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Where Do You Stand on Red Hot Chili Peppers?

By Sandy Schroeder

The "Red Hot Chili Peppers" band is a known quantity, but you may be surprised to learn the health benefits of red hot chili peppers are sounding better all the time.

Researchers are always looking for new ways to live longer, and hot chili peppers may be stepping up to help. Studies are in the observational stage, with no causal connections proven, but researchers are very interested in a prime component in chili peppers known as capsaicin.  

Capsaicin has already been proven to fight weight gain, and to help moderate blood flow to the heart. Capsaicin is also an anti-bacterial agent that may improve the balance of bacteria in the stomach. It is also known to be a strong natural pain fighter. Topical capsaicin creams on the market are recommended for fighting body pain such as sciatica.

According to the New York Times, recent research that studied some 16,000 American adults found those who said they ate hot peppers had a 13 percent reduced risk of dying early. Causal connections were not proven, so there is more research to be done.

But if you are already an avid chili pepper fan, or interested in becoming one, this may be a good time to choose peppers that contain capsaicin and enjoy the fun/heat.

Making a Pepper Choice

Choose your peppers based on your preference for heat in spicy foods. Pepperoncini, poblano peppers or Anaheim peppers are mildly spicy. To take it up a notch try jalapeno, chipotle, serrano or cayenne peppers.

Or if you are way into spicy peppers, you may already be eating habanero, Thai or the Charleston hot pepper.

As you try them, you can experiment with the amounts. My son enjoys grinding home grown dried peppers of varying strengths, creating his own blends for tacos, ghost chili and savory sauces.  

You may want to check recipe sites and hit your local farmers market to start fresh.

Here’s an recipe to make a half cup of your own red chili powder.

Start with six dried ancho or pasilla chilies and six dried guajillo or pasilla chilies.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use a small sharp knife to cut stems off chilies and discard. Cut chilies open along one side. Discard seeds. Place chilies on a baking sheet and roast until chilies are firm and fragrant, about five minutes. Cool. Break chilies into small pieces. Grind chilies finely in a spice grinder, blender or coffee grinder. Store airtight at room temperature.

Red hot chili peppers may be one more way to move away from processed foods to explore freshly made original dishes. Wherever you are with peppers, you may want to keep on going, as you stay tuned to future health research.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic.


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