Chili peppers contain a substance called capsaicin, which gives peppers their characteristic pungency, producing a stinging sensation, which can be mild or very severe when consumed.
The Trinidad Moruga scorpion, one of the 5 hottest chili peppers in the world, averages about 1.2 million Scoville units, the scale that measures the hotness of a pepper. Compare that to 5,000 Scoville units for the average jalapeño, and you'll see why the Moruga Scorpion is reserved for the most seasoned spicy aficionado.
While you may not want to tackle the world's number one spice, capsaicin, the chemical responsible for the burning sensation in hot spices, may be beneficial beyond belief. Next, we present its main benefits:
Prostate cancer prevention
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the United States, with more than 230,000 new cases reported each year, according to " Cancer Research." Capsaicin may be a useful component in the diet of prostate cancer patients, according to the American Association for Cancer Research, research is ongoing on capsaicin in red peppers, cumin, and curry cur,
Capsaicin can also help reduce the expression of proteins that control growth genes that cause malignant cells to grow². Human studies are limited, but capsaicin has shown promising results in rodent tests, see studies and research.
Eating food that you love releases the chemical dopamine in the reward area of the brain, which is why you get pleasure from eating it. But as well as feeding the brain’s reward pathways, you have to take care to feed your gut. There are over one hundred trillion microbes in the human digestive system, interconnected with your brain by the gut-brain axis, and the balance of these microbes is crucial for the wellbeing of the brain. In fact, the gut is often referred to as the “second brain”. A varied and healthy diet helps to keep those microbes in sync and the brain healthy. Brain C-13
Capsaicin for pain relief
Capsaicin can be used topically and ingested. Topical ointments and creams that contain capsaicin are helpful in relieving the pain of many conditions, including arthritis, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, and lower back pain, explains the University of Maryland Medical Center.
While this substance does not cure pain caused by these conditions, it does decrease the amount of substance P, a chemical that helps transmit pain signals to the brain when applied directly to the skin.
Suppress your appetite
Some studies have suggested that capsaicin can help suppress your appetite, leading to weight loss. However, there is no proven link between capsaicin and weight loss, as these studies have not looked at this substance in isolation, explains the University of Maryland Medical Center. Hot peppers are a good source of antioxidants and vitamins A and C, so adding some seasonings to your cooking still has benefits.
Capsaicin is a potent inhibitor of substance P, a neuropeptide associated with inflammatory processes. The hotter the chili, the more of this substance it contains. The hottest varieties include habanero and Scotch Bonnet 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 containing capsaicin, they delayed the onset of arthritis and also significantly reduced inflammation of the joints.
Always speak to your doctor before using capsaicin or any other herbal treatment. Some people experience heartburn or stomach irritation when taking capsaicin supplements or eating very spicy foods.
Test topical ointments that contain capsaicin on a small area of skin for irritation, and do not use it with a heating pad or apply it immediately after a hot shower.