Hot Peppers & Your Health

bell peppers dropped on water

I’m always curious about people who don’t like spicy foods. I’ve been eating things on the spicy side since I was old enough to understand the difference between a seasoned bite and a bland one. Initially it was all about adding as much cayenne as I could stand to any given dish. But as I grew up and my tastes expanded, I came to understand the actual benefits of a spicy bite.

pile of green and red chilis

Peppers, mild or hot, have a wide range of health benefits. But the peppers on the spicier side do more than just head up any given dish. The capsaicin they contain can also do wonders for your health and wellness:

  • Speed your metabolism
  • Alleviate pain
  • Clear a runny nose
  • Boost your health

I’ve made no secret about my love for sweating in infrared heat. I will often take a ginger/cayenne shot (or three) before getting into the sauna. It boosts the sauna’s efficacy by literally heating my body from the inside out. It’s not a requirement for me to get in an epic sweat session, but it certainly helps.

bell peppers dropped on water

I tend to use this spicy spice topically to alleviate pain. If my muscles have taken a particular beating, I’ll mix a little cayenne in with olive oil and turn it into a heat-conducting rub. It penetrates quickly and gets the job done.

In the rare event that I get a runny nose, I will take a cayenne shot with ginger and lemon. It almost immediately clears my pathways… and if things feel a little more serious, I’ll do a shot before bed. The next day I always feel refreshed and balanced.

That might be because in addition to being antimicrobial, peppers are also an excellent source of Vitamin C. They also contain vitamins A, B, and E. Even without all of the proven benefits of these hot little numbers, I’m a fan. I love them in food, pickled, dried… you name it. Even if they weren’t so beneficial, I’d still include them in my daily intake.

If you’re shy about taking a walk on the spicy side… start mild. Even the gentler versions are incredibly good for you. Start slow, and increase the heat as you can stand it. Here’s hoping you come to love the heat as much as I do!

Published by Shahada Karim

Aryuvedic Nutritionist - Movement Therapist - Chef - Author

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