Medical Use & Health
Benefits Of Hot Chile Peppers
Buy: Dried Chiles Chile Powders Hot Pepper Seeds
Health BenefitsFight Inflammation
Chili peppers contain a substance calledcapsaicin, which gives peppers their characteristic pungence, producing mild to intense spice when eaten. Capsaicin is a potent inhibitor of substance P, a neuropeptide associated with inflammatory processes. The hotter the chili pepper, the more capsaicin it contains. The hottest varieties include habanero and Scotch bonnet peppers. Jalapenos are next in their heat and capsaicin content, followed by the milder varieties, including Spanish pimentos, and Anaheim and Hungarian cherry peppers.
Capsaicin is being studied as an effective treatment for sensory nerve fiber disorders, including pain associated with arthritis, psoriasis, and diabetic neuropathy. When animals injected with a substance that causes inflammatory arthritis were fed a diet that contained capsaicin, they had delayed onset of arthritis, and also significantly reduced paw inflammation.
Natural Pain Relief
Topical capsaicin is now a recognized treatment option for osteoarthritis pain. Several review studies of pain management for diabetic neuropathy have listed the benefits of topical capsaicin to alleviate disabling pain associated with this condition.
In a double-blind placebo controlled trial, nearly 200 patients with psoriasis were given topical preparations containing either capsaicin or placebo. Patients who were given capsaicin reported significant improvement based on a severity score which traced symptoms associated with psoriasis. The side effect reported with topical capsaicin cream is a burning sensation at the area of application.
Red chili peppers, such as cayenne, have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol, triglyceride levels, and platelet aggregation, while increasing the body’s ability to dissolve fibrin, a substance integral to the formation of blood clots. Cultures where hot pepper is used liberally have a much lower rate of heart attack, stroke and pulmonary embolism.
Spicing your meals with chili peppers may also protect the fats in your blood from damage by free radicals – a first step in the development of atherosclerosis. In a randomized, crossover study involving 27 healthy subjects (14 women, 13 men), eating freshly chopped chili was found to increase the resistance of blood fats, such as cholesterol and triglycerides, to oxidation (free radical injury).
Subjects were randomly divided into 2 groups. For 4 weeks, half the subjects ate a freshly chopped chili blend (30 grams/day, about 1 ounce), consisting of 55% cayenne, while the other half consumed a bland diet (no chili). After 4 weeks, the groups were crossed over for another 4 weeks. During the intervention periods, consumption of other spices such as cinnamon, ginger, garlic, and mustard was restricted. Blood samples were obtained at the beginning of the study and after each dietary period.
After eating the chili-containing diet, the rate of oxidation (free radical damage to cholesterol and triglycerides) was significantly lower in both men and women than that seen after eating the bland diet.
In addition, after eating the chili-spiced diet, women had a longer lag time before any damage to cholesterol was seen compared to the lag time seen after eating the bland diet. In men, the chili-diet also lowered resting heart rate and increased the amount of blood reaching the heart.
Capsaicin not only reduces pain, but its peppery heat also stimulates secretions that help clear mucus from your stuffed up nose or congested lungs.
The bright color of red chili peppers signals its high content of beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A. Just two teaspoons of red chili peppers provide about 6% of the daily value for vitamin C coupled with more than 10% of the daily value for vitamin A. Often called the anti-infection vitamin, vitamin A is essential for healthy mucous membranes, which line the nasal passages, lungs, intestinal tract and urinary tract and serve as the body’s first line of defense against invading pathogens.
Help Stop the Spread of Prostate Cancer
Red chili peppers’ capsaicin, the compound responsible for their pungent heat, stops the spread of prostate cancer cells through a variety of mechanisms, indicates a study published in the March 15, 2006 issue of Cancer Research . Capsaicin triggers suicide in both primary types of prostate cancer cell lines, those whose growth is stimulated by male hormones and those not affected by them. In addition, capsaicin lessens the expression of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), inhibits the ability of the most potent form of testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, to activate PSA, and directly inhibits PSA transcription, causing PSA levels to plummet.
