If you’re hot and spicy, then hot peppers just might be your thing!
Whether you eat them raw or cooked, hot peppers are a great food that should be included in everyone’s diet.
But can you handle the heat? I know that I cannot!
When I lived as a monk in Thailand for a few months I got to know the local culture.
One day I noticed seemingly everybody put 3-10 little red peppers on their plate.
Intrigued I tried one small little red pepper. Just one right? Can’t be that spicy …
Boy was I wrong. My mouth was on fire!
Coughing, crying, spitting …I was a wreck!
Even though this article on hot peppers, please know that I am not the best hot pepper eater!
However, I’ve learned a few things since my Thailand pepper experience. At the bottom of the article I’ll share how I’ve learned to bring more spicy foods into my diet without the tears!
As you’ll see below, some fiery flavors can improve your health over time.
If you’re on the fence about heating things up and feel like you’re ready to try something new, read this brief guide to the benefits of eating hot peppers every day.
What is Capsaicin?
Capsaicin it the near magical ingredient in peppers which is responsible for all the health benefits listed below.
But what is capsaicin?
Capsaicin is a molecule that belongs to the vanilloid family. This hot tasting molecule triggers your heat detecting sensors (called TRPV-receptors) which causes a cascade of events in your body, including releasing endorphins and increasing metabolism!
If a pepper is spicy, capsaicin is why.
1 – Heart Health
Wildly enough, hot peppers can dilate blood vessels, increasing overall blood flow.
Additionally, the dilation and flow promote a decrease in blood serum cholesterol and lipid deposits.
These two components are often responsible for blood clots when they’re present in excess.
Hot peppers also contain capsaicin, which has been shown to improve blood pressure by relaxing vascular muscles.
A hot pepper a day can keep things flowing and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
2 – Digestion
An abundance of stomach acids in the digestive tract can wreak havoc on the system.
A primary benefit of eating hot peppers every day is their ability to aid in the production of saliva, further stimulating digestion with gastric fluids.
In hot peppers there is also a high concentration of beneficial enzymes that help the digestive system break down food and absorb nutrients more efficiently.
Plus, hot peppers can contain antioxidants that can reduce gas and cramping.
Finally, hot peppers can improve stomach acidity by reducing inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract.
When you eat hot peppers every day, this sets off a positive feedback loop where your body becomes better equipped to digest foods as time goes on!
3 – Metabolic Support
Eating to support your metabolism requires time and patience as you learn what your body needs.
Unfortunately, it’s not a one size fits all system. Still, everyone can incorporate hot peppers into their diets to support their metabolic health.
Mild, medium, or highly spicy peppers can work well, depending on what you’re comfortable with.
Through the thermogenic process, your body will generate heat. This heat will chip away at your stored energy and begin to burn excess calories.
However, eating hot peppers to lose weight is NOT advised. Think of metabolism support as a nice little side benefit, in addition to the heart health and digestive benefits we’ve already covered 🙂
Eating to support your metabolism this way can be healthy.
4 – Immune Support
Thanks to beta carotene and high levels of antioxidants, you can support your immune system and fight off things like colds, viruses, and fungal pathogens.
The chemical capsaicin is present in every pepper and is responsible for the heat factor.
A slight increase in body temperature can trigger the immune system to begin fighting against harmful microorganisms.
Understandably, eating hot peppers every day is not for everyone. Consider exploring the different heat levels of peppers to see what you can tolerate. It’s worth a shot for a healthier you!
We all know the common term “catching a cold” right?
What if it were possible to “heat up” and beat colds back with hot peppers?
Eating hot peppers everyday is a great way to improve your immune system.
For those of you who have the stomach for spicy foods, hot peppers can be very beneficial!
Eating hot peppers every day may not only spice up your diet but also support metabolic health by increasing body temperature slightly! Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂
5 – Flavor
If hot peppers aren’t your thing, don’t worry. You can still enjoy the benefits of eating hot peppers every day by using them as a flavor enhancer!
You won’t get all of the digestive and heart health perks from doing this but you will benefit from their antioxidant properties.
To incorporate hot pepper flavors into recipes more easily, try some hot sauce or salsa on top of dishes that wouldn’t be spicy otherwise.
There are even certain items like ice cream that have been infused with spicy goodness thanks to hot pepper extracts!
If you’re not sure where to begin, check out these easy ways to add heat:
- hot sauce
- hot salsa
If hot peppers are still too much for you, try using them in lower quantities through cooking with oils and spices.
You can also add heat to your daily diet by drinking hot sauce teas or eating hot pepper seeds.
Consider experimenting with different heat levels until you find one that works best for your body!
6 – Reduce Inflammation
Eating hot peppers every day can help you reduce inflammation.
Inflammation is the root of many common health problems today, including heart disease and digestive issues like gas and cramping.
By reducing your intake of inflammatory foods (like sugar) while increasing hot pepper consumption, you may be able to manage symptoms related to arthritis or autoimmune diseases!
If hot peppers aren’t too spicy for you, they might just work wonders on any inflammations in your body 🙂
Think about it …
Doesn’t your body get super sweaty when you eat a hot pepper?
Well, we all know that sweating can be great for your health. In yoga they often say you “sweat out toxins”.
The same is true with inflammation.
When hot peppers are digested, they begin to produce heat. This can help reduce inflammation by increasing body temperature slightly!
This can help loosen things up and get things flowing again!
7 – Fight Cancer
There are hot pepper benefits to beat cancer, too!
Hot peppers contain a chemical called capsaicin that can be found in many other hot herbs and spices.
Capsaicin is known for it’s ability to help fight carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) by essentially “burning out” the bad cells as they appear.
In fact, hot peppers have been shown to shrink tumors related to prostate cancer as well as those associated with breast cancers!
Capsaicin has also been demonstrated effective against colon cancer cells. The hotter the pepper, the more powerful this effect will likely be so consider using high heat varieties if you’re trying hot peppers for their anti-tumor benefits!
Here is an excellent Healthline article which explores the research around pepper and cancer.
How to eat more spice without getting too hot
There have been a few things I’ve learned over the years …
I’m still a spice wimp but I am motivated to include some heat in my diet because of the 7 benefits listed above!
Here are a few tips to eat more spice without burning your mouth!
- First, don’t eat hot peppers on their own!
- If you’re trying to get more hot pepper benefits into your diet but still can’t stand the heat … try putting them in water for a few minutes and then drinking it like tea or blend hot peppers with other ingredients.
- You could also enjoy raw hot peppers mixed in salads (be careful not to rub your eyes afterwards).
- You may want to start by including small amounts of spice at first so that you can gradually introduce yourself to some new flavors without burning out quickly.
- Build up your spice tolerance with salsa and hot sauce
- Tapatio, Sriracha are some of my favorites!
The benefits of eating hot peppers are numerous. These include improved heart health, digestion and metabolic support.
They also offer immune system protection and help fight cancer cells in the body by reducing inflammation caused by an unhealthy diet or lifestyle choices such as smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol.
With so many ways to improve your life it’s time you tried one out for yourself!
If you want to learn more about why you’re craving spicy foods then read my blog post here!