Who’d have thought that Chillies are not only packing some serious heat in each bite, but have an impressive list of health benefits that are being experienced by many people today. A little history, Chillies are native to Central America and was introduced to the rest of the world in the 16th & 17th centuries. There are more than 200 varieties of Chillies available worldwide and they come in different colours (red, green, orange, yellow and black), and varying degrees of hotness. The heat you experience when you eat a Chilli comes from the seeds (so remove them if you can’t handle the heat) and the more mature the Chillies (red in colour) the hotter they are. Chillies are an excellent source of vitamin A, B, C &E and also contain the minerals copper, manganese, folate and potassium to name a few. It is also believed that Chillies contain more vitamin C than oranges (but who’s going to eat 100g of Chillies versus 100g of oranges to get that benefit?) The main active ingredient in Chillies is called capsaicin and is a powerful antioxidant.
The list is endless to name the benefits they contain; high levels of antioxidants, great source of vitamins and minerals, antibiotic properties, analgesic effects (acts as a natural pain killer), can lower blood sugar levels, improve heart health and blood circulation, stimulate the digestive system, clear lung and sinus congestions, relieve migraines and headaches, reduce inflammation from arthritis or joint pain and increase your metabolism and fat burning capacity. From this list of benefits it is easy to see why people are beginning to eat more Chillies through their meals and feel better and healthier.
The best way to start to eat Chillies and reap the benefits they have to offer is to slowly introduce them into your diet. This can be done through slowly adding small amounts of chopped Chillies into your favourite pasta sauce, or Asian style curry or stir fry, into soups or even casseroles. If you ever consume too many Chillies and your mouth is burning, which can happen until you build up a tolerance to them, you can have some milk or natural yoghurt to help alleviate the burning sensation you will experience.
Overall, the humble little Chilli has more to offer than just an intense hit of heat, it has many health benefits for your heart, lungs, joints, metabolism and overall all wellbeing. So if you haven’t already, start eating a little Chilli with your meals, it will be worth it.