We’re here to tell you why eating hot peppers is a great idea! Hot peppers get their heat from something called capsaicin, or capsaicinoids in plural form. Studies have shown that when consumed regularly, fresh chile peppers can help reduce mortality by 14 percent! Chile peppers are rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin B6, and potassium. Chile peppers also increase the effectiveness of other herbal remedies when taken together. Read more about the specific benefits below!
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Exercise & Weight Loss
Capsaicin is thermogenic, which means it increases heat production in the body by burning calories. Otherwise said, it increases your metabolism, which can last for around 30 minutes; but it can last longer or shorter depending on the pepper you consumed. One study gave capsaicin supplements to it’s participants 1 hour before they exercised, and it resulted in increased fat breakdown (up to 16%!) during the workout.
Eating capsaicin-rich foods can also help you last longer during heavy workouts, and aid in faster recovery time. This is made possible by increasing the body’s oxygen intake by up to 7.5 percent, which increases the amount of oxygen available for absorption by the blood. Studies have also shown that when chili pepper is added to a meal, participants consumed less calories later on – demonstrating an appetite suppressing effect. Which could be caused by capsaicin’s effect on the hormones produced by your thyroid.
References: Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology. 53(2), 124-32 & The British Journal of Nutrition. 80(6), 503-10.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure puts someone at higher risk of heart attack, and stroke. Capsaicin acts as a vasodilator – meaning it enlarges blood vessels, and improves blood flow. This in turn causes the pressure in the circulatory system to drop, and puts less stress on the heart. Studies have shown that short term consumption has limited effect on a persons average blood pressure, but regular long term consumption of capsaicin rich foods have been shown to reduce it, lowering the risk for heart related issues.
Researchers believe these beneficial effects are caused by capsaicin chronically activating something called the transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) channel in the walls of blood vessels. Activation of the channel causes an increase in the production of nitric oxide, which is a molecule known to protect blood vessels against inflammation. Each chili pepper provides around 65 mg vitamin C, or 108% of your recommended daily intake. High intakes of vitamin C have been shown to cause modest reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure. High blood pressure is closely linked to heart attacks and strokes, so be sure to read that section as well for a complete picture.
References: Yale Medical University; High Blood Pressure; Marvin Moser
Heart Attack & Stroke
Heart attacks and strokes are two of the leading causes of death in individuals over 50 years of age. Both are primarily caused by atherosclerosis – the narrowing and hardening of blood vessels, and the resulting blood clots. Blood vessels narrow because of fatty deposits that build up in the walls of the vessel itself. As these deposits grow, they gradually make the vessel size smaller and smaller. When blood goes past these deposits, an eddy is created, just like when water goes past a large rock in a riverbed, which causes red blood vessels to collide and burst. Atherosclerosis can also cause the walls of your blood vessels to become inelastic and brittle, which can cause them to crack. Either of these occurrences triggers the bodies clotting process, and thus cuts off blood flow.
With regards to the heart, researchers believe that the regular use of chili peppers in Mexican and Asian diets contribute to these regions’ lowered rates of heart disease, in comparison to the US. The reason hot peppers are beneficial is because they lower cholesterol levels by reducing the accumulation of cholesterol in the body and increasing its breakdown and excretion. The capsaicinoids in peppers lower unhealthy low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, whilst leaving the healthy high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels untouched, and increase coronary vasodilation, i.e. blood vessel expansion. Which creates better blood flow to the heart, and all other parts of the body, helping to mitigate the effects of occluded blood vessels.
In addition to helping prevent these deposits, regular consumption of capsaicinoids may reduce the size of atherosclerotic deposits that have already formed in the vessel walls, and contribute to greater vessel elasticity. Capsaicin also discourages platelet adhesion – the clumping together of platelets that causes blood clots, making it a natural blood thinner. Which can be helpful in preventing heart attacks and strokes, by dissolving blood clots that have formed.
