At Hot Impression, we use chili peppers in a variety of our dishes including our popular Sichuan Poached Beef in Hot Chili Oil, Sauteed Cabbage with Chili Pepper, plus many more! Beyond their ability to add delicious spice to any dish, chili peppers have a number of surprising health benefits.
The primary compound in chili peppers is capsaicin, which is what gives these peppers their distinct taste and many health benefits. Below we have outlined five surprising health benefits of chili peppers that you may have not already known!
1. Helps Fight Colds and Flu
Chili peppers have a distinct red color, which is an indication of their richness in beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A. Vitamin A is critical to a number of organ systems in your body, including a healthy respiratory, intestinal and urinary system. The vitamin A and C in chili peppers also help your immune system fight infections and illnesses.
Capsaicin also has several antibacterial properties that can help fight chronic sinus infections! If you suffer from nasal congestion or seasonal allergies, try using a capsaicin nasal spray to help relieve your symptoms.
2. Improves Digestive Health
Did you know that capsaicin can contribute to gut health and weight loss? Contrary to popular belief, chili peppers are not irritating to the stomach and can actually help treat stomach ulcers.
In powder form, chili peppers are also rich in antioxidants that can soothe digestive issues such as upset stomach, intestinal gas, diarrhea and cramps.
3. Reduces Inflammation
Another valuable property of capsaicin is that it inhibits substance P, a neuropeptide that is involved in the body’s inflammatory process. For this reason, capsaicin has been thought to be a potential treatment for a number of sensory disorders such as arthritic pain and diabetic neuropathy.
In one study, animals were injected with a substance that leads to inflammatory arthritis. Those who consumed a diet high in capsaicin actually experienced a delay in the development of arthritis and a significant decrease in inflammation.
4. Supports Cardiovascular Health
Chili peppers are a great, natural way to support your cardiovascular health and prevent heart disease. Chili peppers contain high amounts of potassium, which has a number of functions in the body. When combined with folate, potassium can help reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Potassium also helps to relax your blood vessels, allowing blood to flow easier in your body.
5. May Improve Longevity of Life
Chinese researchers have discovered that those who consume spicy foods have a better chance of living a long life. Their study found that people who eat spicy food once or twice a week are 10% less likely to die earlier than those who do not consume spicy foods. This can be partly due to capsaicin’s ability to decrease inflammation, clear the respiratory tract and overall reduce the development of chronic diseases!
With all that being said, the next time you cook a meal at home or order take-out, consider adding some chili pepper or ordering a dish that already contains it! A little can go a long way to gain its amazing health benefits.