Hot Pepper 

Hot pepper belongs to the genus Capsicum of the Solanaceae family. It originated in the American region, but it is now quite readily available all over. Hot peppers are now widely used across the globe as a food ingredient and for their medicinal properties. The fruits of the capsicum plant came to be known as hot peppers due to their spicy hot taste. Hot peppers contain many substances called capsaicinoids, of which capsaicin is primarily responsible for the spiciness of the peppers. The area around the placenta is the hottest part of the pepper fruit. The seeds also provide a feeling of heat as they are in contact with the placenta of the fruit.

Nutritional Information and Properties  

The red, ripe peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C and betacarotene or provitamin A. Yellow and green peppers, which are unripe, are lower in these vitamins. The B complex, especially B6, is found in plenty in hot peppers. Hot peppers are also excellent sources of potassium, magnesium, and iron. The high content of vitamin C in the fruit aids in the absorption of iron from other foods eaten along with the peppers, during a meal. Capsaicin, present in the fruit, causes unpleasantness in mammals but is nonreactive in a bird’s digestive tract. Hence, the bright colors of the fruit attract birds, which ensure the dispersion of the seeds and future pollination of the plant. The heat generated on consuming hot peppers helps to burn calories in a natural manner.

Health Benefits and Therapeutic Uses

Including hot peppers in your diet has multiple health benefits. Besides being a source of vitamins A, C, and K, hot peppers also help to naturally burn fat deposits in the body. Some of the other uses are as follows.

  • Capsaicin in hot peppers is believed to freeze the growth of prostate cancer cells. Its anti-cancer properties also help in arresting the growth and division of other cancer cells.
  • Hot peppers are rich in potassium and folic acid and do not contain sodium or carbohydrates; this makes them good heart-friendly foods.
  • Hot peppers also possess anti-inflammatory properties that help in the treatment of migraines, arthritis, and muscular pains.
  • Hot peppers are also considered effective in clearing up a stuffy head and nose. The addition of hot peppers in soups can help fight colds, sinusitis, and bronchitis.
  • Hot peppers also help improve blood circulation and thus increase the strength of the arteries.
  • The capsaicin in hot peppers is believed to have an anti-coagulant effect.
  • Hot peppers are also beneficial for stomach ailments. They help in the healing of stomach tissue by bringing more blood to the tissues at the site of repair. By increasing the flow of secretions from the salivary, gastric, and intestinal glands, hot peppers actually guard the stomach from developing any kind of ulcer. Hot peppers are also believed to help in suppressing appetite.
  • Hot peppers have also been used to combat depression. Eating hot peppers is said to release endorphins, or happy hormones.
  • Dried up hot pepper also helps to heal wounds. It kills bacteria and hastens the healing process.

Precautions/Side Effects/Warnings

Despite the digestive benefits of hot peppers, they should be used with caution by people suffering from stomach ulcers as too much of it can irritate the stomach lining further. Used along with other spices, excess of hot pepper can also cause burns and digestive upsets. In addition, people with liver and urinary disorders should avoid eating hot peppers.