If you’re looking for a kick to your healthy recipes, there’s nothing better than adding some peppers to your daily intake. Peppers don’t have many calories, but they’re full of nutrition, vitamins, fiber, and folic acid. Using natural peppers instead of processed seasonings on your food will not just make your meals more interesting, but probably more fulfilling as well.
Some people may not like spicy food, but you get a lot of variety when it comes to an ingredient like peppers. Some peppers give a lot of heat, while others are actually sweet. The different colors and shapes of peppers can be a useful guide regarding their spiciness level and the level of nutrition they provide.
Apart from the taste, there are a lot of health benefits of consuming peppers that might surprise us. Let’s talk about some of these now:
1. Boosting Metabolism
Some people are of the opinion that eating more peppers will result in lost weight. There’s some truth to this statement, but it’s not that simple. Basically, there’s a component called capsaicin, which is mostly found in chilis, cayenne, and other hot peppers. This substance is good for boosting metabolism and suppressing time, both phenomena which will usually result in weight loss. It won’t melt away fat, but it will help us burn excess calories and avoid consuming more food than necessary.
The working of capsaicin seems to be through raising our body temperature. This helps in using up energy, which burns off calories. If you don’t usually consume spicy foods, increasing your intake of hot pepper will likely result in more benefits than otherwise.
2. Burning Extra Calories
Dihydrocapsiate, also called DCT, is related to capsaicin. However, it’s found in sweet and mild chili peppers, which are also known as CH-19 peppers. When researchers looked at DCT in the form of capsules, it was found that it acts like capsaicin. The main difference here was that one could get the benefits of capsaicin without having to go through the heat and fiery sensations. Capsaicin is also found in capsicum peppers, so we might want to use these as a safe, delicious ingredient in many recipes.
3. Managing Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a common problem with many people these days. Fortunately, there seems to be an ingredient in some peppers that might help to fight this health issue. This ingredient is called piperine and is usually found in the dried form of black peppers.
Piperine might be useful in preventing the formation of new fat cells, but the research so far only shows this effect in mice. There is the need for more human-based trials on this subject, but it can’t hurt to use black pepper for flavoring our food. It’s delicious and contains very few calories per teaspoon. If it manages our blood pressure as well, that’s even better.
4. Digestive Benefits
While peppers might be hot, they contain active components that can give several benefits to our stomach and digestive tract. Cayenne pepper, for instance, can help in strengthening the stomach and helping it to fight off many infections. Additionally, it can increase the prediction of digestive fluids and help the stomach get the digestive enzymes it requires. The stomach nerves are also stimulated, which protects us from injuries. This means that consuming cayenne might help to avoid stomach ulcers, not cause them (as many may believe).
5. Helping With Psoriasis
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, which means that the body is attacking itself in such conditions. In the case of psoriasis, the symptoms include patches of scaly, red, skin that itches profusely.
While there’s no definite cure for these health issues yet, people have found that capsaicin creams help to relieve the itching and reduce the redness of psoriasis-affected areas. At least one study has shown how the effect for patients who used such creams was much better than those who used a placebo.
The main player in psoriasis is called substance P. With the use of capsaicin, we might be able to lower the levels of substance P in our bodies. By consuming peppers, we might be better equipped to fight this condition.
6. Pain Relief
Many of us experience an increase in body and joint pain when we’re getting on in years, but we don’t have to live with this pain for the rest of our lives. There are several pain-relieving creams and supplements available in the market today, though we may find a more natural alternative in consuming more peppers. The capsaicin in peppers also has the potential to relieve pain.
Substance P is again the main factor here, as it’s a neuropeptide that signals pain from the body to the brain. The less we have of this substance, the less pain we’d feel. This includes the pain experienced after a surgical procedure, lower back pain, pain in the muscles, and joints, etc.
7. Reducing the Risk of Cancer
Cancer is usually characterized by cell growth that gets out of control. If we use cayenne peppers on a regular basis, we might be able to benefit from capsaicin’s potential to reduce cancer risk. This is apparently achieved by attacking the different aspects of cancer cell growth.
There have been studies to show how capsaicin can help in slowing down the growth and spread of cancer cells. In fact, it might even lead to the death of certain types of cancer cells. As a result, we might be able to lower our risk of skin, pancreatic, and prostate cancer.
This effect does seem good to be true, and the fact is that we can’t completely rely on just consuming peppers to stave off cancer. The findings discussed above are most based on studies conducted on animals and in the laboratory. Human trials carry a lot more risk and are far more complicated, so the effects of capsaicin for human cancers haven’t really been studied in much depth. It’s probably best to stick to a healthy diet and keep a close tab on the warning signs of cancer if we want to be successful in fighting it.
Adding peppers to your regular diet isn’t difficult, especially as there’s so much variety to choose from. If you can’t get fresh peppers or store them that easily, the dries, canned, or even frozen varieties will also retain some of the benefits. The number of human-based studies for many benefits of pepper might still be limited, but the evidence so far seems quite heartening.
If you’re convinced of the health benefits from this ingredient, it’s time to look up some recipes and add them to your diet. You might even be able to fight diabetes through cooking nutritious, beneficial dishes on a regular basis.