Wednesday, 27 February 2013

10 Great Reasons To Eat Chillies and Peppers

Too Hot to Handle?
Chillies and peppers come in a range of shapes, sizes and colours and are available in sweet and hot varieties. They are normally added to meals for flavouring and that heat kick that is synonymous with Indian and Mexican cookery. But chillies and peppers have many more hidden secrets that make them excellent for your diet and here are ten of the best reasons to add them to your diet.

1.  Capsaicin reduces chance of colon cancer

Capsaicin is what gives a chilli or pepper its heat. It is a chemical found in the seeds of the chilli which is detected by your tongue. Studies have found that capsaicin in your diet has a positive effect on the chances of getting colon and stomach cancer. Exact reasons are not well known, but every little helps!

2.  Capsaicin suppresses the hunger feelings

If you find that you are not full after meals, or you get hungry between eating, the chilli can help. Capsaicin has been found to supress the feelings of hunger, switching off your need to snack. Try eating a sweet pepper instead of a regular snack and not only will you enjoy the taste, you won’t be hungry for long either.

3.  Capsaicin increases metabolism

The smaller, the hotter
Capsaicin also has a positive effect on your metabolism levels. It increases the production and use of energy in cells, meaning you burn calories more. Some studies have shown that a diet rich in chilli and pepper products can result in the use of up to 1000 extra calories per day.

4.  Packed with antioxidants

Antioxidants reduce the free radicals created by energy production. Free radicals can lead to cancer, so antioxidants are important. Peppers and chillies are high in vitamin A and E, two antioxidants which are essential for long term health.

5.  The heat releases endorphins

Capsaicin tastes hot. This heat can be painful, but pain causes the body to release endorphins. Endorphins are your body’s natural feel good hormone, so releasing this can enhance your mood. By eating hot chillies and peppers you can boost your endorphin levels, and you’ll feel great, once your tongue has relaxed!

6.  They are great immune boosters

Peppers and chillies are packed with vitamin C. A large red bell pepper contains over 300% of your RDA of vitamin C, which is essential for immune system function. This will help you fight against infections and reduce the effects of colds and flu viruses.

7.  They have no fat

Peppers and chillies are zero fat, so they are great for dieting. They also have no cholesterol and some studies have found that peppers and chillies can reduce cholesterol levels in the body. If you have high fat or cholesterol levels, peppers can be an effective way to reduce calories and improve your health.

8.  They are great for blood clotting

Peppers and chillies are high in vitamin K, which is essential for the body to perform clotting. Sun dried hot peppers contain 50% of your RDA of vitamin K, and a normal pepper will have up to 15%. This can help your body to boost its blood clotting ability.

9.  They’re good for neuromuscular function

Peppers and chillies contain excellent levels of potassium, an essential mineral for fluid balance in the body. Potassium regulates solute levels, ensuring that your nerves operate properly and coordinate muscle movements.

10. They help to regulate blood sugar

Insulin is required to regulate blood sugar in the body, but eating chillies and peppers has been found to reduce the amount of insulin needed for proper blood sugar regulation. Reasons for this are unclear, but if you’re diabetic or obese, chillies could really air in your blood sugar regulation, improving health and lifestyle.

For other superfoods, see our 12 amazing superfoods blog.

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Happy Eating!

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