Chiles and Health

Chile History

For ten thousand years, cultures throughout the world have known about the medicinal properties of chile peppers. In more recent times, there has been a growing body of scientific and medical evidence that indicates a correlation between the consumption of chile and health benefits. In this page, we hope to bring forth the facts so that you may discover for yourself a world of healthy living while enjoying the delicious chile pepper.

Chile Facts

In the chile pepper diet study, weight loss increased by ten-fold when chile peppers were added to low-fat meals.
Chile peppers help you lose weight by increasing your metabolism.
Chile peppers curb your appetite - especially for fatty foods and sweets.
Chile peppers make you feel good by releasing endorphins.
Chile peppers make it easier to stick to a healthy diet because the food has more flavor.

Did you know …

 Eating chile peppers burns calories?

 Chile has been found to speed up the body's metabolic rate by setting off a thermodynamic burn which can lead to weight loss?
In fact, according to Dr. Bryant Stamford at the University of Louisville at Kentucky, eating several small meals with chile peppers throughout the day instead of the traditional three, can enhance this effect on the metabolism, "spurring the body on to burn more calories."

 Chile peppers make you feel good in the same way that exercise gives you “a high?”

 Capsaicinoids irritate the trigeminal nerve cells (the pain receptors in the mouth, nose and stomach), releasing the chemical messenger Substance P?
This causes the brain to produce endorphins, the morphine-like natural painkillers that give the body a sense of wellbeing. The “runners’ high” is caused by these same endorphins.


One teaspoon of red chile sauce may provide 100% RDA for Vitamin A?

 For thousands of years, chile peppers have been used to combat a host of stomach ailments like indigestion, upset stomach, colic and diarrhea?

 Chile peppers aid digestion by increasing blood flow, which improves efficiency, reducing gas and increasing the absorption of nutrients?

 Nutritionists and health practitioners agree that eating a diet packed with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and lean proteins is the best strategy for losing weight?
This style of eating also reduces your risk for degenerative diseases such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes. However, if the idea of going on a low-fat diet makes you groan--thinking you'll be eating bland, boring food--think again. Spicing up your meals not only makes your food taste better… it helps you lose weight!


The biggest stumbling block to losing weight is feeling hungry?
In fact, most pharmaceutical approaches to weight loss have been geared toward appetite suppression. Trouble is, most diet drugs work on a short-term basis only. And these drugs have side effects. The good news is, research has uncovered that chile peppers can help you lose weight in two ways: Chile peppers decrease your appetite and increase your metabolism.

 Exactly how chilies decrease your appetite remains unclear?
Research has shown that capsaicin, the substance that makes chile peppers "hot", increases activity in the sympathetic nervous system. This in turn ups your metabolism, and appears to curb appetite--especially for fatty foods and sweets. Other scientists have found that nerves in the appetite centers in the brain (hypothalamus) and pleasure pathways (dopamine) respond to capsaicin. Moreover, chile peppers (like fats and sugar) prompt the body to release endorphins. These natural opiates promote a feeling of calm, and make you feel satisfied--a key component often missing in low-fat diets. A feeling of satiety helps us lose weight because the more satisfied we feel, the less likely we are to go for second and third helpings simply because a food smells, looks, and tastes good.

 There is scientific evidence that capsaicin revs up your metabolic rate by 30 percent for several hours after you eat a meal?
This temporary metabolic boost helps you lose weight by burning calories at a faster rate. However, to keep your metabolism running in a higher gear, you need to eat 5 to 6 smaller chile-spiked meals (rather than 3 large meals) per day. Also, caffeine will enhance the metabolic boost derived from capsaicin. You can add a strong cup of coffee, or a large glass of unsweetened ice tea (about 200 mg. of caffeine) to your chile-spiked, low-fat meals.

 Although the hotter the chile, the greater the effect - it’s best to start slowly? The amount of chile “heat” you can tolerate is determined by number of taste buds on your tongue and your medical history. For instance, women tend to be “super-tasters", which means they have more than the average amount of taste buds per centimeter on their tongue. This in turn means they will be more sensitive to hot chile peppers. In contrast, it’s usually men that enter jalapeño-eating contests since they tend to be “non-tasters” and have fewer taste buds. However, anyone can increase their tolerance to chilies by eating them frequently.

Ghost Peppers

Meet the Carolina Reaper, world's hottest pepper,
according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Gradually work your way up the Scoville scale to fiery jalapeños, New Mexico (hot) chile peppers, etc. If you’re new, or sensitive, to chilies, start with the mild, raisin-flavored ancho chile. There’s no point in eating a meal that’s so hot you’re left wondering if you taste anything but pain.

So ... between eating fewer calories and burning more, chile peppers make that difficult task of shedding unwanted pounds a lot easier. --

See Bueno Foods

See Chile Peppers

See The Pepper Scale

See Hotter Than Ghost Peppers



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  *Consultation with a health care professional should occur before applying adjustments or treatments to the body, consuming medications or nutritional supplements and before dieting, fasting or exercising. None of these activities are herein presented as substitutes for competent medical treatment. See Disclaimer.

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