Chili Peppers - Yes or No?

Some people love them and others can’t handle them but chili peppers have been a staple piece in recipes for thousands of years. They have the ability to completely transform a dish from bland and tasteless to fiery and flavoursome. But I do wonder, is there more to this mini firecracker than tingling taste buds after eating? 

A common myth about chillies is that it is the seeds that contain all the heat. However, it’s actually a compound called capsaicin that gives chillies their mouth-watering punch. Upon binding to the VR1 receptor, the sensation produced by the capsaicin molecule is the same sensation that heat would cause, which explains capsaicin’s burn. Researchers from the University of Buffalo also found that capsaicin may help relieve joint and muscle pain.

Chili peppers have been rumoured to both raise metabolism and reduce cravings for salty, fatty or sweet foods. A study done by Perdue University (USA) researchers found that a 1g dose of cayenne pepper significantly increased body temperature, by an average of 0.02°and subsequently caused an energy expenditure of roughly 10kcal following ingestion. The researches did also conclude that individuals who regularly consume hot red peppers may become desensitised to the effects of red pepper on appetite and energy expenditure.

Heat and flavour are what chilies are most famous for but it’s their abundance of nutrients that often goes under the radar. A cup of chopped red bell pepper contains nearly three times more vitamin C than an orange – 190mg. They are also a great source of vitamin A, which promotes eye health and helps to transport fats around the body.

To conclude, chili peppers have an abundance of fire power in the taste department and they also pack a punch in the micronutrient department offering multiple health and recovery benefits. So the next time you’re eating a bland meal, spice things up with some chili.

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