The dose effective for test animals was equivalent to 400 milligrams of capsaicin, three times a week, for a man weighing about 200 pounds. After four weeks of receiving capsaicin, prostate cancer tumor growth and size decreased significantly in the animals. One warning: Excessive intake of hot chilies has been linked to stomach cancer, so don’t go overboard.
Prevent Stomach Ulcers
Chili peppers have a bad—and mistaken—reputation for contributing to stomach ulcers. Not only do they not cause ulcers, they can help prevent them by killing bacteria you may have ingested, while stimulating the cells lining the stomach to secrete protective buffering juices.
All that heat you feel after eating hot chili peppers takes energy—and calories to produce. Even sweet red peppers have been found to contain substances that significantly increase thermogenesis (heat production) and oxygen consumption for more than 20 minutes after they are eaten.
Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Making chili pepper a frequently enjoyed spice in your Healthiest Way of Eating could help reduce your risk of hyperinsulinemia (high blood levels of insulin)—a disorder associated with type 2 diabetes.
In a study published in the July 2006 issue of theAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Australian researchers show that the amount of insulin required to lower blood sugar after a meal is reduced if the meal contains chili pepper. When chili-containing meals are a regular part of the diet, insulin requirements drop even lower.
Plus, chili’s beneficial effects on insulin needs get even better as body mass index (BMI, a measure of obesity) increases. In overweight people, not only do chili-containing meals significantly lower the amount of insulin required to lower blood sugar levels after a meal, but chili-containing meals also result in a lower ratio of C-peptide/ insulin, an indication that the rate at which the liver is clearing insulin has increased.
The amount of C-peptide in the blood also shows how much insulin is being produced by the pancreas. The pancreas produces proinsulin, which splits into insulin and C-peptide when secreted into the bloodstream. Each molecule of proinsulin breaks into one molecule of C-peptide and one molecule of insulin, so less C-peptide means less insulin has been secreted into the bloodstream.
In this study, which involved 36 subjects aged 22-70 years, the effects of three interventions were evaluated. Subjects were given a bland meal after a bland diet containing no spices, a chili-containing meal after a bland diet, and finally, a chili-containing meal after a chili-containing diet. A palatable chili flavoring, not pure capsaicin (the active component in chili), was used.
Blood sugar rose similarly after all three interventions, but insulin rose the most after the bland meal after a bland diet and the least after the chili-containing meal after a chili-rich diet.
The maximum increases in insulin after the bland diet followed by a chili-containing meal were 15% lower than after the bland meal following a bland diet, and 24% lower after the chili-containing meal after a chili-rich diet compared to the chili-containing meal after the bland diet.
C-peptide blood levels also increased the most after the bland meal after a bland diet and the least after the chili-containing meal after a chili-rich diet, showing the least insulin was secreted after the chili-rich diet and meal.
In addition, the C-peptide/insulin ratio was highest after the chili-containing meal after a chili-rich diet, indicating an increase in the liver’s ability to clear insulin.
Besides capsaicin, chilies contain antioxidants, including vitamin C and carotenoids, which might also help improve insulin regulation.
A little chili pepper can really perk up an omelet, add heat to a black bean/sweet potato soup, or transform an ordinary salad dressing. So, spice up your meals with chili peppers. Your body will need to make less insulin and will use it more effectively. No need to go overboard though. Population studies in India and Mexico suggest that loading up on hot chilies at every meal may be linked to increased risk of stomach cancer.
This is the plant that puts fire on your tongue and maybe even a tear in your eye when you eat spicy Mexican, simmering Szechuan, smoldering Indian, or torrid Thai food. Chili peppers belong to the family of foods bearing the Latin name Capsicum.
There are hundreds of different types of chili peppers that vary in size, shape, color, flavor and “hotness.” This fleshy berry features many seeds inside a potent package that can range from less than one inch to six inches in length, and approximately one-half to one inch in diameter. Chili peppers are usually red or green in color.
