The Chilli Story
THE SECRET IS IN THE CHILLI – HEALTH BENEFITS EXPLAINED
The chemical in chillies that makes them taste hot, capsaicin, is technically a neurotoxin. It stimulates the adrenal glands to release hormones, giving you an energy rush…. No wonder it is so easy to get hooked on them.
Chillies really are an incredible lift not just for the food you’re eating or beverage you’re drinking, but for your body itself, with all the endorphins that consuming them stimulates in the body.
There are around 2,500 chilli cultivars around the world. Chilli peppers come in all shapes and sizes with an array of unique colours; from your simple Jalapeno pepper to the unusual Aji Pineapple chilli. With physical variations between different types of chilli, there are also widely ranging heats and flavours to be discovered too. There is even a scale to measure the pungency or as some would say, the heat scale of chilli peppers and this is called the Scoville scale. Most chilli peppers fall into the 2,500 – 250,000 Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) range.
We source a variety of Chilli flavours and blend these to add to our premium blend ground coffee. To achieve the different intensities in heat we use chilli from various blends between 30,000 and 90,000 on the Scoville Scale.
Our chilli blend is sourced from local and international suppliers who provide us with complete, detailed certificates of origin and quality compliance from tests to confirm purity without contamination.
Chilli peppers (Capsicum annuum) are the fruits of Capsicum pepper plants, notable for their hot flavor.
They are members of the nightshade family, related to bell peppers and tomatoes. Many varieties of chilli peppers exist, such as cayenne and jalapeño.
Chilli peppers are primarily used as a spice and can be cooked or dried and powdered. Powdered, red chilli peppers are known as paprika.
Capsaicin is the main bioactive plant compound in chilli peppers, responsible for their unique, pungent taste and many of their health benefits.
The following article tells you everything you need to know about chilli peppers.
Chili peppers provide some carbs and offer a small amount of protein and fiber.
Vitamins and minerals
- Vitamin C. Chilli peppers are very high in this powerful antioxidant, which is important for wound healing and immune function.
- Vitamin B6. A family of B vitamins, B6 plays a role in energy metabolism.
- Vitamin K1. Also known as phylloquinone, vitamin K1 is essential for blood clotting and healthy bones and kidneys.
- Potassium. An essential dietary mineral that serves a variety of functions, potassium may reduce your risk of heart disease when consumed in adequate amounts.
- Copper. Often lacking in the Western diet, copper is an essential trace element, important for strong bones and healthy neurons.
- Vitamin A. Red chilli peppers are high in beta carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A.
Chilli peppers are rich in various vitamins and minerals but usually eaten in small amounts — so they don’t contribute significantly to your daily micro-nutrient intake.
Other plant compounds
Chilli peppers are a rich source of spicy-hot capsaicin.
They are also very high in antioxidant carotenoids, which are linked to numerous health benefits.
- Capsanthin. The main carotenoid in red chilli peppers — up to 50% of the total carotenoid content — capsanthin is responsible for their red colour. Its powerful antioxidant properties may fight cancer.
- Violaxanthin. The major carotenoid antioxidant in yellow chilli peppers, violaxanthin accounts for 37–68% of the total carotenoid content.
- Lutein. Most abundant in green (immature) chilli peppers, lutein’s levels decrease with maturation. High consumption of lutein is linked to improved eye health.
- Capsaicin. One of the most studied plant compounds in chilli peppers, capsaicin is responsible for their pungent (hot) flavor and many of their health effects.
- Sinapic acid. Also known as sinapinic acid, this antioxidant has a variety of potential health benefits.
- Ferulic acid. Similarly to sinapic acid, ferulic acid is an antioxidant that may help protect against various chronic diseases.
The antioxidant content of mature (red) chilli peppers is much higher than that of immature (green) peppers (3).
Chilli peppers are rich in antioxidant plant compounds that have been linked to various health benefits. Most notable is capsaicin, which is responsible for the pungent (hot) taste of chilli peppers.
Health benefits of chilli peppers
Pain reliefCapsaicin, the main bioactive plant compound in chilli peppers, has some unique properties. It binds with pain receptors, which are nerve endings that sense pain. This induces a burning sensation but does not cause any real burning injuries. Even so, high consumption of chilli peppers (or capsaicin) may desensitize your pain receptors over time, reducing your ability to sense the burning flavor of chilli. It also makes these pain receptors insensitive to other forms of pain, such as heartburn caused by acid reflux. One study found that when 2.5 grams of red chilli peppers were given daily to people with heartburn, the pain worsened at the beginning of the 5-week treatment but improved over time (11). This is supported by another small, 6-week study showing that 3 grams of chilli each day improved heartburn in people with acid reflux (12). The desensitisation effect does not seem to be permanent, and one study noted that it was reversed 1–3 days after capsaicin consumption stopped (13).
Weight lossObesity is a serious health condition that increases your risk of many chronic illnesses, such as heart disease and diabetes. Some evidence suggests that capsaicin can promote weight loss by reducing appetite and increasing fat burning (14, 15). In fact, studies show that 10 grams of red chilli pepper can significantly increase fat burning in both men and women (16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21). Capsaicin may also reduce calorie intake. A study in 24 people who consume chilli regularly discovered that taking capsaicin before a meal led to reduced calorie intake (22). Another study observed a significant reduction in appetite and calorie intake only in those who did not regularly consume chilli (23). Not all studies have found chilli peppers to be effective. Other studies saw no significant effects on calorie intake or fat burning (24, 25, 26). Despite the mixed evidence, it appears that regular consumption of red chilli peppers or capsaicin supplements may aid weight loss when combined with other healthy lifestyle strategies (14). However, chilli peppers are probably not very effective on their own. Additionally, tolerance to the effects of capsaicin may develop over time, limiting its effectiveness (15).
Chilli peppers are associated with several health benefits. They may promote weight loss when combined with other healthy lifestyle strategies and may help relieve pain caused by acid reflux.
The bottom line
Chilli peppers are a popular spice in many parts of the world and well known for their hot, pungent flavor.
They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and various unique plant compounds.
These include capsaicin, the substance that causes your mouth to burn. Capsaicin is linked to several health benefits.
On one hand, it may help promote weight loss and relieve pain when consumed regularly.
On the other hand, it can cause a burning sensation, which can be unpleasant for many people, especially those not used to eating chilli peppers. It has also been linked to digestive upset.
It’s important to pay attention to your own tolerance levels when eating chilli peppers. Using them as a spice may be healthy, but those who experience digestive distress mat choose to avoid consuming chilli products.