Chili Peppers: Nutrition Facts and Health Effects

Health benefits of chili peppers

Despite their burning taste, chili peppers have long been considered a healthy spice.

Pain relief

Capsaicin, the main bioactive plant compound in chili 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 chili peppers (or capsaicin) may desensitize your pain receptors over time, reducing your ability to sense the burning flavor of chili.

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 chili peppers were given daily to people with heartburn, the pain worsened at the beginning of the 5-week treatment but improved over time .

#This is supported by another small, 6-week study showing that 3 grams of chili each day improved heartburn in people with acid reflux.

The desensitization effect does not seem to be permanent, and one study noted that it was reversed 1–3 days after capsaicin consumption stopped.

Weight loss

Obesity 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.

In fact, studies show that 10 grams of red chili pepper can significantly increase fat burning in both men and women.

Capsaicin may also reduce calorie intake. A study in 24 people who consume chili regularly discovered that taking capsaicin before a meal led to reduced calorie intake .

Another study observed a significant reduction in appetite and calorie intake only in those who did not regularly consume chili.

Not all studies have found chili peppers to be effective. Other studies saw no significant effects on calorie intake or fat burning.

Despite the mixed evidence, it appears that regular consumption of red chili peppers or capsaicin supplements may aid weight loss when combined with other healthy lifestyle strategies.

However, chili peppers are probably not very effective on their own. Additionally, tolerance to the effects of capsaicin may develop over time, limiting its effectiveness.

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