If you like spicy food, there’s a reason to celebrate! The spicy chemical in peppers that gives them their “heat” is called capsaicin and has been shown to greatly improve your health. The amount of capsaicin in a pepper is measured using the Scoville index; pure capsaicin is rated at 16,000,000. The hottest peppers in the world only measure about 1.5 million Scovilles. Jalapenos and cayenne pepper come in at around 8,000 and 50,000, respectively. For beginners to spicy food, start small and add more heat as tolerance increases, you can always add more but you can’t take away heat from your food.
Health Benefit’s of Capsaicin
- CANCER PREVENTION. Capsaicin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to suppress the growth human prostate cancer cells. Prostate tumors showed an 80% shrink in size when exposed to Capsaicin. Another study showed that it can destroy lung cancer cells and pancreatic cancer cells.
- RELIEVES PAIN. Capsaicin’s chemical structure has allows it to act as a natural pain reliever by depleting the amount of Substance P, which decreases number of pain signals. Capsaicin creams are used for sore muscles, arthritis/osteoarthritis, pain with shingles, psoriasis, neuropathy and other pain conditions.
- AIDS IN WEIGHT LOSS. Spicy foods decrease caloric intake, increase sense of fullness, helps body burn more calories, temporarily increases body temperature that can boost metabolism by 5%, shrink fat tissue, lowers blood fat levels and increases fat burning by 16%.
Be cautious when eating spicy foods before bedtime because it can give you indigestion and prevent you from having a good night’s sleep. Even if you can eat spicy foods without discomfort, they are still linked to affecting sleep habits via changes in your body temperature.