But in addition to prevention, a renowned herbalist named John Christopher used hot peppers to stop heart attacks that were in progress. He said that in 35 years, if a heart attack patient of his was still breathing and awake, giving them “hot pepper tea” – a few teaspoons of powder with warm water, stopped their heart attack. If the patient was unconscious, he would use an eye dropper to put drops of hot pepper extract under the patients tongue.
Chili peppers also contain high amounts of vitamin C. Linus Pauling was a biochemist who was given the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1954. He did a lot of work with vitamin C, and the possibility of using it to prevent atherosclerosis and relieve angina pectoris (pain stemming from lack of blood to the heart). Back in the 90’s he said: “…we can get almost complete control of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and strokes by the proper use of vitamin C…”
References: Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, Volume 2
Chili peppers contain a lot of phytochemicals in the form of carotenoids and flavonoids – two powerful antioxidants that help fight free radicals, which some studies suggest to be one of the main causes of cancer. In lab studies, researchers also found that capsaicin caused lung, pancreatic, bladder, colon, urothelial, and prostate cancer cells to undergo programmed cell death or apoptosis. But while promising, these cancer findings took place in a laboratory setting, human clinical tests have not yet been performed.
Hot peppers contain more vitamin C than citrus fruits, and more vitamin A than carrots. Both of these vitamins play key roles in removing, as well as warding off, the viruses and bacteria that cause colds, the flu, or any other type of infection. In addition, capsaicin is an anti-bacterial, so hot peppers are great for both helping to cure infections, and proactively supplying your immune system with the tools it needs to ward off attackers.
Capsaicin may also make mucus thinner which can help move it out of the lungs, in the case of a lung infection. Or can be a wonderful decongestant and help you breathe easier if you have the flu, a cold, a sinus infection, or are being bothered by allergies. Speaking of allergies, capsaicin can help reduce allergic reactions because of it’s anti-inflammatory properties. So you might try it the next time allergy season comes around!
References: The World’s Healthiest Foods”; George Mateljan; & “The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods”; Michael Murray;
The active ingredient in hot peppers, capsaicin, helps relieve pain by binding to nerve receptors called VR1s, which tells your body that your being exposed to extreme heat. Your body responds to the burn by releasing a neurotransmitter called substance P, which is responsible for sending pain signals to your brain. The lasting burn of the pepper depletes your bodies supply of substance P, thus reducing underlying pain.
Capsaicin is also an anti-inflammatory, which is what a majority of pain killers like aspirin and ibuprofen are. It also de-sensitizes sensory receptors in your skin, so its effective reducing pain from burns, stings, itches, as well as muscle pain, arthritis, and even shingles! People that suffer from migraine headaches, or headaches in general will also benefit from capsaicin.
In the case of pain relief, most studies suggested that the capsaicin needs to be applied topically, such as swabbing the inside of your nose, or rubbing it into the effected area, in order for it to be effective.
References: http://www.cdc.gov/features/shingles/, http://bja.oxfordjournals.org/content/90/6/812.full
Circulation is one of the key ingredients to having quality erections. The capsaicin in hot peppers acts as a vasodilator, or blood vessel expander, which helps increase blood flow. Which assists in sending more blood to erectile tissue. It can be taken internally, or applied topically if you’re that brave. Try drinking a fruit smoothie, or vegetable juice every day, only add some hot pepper!
Disclaimer: The pharmaceutical and mainstream healthcare industry is a very lucrative business, pharmaceuticals alone bring in around $300 billion a year. But, organic foods and natural medicine is a big business as well, bringing in around $90 billion a year. We’ve done our best to provide solid research and studies about the effects of hot pepper consumption. But as you can see from the figures above, a lot of people have a vested interest in the results, either one way or the other. As a company, we believe in natural medicine, and our bodies inherent ability to heal itself – if given the right tools. So we leave it to you to judge.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information provided on this site is furnished for your general knowledge. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health care professional regarding any medical condition.