Habanero, chipotle, jalapeno, Anaheim, and ancho are just some of the popular varieties of chili peppers available. Another is cayenne, which is well known as a spice in its dried and powdered form, and usually referred to as cayenne or cayenne pepper (even though that term does refer to the whole pepper, regardless of preparation).
Other ground chili peppers are used to make chili powder. Chili peppers are used as a food and seasoning and revered for their medicinal qualities.
It’s not surprising that chili peppers can trace their history to Central and South America, regions whose cuisines are renowned for their hot and spicy flavors. Chili peppers have been cultivated in these regions for more than seven thousand years, first as a decorative item and later as a foodstuff and medicine.
It was not until the 15th and 16th centuries that chili peppers were introduced to the rest of the world. Christopher Columbus encountered them on his explorations of the Caribbean Islands and brought them back to Europe. There, they were used as a substitute for black pepper, which was very expensive since it had to be imported from Asia.
Explorer Ferdinand Magellan is credited with introducing chili peppers into Africa and Asia, continents that have since incorporated them into their cuisines and pharmacopeias. Chili peppers are now grown on all continents, however, China, Turkey, Nigeria, Spain and Mexico are among the largest commercial producers.
How to Select and Store
Choose fresh chili peppers that have vivid, deep colors and glossy, firm and taut skins. Their stems should seem hardy and fresh. With the exception of jalapenos, peppers should not have any cracks near the stem end. Avoid those that are wrinkled or have soft areas or black spots.
When purchasing dried chili peppers look for ones that are still vivid in color. If they’ve lost their color, they’ve probably lost their flavor as well. Both fresh and dried chili peppers are available throughout the year in most areas.
Even though dried herbs and spices are widely available in supermarkets, explore the local spice stores or ethnic markets in your area. Oftentimes, these stores feature an expansive selection of dried herbs and spices that are of superior quality and freshness than those offered in regular markets. Just like with other dried spices, try to select organically grown dried chili pepper, including cayenne pepper, since this will give you more assurance that it has not been irradiated.
Place unwashed fresh peppers in paper bags or wrap in paper towels and store in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator, where they should keep for at least one week. Avoid storing peppers in plastic bags as this may result in moisture accumulation, which will cause them to spoil more quickly.
Fresh peppers can also be hung in the sunlight to dry. Once dried, they can be used to make freshly ground chili powder. Dried peppers and chili powders should be kept in a tightly sealed jar, away from sunlight.
Powdered chili pepper, such as cayenne pepper and chili powder, should be kept in a tightly sealed glass jar, away from direct sunlight.
Tips for Preparing and CookingTips for Cooking with Chili Peppers
Be very careful when you are handling and cooking fresh chili peppers. One of the peppers’ most pungent compounds, capsaicin, can cause a severe burning sensation if it touches your skin or lips, or comes in contact with your eyes.
Because of this, some people prefer to wear thin rubber gloves when working with chili peppers. If you choose not to do this, make sure to thoroughly wash your hands after handling them. Additionally, you should wash your knife and cutting board after cutting these peppers.
Capsaicin primarily resides in the seeds and fleshy white inner membranes. If you want to enjoy the pungency of peppers but minimize their heat, you can remove these parts, although capsaicin is responsible for much of chili pepper’s healing properties.
There is a range of “hotness” between pepper varieties and sometimes also within the same varieties. Therefore, each time you cook with them you may need to adjust the amount you use. Before adding chili peppers to a recipe, taste a little piece to determine the spice level, so you will know how much to add.
