Chilli peppers come from the nightshade family, closely related to bell peppers and tomatoes. These fruits of Capsicum pepper plants are noted for their pungent, hot flavour. Chillies contain mainly water and a bit of carbohydrates (88% and 9% respectively).
A lot of people add chilli peppers to their food just for the heat or spice. These colourful powerhouses however bring more than spice to the table.
Peppers are packed with antioxidants including Vitamin C, which is particularly important for the proper functioning of the immune system and promotion of wound healing.
Chillies also contain pyridoxine (vitamin B6). This nutrient plays an important role in how our bodies regulate our metabolism. Pyridoxine is also needed for healthy nerves, skin and red blood cells.
Capsaicin is a bioactive plant compound found in peppers. It speeds up the rate at which our bodies burn energy. It also helps reduce the sensitivity of nerve endings to pain. Even pain associated with acid reflux has been shown to be reduced by capsaicin.
You may have heard that chilli peppers aid weight loss. Although there is mixed evidence on this subject, it may be helpful to include chillies in your diet in addition to other healthy lifestyle practices.
Chilli peppers stimulate the secretion of saliva and gastric juices. This effect helps improve digestion. They have also been associated with reduction of gas and bloating, as well as soothing the digestive tract.
Chillies may not be a major component of your prescribed meal plan, but the cumulative impact of this spicy fruit as part of any diet cannot be overlooked. If you react to or have an insensitivity to chillies or experience digestive problems with intake of chillies, it is better to avoid or limit