I admit it, I did not publish anything in quite a while, but don’t hold it against me. It’s human to be lazy. So let’s start with my new post: chili!
Chili grows on many different tropical trees and comes from the family Capsicum. It has tiny fruits which are dried and ground to powder. Chili peppers are about 4 cm long and come in yellow, green or red color, and their taste is extremely hot. There are some chili peppers that are responsible for death of number of persons after just one consumption.
The name originates from Spanish, since the Spanish brought it with them to Europe. It is really spicy, around 20 times spicier than an ordinary hot pepper. Its taste is less aromatic, more spicy and the color is pale. The main ingredient is capsaicin (it provides the hot flavor), If taken in larger quantities, capsaicin burns your mouth, tongue and throat and makes your eyes watery. Nations that eat really spicy dishes are: Indians, Vietnamese, Mexicans and Hungarians. People mostly like medium hot taste because it improves food flavor and stimulates digestion. It is mostly used as a spice for vegetable dishes, hot sauces, fresh cow cheese and Mexican food. It is an important ingredient in many spice mixtures, such as harissa, curry, garam masala etc. It can be combined with sweet dishes as well (chocolate).
100 g of chili powder contains 314 calories, from which 55% are carbohydrates, 17% is fat and 12% are proteins. It’s a great source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and selenium. It also contains vitamins A, K, C and E, folic acid, diet fibers, beta-carotene etc.
The pepper hotness scale uses Scovill units for measurement:
sweet paprika = 0 units
pepperoncini = 100 – 500 units
jalapeno = 2 500 – 5 000 units
wax = 5 000 – 10 000 units
cayenne pepper, tabasco = 30 000 − 50 000 units
habanero = 360 000 − 500 000 units
naga viper, infinity chilli = 855 000 − 1 500 000 units
Tabasco sauce which is highly valued, is made out of red habanero and has the hotness of 8000 units. In general, the hotter the pepper (or sauce), the healthier it is because it contains more capsaicin. Easy way to add some hotness into your dishes is to use fresh or pickled hot peppers or already done chili sauces. You can use it as powder, sprinkling it over food. Just be careful not go crazy with it! It is enough to eat 1-2 tea spoons of chili a day.
- Fights Inflammation: capsaicin is being studied as an effective treatment for sensory nerve fiber disorders, including pain associated with arthritis, psoriasis, and diabetic neuropathy. When animals injected with a substance that causes inflammatory arthritis were fed a diet that contained capsaicin, they had delayed onset of arthritis, and also significantly reduced paw inflammation.
- Natural Pain Relief: topical capsaicin is now a recognized treatment option for osteoarthritis pain. Several review studies of pain management for diabetic neuropathy have listed the benefits of topical capsaicin to alleviate disabling pain associated with this condition.
- Cardiovascular Benefits: red chili peppers, such as cayenne, have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol, triglyceride levels, and platelet aggregation, while increasing the body’s ability to dissolve fibrin, a substance integral to the formation of blood clots. Cultures where hot pepper is used liberally have a much lower rate of heart attack, stroke and pulmonary embolism.
- Boosts Immunity: the bright color of red chili peppers signals its high content of beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A. Just two teaspoons of red chili peppers provide about 6% of the daily value for vitamin C coupled with more than 10% of the daily value for vitamin A. Often called the anti-infection vitamin, vitamin A is essential for healthy mucous membranes, which line the nasal passages, lungs, intestinal tract and urinary tract and serve as the body’s first line of defense against invading pathogens.
- Helps Stop the Spread of Prostate Cancer: red chili peppers’ capsaicin, the compound responsible for their pungent heat, stops the spread of prostate cancer cells through a variety of mechanisms. Capsaicin triggers suicide in both primary types of prostate cancer cell lines, those whose growth is stimulated by male hormones and those not affected by them.
- Prevents Stomach Ulcers: chili peppers have a bad—and mistaken—reputation for contributing to stomach ulcers. Not only do they not cause ulcers, they can help prevent them by killing bacteria you may have ingested, while stimulating the cells lining the stomach to secrete protective buffering juices.
- Lose Weight: all that heat you feel after eating hot chili peppers takes energy—and calories to produce. Even sweet red peppers have been found to contain substances that significantly increase thermogenesis (heat production) and oxygen consumption for more than 20 minutes after they are eaten.
- Lowers Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: making chili pepper a frequently enjoyed spice in your Healthiest Way of Eating could help reduce your risk of hyperinsulinemia (high blood levels of insulin)—a disorder associated with type 2 diabetes. Besides capsaicin, chilies contain antioxidants, including vitamin C and carotenoids, which might also help improve insulin regulation.
- Increases sexual desire: chili is a great aphrodisiac. It makes your circulation run wild, which then affects your sexual desire and helps men achieve an erection. So if you’re having issues in your bedroom, try eating some chili. 😉
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