How to EnjoyA Few Quick Serving IdeasThe next time you make healthy sautéed vegetables, add some chili peppers to turn up the spice volume.Add chili peppers to your favorite corn bread recipe to give it an extra spark.Add minced chili peppers to yogurt and use as a condiment or dip.Add jalapenos to your favorite tuna salad recipe.Purée fresh chili peppers together with olive oil, garlic, coriander, peppermint, and caraway. If you would like, add your own favorite herbs and spices to this mixture to make your own version of Harissa, a condiment popular in the some Middle Eastern and North African countries.Keep a container of cayenne pepper on the table right next to the pepper mill, so you and your family can add a pinch of extra spice to any of your meals.Cayenne pepper and lemon juice make great complements to cooked bitter greens such as collards, kale and mustard greens.Individual Concerns
Capsaicin can irritate or burn your eyes or hands. Chili oil can stick to the skin, so wash hands thoroughly after handling the peppers and be cautious about touching your hands to your eyes. Be aware that pepper dust from grinding dried peppers can irritate throat and eyes. You can protect yourself by wearing a dust mask and goggles.
If you find you can’t take the heat, cool off with a glass of milk. A protein in milk called casein can help douse capsaicin’s fire.
Chili Pepper Belongs to the Nightshade Family
Chili pepper is one of the vegetables in the nightshade (Solanaceae) family, which also includes eggplant, tomatoes, bell peppers and white potatoes. Anecdotal case histories link improvement in arthritis symptoms with removal of these foods; however, there are no scientific studies to date that confirm this information.
Hot Peppers and Pesticide Residues
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in their 2014 report, Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, conventionally grown hot peppers are contaminated with concentrations of organophosphate insecticides, which are considered to be highly toxic to the nervous system. While they were not among the 12 varieties of produce most concentrated in overall pesticide residues (and therefore not part of the EWG’s traditional “Dirty Dozen”), the EWG felt that this organophosphate concentration was relevant enough to bring attention to hot peppers. They actually renamed their produce category of concern from “Dirty Dozen” to “Dirty Dozen Plus” with hot peppers, kale, and collard greens being the “Plus” conventionally grown produce. Therefore, individuals wanting to avoid pesticide-associated health risks may want to avoid consumption of hot peppers unless they are grown organically.
Although some chiles are quite hot, most are valued for their soothing effects on the digestive system, relief from symptoms of colds, sore throats and fevers, circulation, especially for cold hands and feet, and as a hangover remedy. Peppers can act as a heart stimulant which regulates blood flow and strengthens the arteries, possibly reducing heart attacks. Nutritionally, fresh chile peppers are an excellent source of calcium and vitamin C. You can make a chile tincture (medicine), especially from the hottest varieties, by drying the peppers and grounding into a powder. Use one or two tablespoons in warm water for relief of may symptoms. Or pack chile powder into gel capsules for use when making a tea is not convenient.
Capsaicin is a remarkable health-promoting substance. But since burning and irritation are common side effects, it may be wise to start using it slowly and building up a tolerance for larger quantities.
I can not vouch for any of the health benefits or medical uses provided in this information. Some may consider them under the category of “old wife’s tales”. Other remedies may work like miracles. Try them at your own risk. If you do not get the benefit you were seeking at least you can still enjoy the heat.
General Science : March 19, 2006
Hot chili peppers might help fight prostate cancer: Study
Capsaicin, the heat-generating element in the chili peppers that delights spicy food lovers around the world, causes prostate cancer cells to kill themselves, researchers said Wednesday.
A team of US cancer scientists found in tests on mice that capsaicin could provoke apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in the cells behind human prostate cancer, the most common cancer among men in the United States.
Scientists at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, the tests showed the potential of repressing the growth of the cancer cells in humans. “Capsaicin had a profound anti-proliferative effect on human prostate cancer cells in culture,” said the institute’s Soren Lehmann. “It also dramatically slowed the development of prostate tumors formed by those human cell lines grown in mouse models,” he said.
To conduct their test, the researchers fed the heat-generating alkaloid found in all types of chilis orally to mice. Lehmann said the dose was equivalent to a 200 pound (90 kilogram) man eating from three to eight of the ultra-hot habanero peppers three times a week.
