eating chili peppers has clear several clear nutritional and taste benefits, a few downsides are to be aware of. There are obvious concerns when handling chili peppers. When handling peppers in the kitchen, make sure to wash your hands immediately after using and avoid touching your eyes and face.
In addition, if you consume a chili that’s above your spice tolerance, you may experience excessive sweating, a runny nose and tears, diarrhea, and that very same burning sensation that people both love and hate. For those with irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, these symptoms may never go away despite your existing spice tolerance.
Capsaicin can also irritate the mucous lining of the digestive tract, as that’s what the chemical binds to be processed. Thus, eating high levels of capsaicin can lead to vomiting, nausea, and increased severity of heartburn or ulcer symptoms.
In the end, eating excessively hot chili peppers might cause a spike in blood pressure, which is problematic for those who already have high blood pressure.
Additionally, chili peppers have been used in studies testing their use as a carcinogenic, or cancer-causing agent, and as a cancer preventative agent. As studies have found conflicting data supporting both sides, it’s safe to say that it is not a viable treatment, but simply a supplement that individuals can choose to take if it suits their health plans.
Is It Also Ok to Eat A Bell Pepper Everyday?
In general, peppers are categorized under two categories: hot peppers, which is what the bulk of this article is about, and sweet peppers, of which bell peppers are the most famous.
Sweet peppers, especially in comparison to hot peppers, have a mild and sweet flavor with a crisp flesh. Pimientos, cachucha, European sweet, sweet banana, and Cubanelle peppers are other kinds of sweet peppers. Bell peppers, which come in green, yellow, orange, red, purple, and brown colors, are one of the most popular chili peppers in general as they freeze well, have a satisfying crunch, and a fragrant aroma when cooked.
Although they lack much of the capsaicin that hot peppers have, bell peppers still very similar nutritional benefits. For three ounces of bell peppers (or 85 g for metric folks), there is a whopping 110% of the daily recommended value of Vitamin C. There is also 6% of the daily value of Vitamin A and 4% of the daily value of fiber (1).
So when it comes to adding a little color to your stir fry or substituting pita chips with something just as crunchy but a little fresher, bell peppers are an excellent ingredient to add to your weekly grocery list. While you shouldn’t be eating solely bell peppers 24/7, adding them into your daily routine will bring your daily dose of Vitamin C as well as some crunchy, watery freshness.
When picking out the best bell peppers in the store, look for peppers whose skin is firm and without wrinkles. The stem should be a fresh, green color and like most fruits, the overall fruit should be heavier than it looks (2). Many people like to roast bell peppers, as it brings out the natural sweetness of the pepper while still maintaining its crunchy texture, but many others eat their bell peppers raw—either blended into a summery tomato sauce or sliced into thin strips to be snacked on throughout the day.
What Are the Temperature Scales of Chili Peppers?
When it comes to heat, not every fluorescent pepper is built the same. First categorized by pharmacist Wilbur Scoville, the Scoville scale measures the pungency of chili peppers based on their capsaicin concentration. There are seven levels of Scoville heat units (SHU) when it comes to measuring the pungency of chili peppers.
Here are examples peppers and their heat intensities by scoville scale:
0 to 100 SHU: Pimento, Bell pepper (California Wonder, Yolo)
100 to 1,000 SHU: Banana pepper, Cubanelle, Anaheim
1,000 to 10,000 SHU: Guajillo pepper, Jalapeño, Hungarian Yellow Hot Wax
10,000 to 100,000 SHU: Cayenne pepper, Tabasco pepper, Serrano
100,000 to 350,000 SHU: Habanero, Scotch Bonnet
350,000 to 800,000 SHU: Red Savina, Chocolate habanero
800,000 to 3,200,000 SHU: Ghost pepper, Carolina Reaper, Dragon’s Breath
Many of the extremely pungent chiles, such as the Carolina Reaper and Pepper X, have been deliberately cross-bred to have exceptionally high Scoville heat units.
These “super hots,” or pepper species over 1,000,000 SHU, are exceedingly dangerous to handle without gloves and eye protection. Touching one of these barehanded can even cause something called a chili burn, where the concentration of capsaicin interacts with the sensitive nerve endings on the hand and creates a burning sensation. Phew! If you’re concerned about a new pepper’s spice level before cooking or ingesting, try looking up its Scoville rating beforehand. That way you can safely explore the world of chili peppers without regretting it.
Bonus! 5 of Our Top Spicy Pepper Recipes
For chili lovers old and new, here are five easy and nutritious recipes that honor the ingredient of the day: chili peppers! As one of the most versatile ingredients in the market as they can be cooked fresh, dried, or from preserved states in oil and vinegar-based sauces.
