There are loads of health benefits by consuming chillies. In the first volume of my Alchemist’s Cookbook series, it is present in the “Kill all Known Germs” drink in the Balancing Cordials and Drinks section. This drink is so-named because once you take a sip, all bugs instantly leave your body! If you don’t believe me; try making the drink….. Even the smell has a great effect!
Chillies are part of the “pungent” category of foods, which are associated with bringing into balance the lungs and large intestine.
The reason why chillies are so effective in so many powerful ways is down to the main component, which is found in them called capsaicin.
This compound can help to lower blood sugar levels, which can have a really positive effect on people who are overweight or suffering from diabetes. Research carried out by The University of Tasmania (published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2006) showed that eating food with chilli in – just a moderate amount – was found to significantly control insulin levels after eating. The actual data they collected showed that, after eating chillies, the amount of insulin needed to lower the body’s blood sugar level following a meal was reduced by a staggering 60%. Scientists and researchers are unsure how this actually happens; and yet it spells good news for people suffering from diabetes, as the effects produced by eating a low amount of chilli are relatively easy to achieve on an every day basis.
Chillies are also fabulous at boosting circulation; thinning the blood, which in turn helps to prevent strokes, and improving heart health.All you have to do is to eat chillies every day in order to enjoy all these important health benefits they have to offer.
Another great benefit of chillies are that they provide pain relief and reduce inflammation. Capsaicin contains a neuropetide, which is associated with the inflammatory process. In studies, chilli-related alterations in plasma proteins have been reported in patients suffering from auto-inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. It has been found that regular intake of chillies can help to minimise the effects these diseases have on the body.
Another fabulous discovery has been that capsaicin has proven to be an effective pain reliever, without the numbing effect usually associated with anaesthetics, as well as the inability in some cases, to operate machinery and of course the sedative effect some painkillers cause.
Research carried out at Harvard University showed that capsaicin can be used to target pain receptors, without affecting nerve cells or causing the side effects cited above. Additional studies have shown that capsaicin blocks a naturally-occurring chemical called Substance P. This is involved in the transmission and perception of pain. Thus, as a result, chilli could be useful in relieving and preventing common pains associated with headaches; migraines and discomfort caused by sinus problems.
Capsaicin also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties enabling them to help relieve conditions such as irritable bowel and neuropathy caused by the onset of diabetes or psoriasis. It is also a fabulous preventer and eliminator of the common cold; flu or tummy bugs.
If you ever have a hot curry, you will find yourself needing to blow your nose suddenly! This is because chillies are also brilliant at “clearing you out” or decongesting you! They do this through quickly and effectively opening your nasal passages, thus enabling you to breathe more easily.
Research into cancer published in a study in March 2006 concluded that capsaicin also helped to stop the spread of prostate cancer. What it did was trigger suicide in both primary types of prostate cancer cell lines. Here is a quote from Soeren Lehmann M.D. Ph. D., a visiting scientist at the Cedan-Sinai Medical Centre and the UCLA School of Medicine: “It also dramatically slowed the development of prostate tumours formed by those human cell lines grown in mouse models". The research concluded that the dose needed to get this effect equated roughly to about 5 hot peppers a week for an average adult man.
Lastly, chillies help to burn fat and reduce cholesterol! How? Capsaicin is also a thermogenic compound and thus increases the metabolic rate. This thus aids in the fat-burning process. Some studies have revealed that eating chillies can raise your metabolic rate by up to 23% for about three hours!
In March 2012, a research study presented by scientists at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Diego concluded that capsaicin and their related compounds called capsiacinoids, lowered cholesterol levels and improved blood flow in hamsters.
Previous research, like that cited above, found that chilli peppers lowered blood pressure as well as cholesterol and improved blood low. The difficulty was that scientists were unsure how! Researchers found that capsaicin lowers cholesterol not only by reducing the accumulation of cholesterol in the blood, but also by helping the body break it down and get rid of it. The research team also discovered that capsaicin blocked a gene that makes arteries contract, which in turn improves blood flow.
Zhen-Yu Chen, the lead researcher and professor of food and nutritional science at the University of Hong Kong confirmed that their findings showed that capsaicin reduced the levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol whilst having no bad effect on the “good” HDL cholesterol. It also helped clear LDL cholesterol deposits in blood vessels that can narrow arteries and potentially cause a heart attack or stroke. There was, though, a warning to refrain from eating massive amounts of Chillies! Chen said that good diet is a matter of balance and just relying on chillies should never be a substitute for stopping any medication you may be on.
This last section was taken from information found on the International Business Times Website at:-