The heat of habanero peppers registers up to 300,000 Scoville units, compared to a maximum of 5,000 Scoville units for jalapenos and 175,000 for bird chilis popular in Southeast Asia and Africa, according to the Chile Pepper Institute of New Mexico State University.
Lehmann’s research team found that the capsaicin interfered with the cancer cells’ ability to avoid apoptosis, which occurs normally in many tissues as they replace aged cells with new ones. Cancer cells are able to mutate or change genes to avoid a programmed dying off.
The team found that the doses of capsaicin induced about 80 percent of prostate cancer cells to move toward apoptosis.
Prostate cancer kills about 221,000 people worldwide every year.
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Chile peppers, especially hotter varieties such as Cayenne and Habanero, can also be used externally as a remedy for painful joints, for frostbite, and applied directly to stop bleeding. They stimulate blood flow to the affected area, thus reducing inflammation and discomfort. Sprinkle a little powder into gloves or shoes to help stimulate circulation and keep the hands and feet warm. To make a liniment for external use, gently boil 1 tablespoon of hot pepper in 1 pint of cider vinegar. Do not strain, and bottle while hot.
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For toothaches, make an Oil out of Cayenne and make a plug out of cotton saturated with the oil. Press into the affected tooth cavity.
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Fresh or lightly cooked peppers are rich in Vitamin C; indeed this was first isolated in Hungary from bell pepper. However, these peppers are best known in medicine as sources of capsaicin which is used as an investigatory tool (since it stimulates liberation of Substance P, and is relied on as a cough inducing agent in laboratory studies) as well as a pain relieving medication for topical use inarthritis and neuropathies. Peppers which have pungency increase mucous secretion in the lungs and nose. The capsaicin of chile peppers is also used offensively in pepper sprays since it is very irritating to the eyes and respiratory tract. Most of the older medical uses (such as dyspepsia) are not regarded as valid medications, but chile pepper is still used in Ayurvedic therapy to treat peptic ulcers. Currently, capsaicin is used topically in proprietary creams to treat painand neuropathies, whereas formerly chile-impregnated plasters and poultices were similarly used. The addition of chile pepper to chicken soup (with accompanying garlic and other herbs) is recommended as a useful therapy for colds, sinusitis and bronchitis.
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Aside from their eye-opening flavor, perhaps the most surprising feature of chili peppers is their vitamin C content–91 milligrams in 1/4 cup of fresh chilies. Most people don’t eat chili peppers in large quantities, but the amount of vitamin C is still significant. And red chilies (although not green ones) are full of beta-carotene. The nutritional aspect of hot peppers most interesting to researchers today, however, is capsaicin–the compound that gives chilies their “burn.” Capsaicin seems to have a positive effect on blood cholesterol, and also works as an anticoagulant. And the “high” that some people experience when eating fiery chili-spiked foods is a perfectly safe one: Some scientists theorize that in response to the discomfort produced by the chilies’ “burn,” the brain releases endorphins–substances that, at high levels, can create a sensation of pleasure.
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In a study of 200 patients with psoriasis, application of a 0.025-percent capsaicin cream significantly reduced itching, scaling, thickness, and redness compared with patients who used a plain cream.
A nasal application of capsaicin greatly ameliorated symptoms among 52 patients suffering from cluster headaches. Seventy percent of the patients benefitted when the capsaicin was applied to the nostril on the same side as the headache. When capsaicin was applied to the opposite nostril, patients did not improve.
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Stomach Ulcers – Cayenne Peppers may help Improve Condition
If you suffer from a peptic or duodenal ulcer, the last thing you might consider taking is hot Cayenne Pepper. This goes against everything you’ve ever heard about what aggravates an ulcer, the facts are that most “spicy” foods do just the opposite.
Capsicum Cayenne Pepper can reduce pain which serves as a local anesthetic to ulcerated tissue in the stomach and can even help to control bleeding in the stomach. Some individuals may be bothered by eating “Red Pepper” or spicy foods, these foods do not cause the formation of gastric ulcers in normal people. An interesting note is that people suffering from ulcers usually avoid Cayenne Pepper, in fact those people may actually benefit from its therapeutic action.