The recipes below go from easiest to most complicated in terms of the chili to show the range of possibilities in cooking with chili peppers. You can use just hot sauce to create a delicious dish or multiple dried chiles to create a deep, complex chili flavor.
With these five easy dishes, we hope that you find that cooking with chili peppers is much less intimidating than often thought. Also, don’t feel limited to what is listed underneath; the beauty of the chili is that it can be used in a million different ways to take advantage of the chili’s nutritional benefits while creating unique and amazing flavor combinations.
Homemade Hot Sauce
- 20 Chiles, stemmed and cut crosswise into 1/8-inch slices, or 12 very ripe red jalapenos
- 1.5 tbsp Garlic minced or processed in blender
- 3/4 tsp Salt
- 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 2 cups Pure bottled water
- 1 cup White Vinegar
- Lightly toast dried chili peppers in a hot pan for a minute on each side, allowing the flesh to become slightly pliable. This step releases the natural oils within the peppers to create a deeper chili flavor
- Steep the pliable peppers in very hot water until soft, about 15 to 20 minutes in total.
- Strain the peppers—but keep the chili steeping water!
- Blend the peppers with some of the steeping water, vinegar, garlic, salt, and any other seasonings you desire. Have fun and experiment with this step!
- Refine your hot sauce. Adjust the seasoning, strain the mixture if you want a more smooth sauce, or simmer for a couple of minutes to mellow out the flavors. This is what makes your hot sauce extra special.
- Pour into bottles and enjoy!
Easy Buffalo Chicken Wings
- 2 lb chicken wings
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour for dredging chicken wings
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- Kosher Salt to taste about 1/4 teaspoon
- 1/4 cup Butter
- 1/4 cup Homemade chili sauce or store bought
- 2-3 cups vegetable oil for deep fry
- 1/4 tsp corn startch *optional for dry mix super crispy wings
- In a glass or plastic bag mix four, garlic powder, salt or any seasonings. *Optional to add a bit of corn starch for extra crispiness.
- Coat or dredge the chicken wings in dry mix until they are evenly coated
- Set coated chicken wings in a covered bowl refrigerate for one to one and half hours
- Heat oil to 374 degrees or 190 degrees centigrade enough oil to cover wings entirely
- While the oil is heating up combine hot sauce, butter, garlic powder in a small saucepan till the butter is melted and all the ingredients consistent as a sauce.
- Fry the chicken wings for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and set on wire rack to crisp up
- Place buffalo sauce in an extra large cooking bowl and place the wings in the bowl and toss to coat
Enchiladas with Salsa Verde
- 9x13 glass or ceramic baking dish
- Blender or immersion blender for blending the sauce
- 5 serrano peppers
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp Cumin
- 1 lb Tomatillos
- 1 1/4 Red Spanish Onion or White
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 2-3 cups Chicken or vegetable stock
- 6 Flour tortillas
- Sour creme for garnish
- Monteray Jack cheese for topping
- 1/4 cup Cilantro for garnish and topping
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 cups Shredded chicken breast *optional
- 4 cups Diced tofu for vegetarian *optional
- Place five serrano peppers and a pound of tomatillos in a pot with enough water to submerge them. Bring to a boil until the tomatillos go from a bright green to a darker, army green.
- Strain the chiles and tomatillos.
- Heat the canola oil in a pan medium heat and onion and cook till translucent.
- When the onions are translucent add cloves of garlic, salt, oregano, cumin and half of cilantro.
- Add the ingredients to a blender or use an immersion blender.
- Add enough broth (chicken or otherwise) to cover the veggies.
- Blend until everything is completely pureed.
- Pour the salsa into a saucepan and bring to a low boil to keep it warm.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees or 190 degrees centigrade and lightly oil a 9x13 glass or ceramic baking dish.
- Fill each enchilada with your choice of filling chicken or tofu for a vegetarian option. Roll the tortilla and place seam side down onto the baking dish and repeat.
- Cover the enchiladas with salsa verde and cheese or vegetarian cheese substitute.
- Bake 35-40 minutes.
- Garnish with sour cream and remaining cilantro and serve it while its hot.
Quick and Easy Chicken Paprikash
- 1 lb Skinless, boneless chicken thighs or breasts
- 2 large Onioins thinly sliced
- 4 cloves Garlic minced
- 2 tbsp Hot Paprika or Regular Sweet Paprika, Or Smoked Paprika all great options-go wild
- 1 medium Red bell pepper
- 1 small Jalepeno *optional
- 1 can Chopped tomatos
- 1 1/2 cups Low sodium chicken broth
- Pinch sugar to reduce acidity
- Kosher salt and black pepper for seasoning to taste
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup Heavy cream
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- Pat chicken thighs dry and season with salt and pepper.
