Did you know that a chilli has more Vitamin C than an orange? Known for their fiery hot flavour, chillies are rich in vitamins and minerals.
Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that helps maintain the immune system and assists in the healing of wounds.
Chillies are also known to assist in pain relief due to a compound called capsaicin. This bioactive plant compound binds with pain receptors and can desensitise the nerve endings over time if you consume enough chillies. This explains why some of us adapt to the burning sensation of chilli.
Apart from Vitamin C, chillies are also a good source of Vitamin A, copper, Vitamin B6 and potassium. They assist us in fighting sinus congestion, aid digestion and even help relieve migraines.
Another reason for adding some spice into your life is the proven benefit of weight loss and better digestion. Studies have shown that chillies can increase metabolism, reduce appetite and stimulate fat burning. However, chillies should not be relied on for weight management alone. You can gain the most benefits by combining chillies with a healthy diet and regular exercise regime.
Chilli comes in many types including fresh, pickled and dried, meaning you have many options of how to introduce them into your diet. To get the biggest benefits, chop up raw chillies and sprinkle them over your salad, soup or pasta dishes. You can also add them while you’re cooking to give your dish an all-round spice kick.
There are many types of chilli to choose from that range from mild, medium and hot. If you’re just starting out, pick a green chilli and scrape out the seeds. The hottest are usually the smallest and most vibrant in colour such as the Carolina Reaper and Ghost Pepper.
When enjoying spicy food, it can be helpful to have a glass of milk or yoghurt on the side to settle the burn. Properties found in milk can help mitigate the effects of the capsaicin in chillies and ease the overwhelming sensation.
Lastly, an important thing to note if you’re diving into the exciting world of spice is to wash your hands! While you often can’t see it, chillies leave a burning residue on your skin that can cause severe pain, especially when dabbed in your eye. Enjoy with caution!