Taking Capsicum may significantly reduce the risk of ever developing a peptic ulcer. A Chinese study published in 1995 stated, “Our data supports the hypothesis that the chile used has a protective effect against peptic ulcer disease.”1
Another 1995 study found that Capsicum can even protect the stomach lining from aspirin induced ulcers.2
Aspirin can cause stomach ulceration in certain individuals or if taken with too little water or juice. Researchers have concluded after experimenting with human volunteers that the capsaicin content of capsicum has a definite gastro – protective effect on the mucous membranes of the stomach.3 Eighteen healthy volunteers with normal gastrointestinal mucosa took chile and water followed by 600 mg of aspirin and water. The study was conducted over a period of four weeks. Endoscopy results showed that taking 20 grams of chile before the aspirin definitely demonstrated a protective action on the stomach lining.4
Capsicum has the ability to rebuild stomach tissue. Capsicum has the ability to bring blood to regions of tissue at a faster rate boosts the assimilation of foods that are consumed with it. Several clinical studies support this phenomenon. It has been thought that Capsicum stimulate the release of substances which increase secretions in the stomach and intestines plus can increase an abundance of blood to the stomach and intestines.5 In fact, Capsicum can increases the flow of digestive secretions from the salivary, gastric and intestinal glands.
The back story: With the seasonal harvest of chile peppers under way, it seemed appropriate to revisit the pepper’s reputation as a weight-loss aid. Claims of medicinal properties of chile peppers have circulated for years. The reported benefits have included everything from easing arthritis pain to lowering cholesterol. In 2002, Heidi Allison promoted the use of the Southwest staple for the diet conscious in her book The Chili Pepper Diet.
What advocates claim: The capsaicin found in chile peppers is believed to be the agent responsible for the peppers’ beneficial effects. It’s the same substance that makes chiles spicy, so the hotter the chile, the more potential benefit. Some maintain that chile peppers aid weight loss by increasing metabolism. Peppers can support a healthful diet by adding flavor to otherwise bland foods, and they put the brakes on appetite. Anyone who has ordered a dish from a Thai menu with a three-pepper rating can tell you that it’s hard to overindulge on a meal with that much heat. What’s more, eating chile peppers releases endorphins that make us feel good.
What we know: In 1986, researchers at Oxford Polytechnic in England fed 12 volunteers identical 766-calorie meals. On some days, researchers added three grams each of chile powder and mustard. On alternate days, they added nothing. Researchers found that on the days they added extra spices, participants burned 45 extra calories, on average.
To test her theory about chile peppers, author Allison conducted a small study with the aid of a registered dietitian and a UCLA internist. Fourteen subjects ate a low-fat diet with and without chiles. During the 56 days in which volunteers ate chiles, participants lost an average of 9.4 pounds. By comparison, in the phase of the study in which they did not eat chiles, volunteers lost only nine-tenths of a pound. Allison said subjects also reported fewer cravings for fat and sweets during the chile phase.
Both studies were too small to draw firm conclusions, but the idea has promise. A 1999 review of weight-loss supplements found “some support for mild effects of capsaicin” in whole foods, but not in supplements.
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Peppers are hot — as a health and diet aid
Darren Swan Oct 02, 2007
The spicier a pepper, the stronger its health effect.
The secret is out: hot peppers are the spice to a healthier life.
Capsaicin, the hot pepper’s natural heat-causing component, has been proven tokill cancer cells, prevent sinus infections, serve as an anti-inflammatory agent, provide gastric relief and produce fat oxidation.
A daily dose of hot peppers lets people breath easier, feel less pain and lower their body fat.
Registered Dietitians and medical experts in Chicago are pushing the multitalented and diverse health benefits of hot peppers.