- In a large skillet heat some oil about 2 tbsp and sear the chicken on both sides till golden brown about 4-5 minutes per side before setting aside .
- Set chicken aside.
- Add butter to the pan you used to sear the chicken and melt on low heat stirring and scraping up the flavor from the seared chicken
- Cook onions, red bell peppers, and chopped jalapeno pepper (optional). Cook until softened, about five minutes on medium to low heat.
- Add garlic, paprika, hot paprika (optional but delicious!), and salt and pepper. Cook for one minute to allow the spices to toast, then add one can of tomatoes. Stir.
- Place the chicken back into the pan add tomotoes, and stock lightly season with salt and pepper and simmer everything, covered, until the chicken is cooked (about 20-25 minutes).
- When cooked, removed from heat and swirl in sour cream into the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish and serve!
Robert's Kick In The Pants Chili con Carne
- 1/8 cup Sweet paprika
- 1/2 tsp Smoked paprika *optional
- 1 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/2 tsp Dried Cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp Dried Peppers from the garden-Anaheim (mild) Serrano pepper (Hot)-Cayenne (Extra hot) Jalapeno (mild)-Habanero Orange (Call the fire department) *optional for super hot kick in the pants chili powder.
- 1 1/2 tsp Onion powder
- 1 tsp Dried oregano
- 1 tsp Ground cumin
- 1 Yellow onion chopped
- 2 1/2 pounds Lean beef or any any meat you desire
- 5 Garlic cloves
- 2 16oz can Can of diced tomatoes
- 1 12oz can Tomoto concetrate
- 1 1/12 tsp Paprika
- 2 1/2 tbsp Homemade chili powder
- 1/2 juice lime *Optional
- 1 pinch sugar
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 2 tbsp Fresh parsley or cilantro
- 2 cups Beef stock
- 1 Cups Stout Beer (any dark beer)
- 12-20 drops Homemade chili sauce
- 1 handful Store bought tortilla chips mashed up in your hands to tiny pieces
- After washing the chilis you can tie them together with a string in direct sunlight it must be warm and dry and of course in a well ventilated area.Oven Method:Cut chilis in half and set on a wired cookie sheet and oven dry at 175 degrees for 6-8 hours.Or you can use a food dehydrator if you have one.Use a food processer or food mill to grind to a powder.Store in a sealed container such as mason jar for up to 1 year
- Take whatever meat you're using for the 'carne' and brown it in a dutch oven or other stewing pot brown and remove the meat.
- Add chopped onion and garlic to soften up.
- Add chili powder and lightly toast for 1 min and stir to make a paste (Add vegetable oil if its too dry just a dash will do)
- Add the meat back to the pot, along with wet ingredients- Beef stock, beer along with the chili paste.
- Add diced tomatoes and tomato paste and all the spices and herbs and crushed up tortilla chips. ( Do not use too much salt here as the chips might have enough wait till the end to reseason)
- Bring to a simmer low and slow heat and let sit with a partial cover until the chili has thickened, which can take anywhere from an hour to three hours.
- Once the desired consistency is met, add some lime juice *optional and let it cook for five minutes.
- Serve! The classic toppings are cheese and sour cream, but you can add any garnishes you would like. We love adding a bit of fresh cilantro or basil from the garden.
The Wrap Up & 15 Reasons Chilis Should Be a Part of Your Life
- Chili peppers come packed with vitamin C to help boost your immune system.
- They offer a quick and easy way to zest up a boring meal.
- They are easy to preserve; just leave to dry in a well-aerated area!
- They make a great weight loss supplement.
- Chili peppers are super versatile in the kitchen: they can be eaten raw, baked, fried, steamed, or boiled!
- Consistent consumption can help build tolerance against pain.
- They can be used in easy home remedies for coughs and sore throats.
- Chili peppers come in all kinds of heat levels, making it easy to find one everyone likes.
- They can warm you up easily on a cold day.
- There is a vast world of recipes and dishes that feature spicy flavors.
- They offer a more natural form of pain relief.
- Eating spicy food can offer a feeling of excitement similar to exercising.
- Bell peppers offer an easy way to add nutrition to your daily diet.
- There is a robust community of chili fanatics constantly trying to invent exciting and new crossbreeds.
- They are utterly delicious!