For some, chomping the chilli is a challenge. A test to their tastebuds as they push personal boundaries, no doubt impressing friends and guests with their tolerance of the insane burn from the latest scoville-buster.
For others chillies are used more subtly to enhance their foods, to improve bland dishes, to add colour and spice to a mealtime.
The fact is, when those pods hit the digestive system, good things can happen. Now, I’m no scientist, but those that are have published many articles about the wonders of capsaicin. Here’s a few, set out in laymen’s terms for those (such as me) who like to feel satisfied that eating these lava bullets is actually doing me some real good.1) Vital Vitamins
Your typical chilli pepper is packed with Vitamins A and C, keeping your cardio and circulation clear, and your respiratory tract intact. Other properties which are apparently good include potassium (blood pressure), iron (blood oxygen), manganese (anti-oxidant) and magnesium (something Harry Potter might shout).2) Metabolism increase
The white veins of a chilli carry the capsaicin – the ‘burny’ bit you get from eating a pepper. Once in, the heat given from that capsaicin actually increases your body temperature (boffins call it thermogenesis). This heat production gets your metabolism working harder and results in the body burning more calories. I feel rather cocky that when I’m lacing a gooey, fatty cheesyomelette with scotch bonnets, my body will be practically dissolving those fats before they even enter my digestive system. “A few of those and I’ll probably even lose weight” I tell myself. Not essentially true, but it helps overcome my cheesy guilt.3) Hot and Hearty
It’s also been demonstrated that capsaicin can help reduce cholesterol (and fats within the blood called ‘triglycerides’). This takes the heat off your heart by lowering the risk of clotting and breaking down those blood-fats for easier passage through the digestive pipes.
Other research into the power of pepper will tell you about possible benefits to diabetes and even cancer fighting.
So go ahead, load up you lunch with chilli, safe in the knowledge that your body will thank you, even if your taste buds wont.