Carla R. Heiser, registered dietitian and managing partner of Body Logic MD in Chicago, advocates diet and lifestyle strategies in conjunction with a cohesive medicinal plan.
“Medication is used to heal and people can use their food to keep the process going to eventually come off the medication,” Heiser said. “Successful diet and lifestyle pathways can get us away from a reliance on medications.”
The burn felt while eating a jalapeno, habanero or cayenne pepper comes directly from the food’s capsaicin. Capsaicin, though odorless and flavorless, is primarily found in the pepper’s seeds and ribs, but is also evenly distributed throughout the vegetable’s flesh, according to the Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition.
It retains the unique ability to provoke prostate cancer cell suicide, repress joint pain, block pro-inflammatory chain reactions in the blood and reduce nerve fiber swelling in the brain.
This age-old vegetable has similar effects to those of Aleve, Tylenol, Advil, Tums and chemotherapy all wrapped in one-except this food has zip, taste and no fearful side effects to the consumer beyond a spicy backlash.
The hot pepper’s fuel has the same metabolic effects as Ephedra without containing Ephredra’s negative cardiovascular side effects. It has been added to vitamin and weight loss supplements to increase effectiveness and safety.
A common myth exists that hot peppers cause ulcers and small intestine irritation. However, research asserts that though spicy food may add to ulcer pain and irritation, it does not function as a cause: Ulcer development has never been factually linked to spicy foods or hot peppers.
Recent experiments at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles provided experimental evidence supporting capsaicin’s ability to halt prostate cell replication and encourage programmed cell death. Heiser said the uncovered benefits of capsaicin are on the right evolutionary road and we as eaters should get on the bandwagon.
“The first path was treating cancer cells with capsaicin and then to use the data to write the study that would then be applied to animals,” she said.
“This is all a scientific process,” she said.” We’ll move from a Petrie to replication on an animal model and with good results they are likely to move to human beings. Animals might even be skipped because [hot peppers] are already in our food supply.”
Hot pepper research has become incredibly popular in 2007 with more than 200 placebo-controlled studies conducted in that time.
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When it comes to health food, people pick peppers
Hot peppers have been around for more than 6,000 years and now they are taking the medical world by storm.
They have an array of health benefits and it’s time to get them in your diet.
Most authentic Mexican dishes call for some type of hot pepper, whether they be jalapeno, poblano or even chiles all do the trick. Some sandwiches at your local deli come with pepperoncini or even wax peppers.
However, Dawn Jackson Blatner, registered dietician and author, said people need to get creative in the ways they incorporate these little red, green, yellow, red and orange vegetable fireballs to acquire a taste for some of nature’s piquant foods.
Blatner said hot pepper medicine is exciting because people have these foods already in their cabinets.
“The first take home message for people is that these foods taste good and it can be good for you too,” the Chicago-based nutrition expert said.
“Hot peppers and their active ingredient, capsaicin, acts as an anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory agent, reduces risk for heart disease, and is great for people witharthritis or marathoners regarding inflammation. It’s a pretty special spice.”
Preliminary research proposes that adding a teaspoon of cayenne pepper can cause the body to burn an extra 15 calories after eating the meal.
Blatner, a personal cayenne pepper lover, has come up with several different ways to incorporate the food into her diet.
She will burn some whole grain popcorn and sprinkle the pepper on top of it. Adding it to spaghetti sauce is a good way to subdue the strength of the pepper without losing its nutritional value.
Mix some in with a low fat frozen chocolate yogurt can give a peppery touch to dessert. This is a must-have spice to keep in your rack.
The power of plants and vegetables does not surprise dietitians. Hot peppers are phenomenal for the body and these experts in food and diet rely on these to help improve the human condition.
“We know plants are very powerful to protect humans against disease and we use them as much as possible,” she said.
Not everyone loves spicy food or can tolerate it, for that matter.
Sometimes it takes up to 14 food exposures in taste tests or especially with children to get used to a new food.
