Hot, bitter, hot pepper is an unusual product! While eating it, a person’s pulse rises and breathing quickens, pupils dilate, and endorphins are synthesized in the body. A feeling of euphoria appears.
And it seems that is why chili has so many fans around the world!
The homeland of hot pepper is America. Archaeological excavations in Peruvian burials have shown that a vegetable was grown there long before the Europeans set foot on these lands.
Scientists believe that peppers were one of the first plants to be “tamed” by humans. The seeds found are prescribed to be 6,000 years old!
Despite the fact that there are now hundreds of varieties of hot pepper, they all descended from one species – Capsicum annuum. It does not matter what kind of variety we are talking about: with a mild and sweetish taste (like, for example, Bulgarian) or so spicy that you can cook food from it only in a protective suit.
People and birds
It may sound surprising, but chili peppers were not always bitter and pungent. Such “superpowers” appeared in him in the process of evolution. So the vegetable “protected” itself from being eaten by mammals in order to cover as much fertile land as possible.
The fact is that birds do not feel its burning taste. They do not have the vanilloid receptors that are present in the human body. Therefore, birds are ideal distributors of an extraordinary plant.
The hot pepper eating championship is held annually in the United States. Its participants easily and naturally put the spicy varieties of it in their mouths, hoping to get universal recognition and … the main prize. And few people know that with each bite, the pepper becomes more acute.
Previously, it was believed that the pungency is concentrated, first of all, in the seeds of the vegetable, but it turned out not: to a greater extent it is concentrated in the pulp. The closest part of the pod to the stem of the plant is the “hottest” part – after all, it contains the highest capsaicin content.
While different varieties of pepper have different shades, they are all … indicators of the maturity of the pod. The peppers first grow green, then turn yellow and finally red. But sometimes the yellow or orange color of the fruit is the color of its full ripeness.
Green fruits have the most bitter taste. They contain a minimum of chemicals (vitamin C and beta-carotene) that give the fruit a sweet taste.
In the Land of the Rising Sun there is a pepper called “shishito”. Its pods are pale green in color, and their flesh and taste are soft and sweet. Except in rare cases. One in ten pods is bitter and pungent.
Of course, compared to the classic hot pepper, it is less “hot”, but its pungency is enough to make eating these peppers an exciting gamble – Japanese roulette.
Peppers and human health
Many people believe that oranges are the richest source of vitamin C. But in fact, there are many products that not only are not inferior to them in terms of the content of “ascorbic acid”, but even surpass them. And hot peppers are among them.
For comparison: in 100 g of oranges 69 mg of “ascorbic acid”, and in 100 g of peppers – as much as 107 mg!
But it is hardly worth considering peppers as a source of vitamin C. Simply because very few people risk eating them whole pods. However, for other health benefits, this is not required. So what are burning fruits capable of?
If hot peppers are consumed regularly, the ability of the receptors to feel pain will decrease over time. The peppers will not seem so hot and pungent. But interestingly, the receptors will become less sensitive to other types of pain, such as heartburn caused by acid reflux.
One study found that when people with heartburn were asked to consume 2.5 grams of red chili per day, the pain increased at the beginning of the experiment, but over time it decreased markedly.
However, the results obtained are not permanent. After returning to the usual menu, the painful sensations with heartburn completely returned.
2- Stimulates weight loss
Research shows that the capsaicin in peppers can help you lose weight in two ways. They help to calm the burning appetite and stimulate the burning of body fat.
One study in 24 people found that eating peppers before meals reduced calorie intake. And another study has shown a link between eating 10 grams of chili peppers daily and an increase in the rate of fat burning, both in women and men.
However, despite these bright prospects, researchers still insist that pepper supplements work better when combined with a healthy lifestyle.
3- Help lower blood pressure
Capsaicin is responsible for this mechanism of action. It has a positive effect on blood vessels, reduces inflammation, due to which blood flow increases and pressure naturally decreases.
According to the observations of experts, in the southwestern provinces of China, the population of which is famous for its love of hot spices, people suffering from hypertension are 20% less.
4- Serves as cancer prevention
Several studies have demonstrated the ability of capsaicin to initiate the death of cancer cells. For example, American studies, published in the Journal of Controlled Release, argue that hot peppers may be beneficial for lung, breast and prostate cancer. The American Cancer Research Association published the same findings.
The phytochemicals found in hot peppers help to thin the mucus in the nasal passages and make breathing easier. So if someone fell on the holidays with a cold accompanied by a runny nose, spicy food would be the best option for a signature dish. And as additional support – nasal sprays with capsaicin.
5- Strengthens the immune system
Not much research has been done on this yet, but now there is every reason to believe that the regular use of “hot” peppers stimulates an increase in human immunity. Carotenoids, capsaicin, ferulic and synaptic acids in the product are responsible for this.