The idea of adding a little spice to your life takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to chili peppers. Chilies add a lot more than spice. The impact of these capsicum fruits that originated in what is now Mexico at least 7,500 years ago go well beyond flavoring food. They have been used for a variety of medicinal purposes ever since. WellWell thought you should know just what you’re getting from these power-packed chilies, so we developed a list of their biggest health benefits.
Red chili peppers, such as cayenne, are great at lowering blood cholesterol, triglyceride levels and platelet aggregation, while increasing the body’s ability to dissolve fibrin, a substance integral to the formation of blood clots. If proof is needed, just look to cultures where hot pepper is a way of life and you’ll find a much lower rate of heart attack, stroke and pulmonary embolism than in areas where chilies are less popular.
The powerful antioxidants and capsaicin included chilies may have a positive impact on fighting cancer, according to a spate of recent research. In fact, some studies claim eating these peppers will reduce the presence of certain cancer cells, such as prostate and colon cancers. Their antioxidant-rich nutritional profile may also help protect individuals from harmful free radicals. Beyond this, capsaicin can discourage cancerous growths while stabilizing the immune system.
The beneficial properties of capsaicin are reputed to successfully treat headaches and migraines. A study presented to the American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. In fact, reported the 13 out 18 patients treated with an intranasal capsaicin experienced full relief, while four others reported partial relief. Only one person said the treatment didn’t help at all. Apparently, capsaicin works because it desensitizes the trigeminal nerve and decreases the CGRP–both of which are responsible for creating migraine pain.
The beta carotene and antioxidants in hot peppers provide a great boost for immune systems, allowing people to more effectively fight off colds and flus. Research indicates that the related rise in body temperatures from eating hot peppers triggers the immune system to battle back. Peppers also fight 16 different fungal strains.
Topical capsaicin can bind with pain receptors, which lessens the ability of these nerve endings to sense pain. Granted, this binding come with a burning sensation, but it does not cause any real injuries. The compound in chilies, nonetheless, is effective in fighting sensory nerve fiber disorders and lessening pain associated with arthritis, psoriasis and diabetic neuropathy.
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