Blatner, who works with overweight patients at Northwestern Memorial Hospital Wellness Institute in Chicago and is a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, said eating hot peppers is like any other desired health habit.
“Keep practicing and one day you’ll start craving it,” she said.
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In the countries where diets are traditionally high in capsaicin (the chili pepper substance, the fruits contain 0.1-1.5% capsaicin), the cancer death rates for men and women are significantly lower than they are in countries with less chili pepper consumption (World Health Organization statistics). When capsaicin was administered to rats receiving carcinogenic agents, the incidence of certaintumors were decreased over controls. Capsaicin has been found to preferentially inhibit the growth of cancer cells in laboratory studies. Experiments have shown that capsaicin seems to be able to detoxify a wide range of chemical carcinogenswhich, if left free to roam the body, could set up mutations that lead to cancers. It also induces apoptosis in various immortalized or malignant cell lines.
Researchers tested the capsaicin on human skin cancer cells to analyze how the cells reacted. They found that the majority of the skin cancer cells exposed to the substances died. The researchers say these substances seem to kill cells by damaging the cell membranes and limiting the amount of oxygen that reaches the cancer cells.
Study authors Numsen Hail Jr. and Reuben Lotan, PhD, of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston say if more studies confirm these findings, the compounds may eventually be used in skin patches or creams that could treat or prevent skin cancers.
A different human study found that people who ate the most cayenne actually hadlower rates of stomach cancer.
A chili pepper tincture can be used in the amount of 0.3-1 ml TID. An infusion can be made by pouring a cup of boiling water onto 1/2-1 tsp of cayenne powder and let set for 10 minutes. A teaspoon of this infusion can be mixed with water and drunk three to four times daily.
The medical profession has a long history of opposing alternative healing professions. While always claiming public safety as its reasons for the attacks, the true reasons involve protecting their monopoly of the health care market. In the past, medicine has fought battles to limit the practices of such professionals as homeopaths, naturopaths, osteopaths, podiatrists, optometrists, dentists, psychologists and chiropractors. In the case of osteopathy and chiropractic, there are distinct differences in the approach to healing and health when compared to medicine. The last thing that organized medicine wants is for their doctrine of drugs and surgery to be challenged. And it is still going on today
Capsaicin (CH3)2CHCH=CH(CH2)4CONHCH2C6H3-4-(OH)-3-(OCH3)) is the active component of chili peppers, which are plants belonging to the genus Capsicum. It is an irritant for mammals, including humans, and produces a sensation of burning in any tissue with which it comes into contact. Capsaicin and several related compounds are called capsaicinoids and are produced as a secondary metabolite by chili peppers, probably as deterrents against certain herbivores and fungi. Pure Capsaicin is a hydrophobic, colorless, odorless, crystalline to waxy compound.
The American Association for Cancer Research reports studies suggesting Capsaicin is able to kill prostate cancer cells by causing them to undergo apoptosis. The studies were performed on tumors formed by human prostate cancer cell cultures grown in mouse models, and showed tumors treated with capsaicin were about one fifth the size of the untreated tumors. There have been several clinical studies conducted in Japan and China that showed natural capsaicin directly inhibits the growth of leukemic cells. Another study carried out at the University of Nottingham suggests capsaicin is able to trigger apoptosis in human lung cancer cells as well. Also in other clinical studies conducted in Japan, England and the United States, capsaicin, the critical secondary metabolite compound found in cayenne pepper, has been shown to cause cancer cells to undergo “apoptosis” a form of cellular self termination or suicide, if you will. So is the 4 C’s a reality or not? For now the question; “Can Capsaicin Cure Cancer?” remains unanswered.
Capsaicin is also the key ingredient in the experimental drug called Adlea, which is in Phase 2 trials as a long acting analgesic to treat post-surgical and osteoarthritis pain for weeks to months after a single injection to the site of pain. More over, it reduces pain resulting from rheumatoid arthritis as well as joint or muscle pain from fibromyalgia or other causes.