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Health Facts

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The Many Health Benefits
of Ghost Peppers

Hot peppers belong to the genus capiscum and are native to the tropical Americas. While people often shy away from these brightly colored, pungent fruits, eating peppers is actually quite beneficial if you can handle the heat! Peppers are vegetables rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals but low in calories, making them a great addition to any weight-loss diet. The fiery burn of hot peppers, such as ghost peppers, provide an even better weight-loss boost, containing elements that rev up the metabolism and help you eat less and burn fat.

Eat Less

Eating spicy foods such as the ghost pepper helps you eat more slowly, allowing the body's natural satiety indicators to be triggered and tell you when to stop eating. Hot peppers are particularly good at the task of signalling when you are full and satisfied. The component capsaicin, which gives hot peppers their zing, binds to receptor in the tongue and intestinal tract that tells that brain that it's time to stop eating. This means you'll eat ghost pepper foods more slowly than a bland dish and stop eating sooner, meaning you will consume fewer calories.

Low Calories

Hot peppers like the ghost pepper are low in calories and high in nutrients. A whole small ripe pepper, or about 3/4 of a cup of chopped fresh pepper, has less than 20 calories and is high in vitamins A and C as well as potassium. Loading a salad or pizza with peppers, hot and sweet, creates a large bulk of flavor and dietary fiber that will be a filling meal, but with very few calories. Replacing part of the calorie-dense meats and cheeses in chili, burritos or nachos with chopped peppers increases the flavor and decreases the fat and calorie content, making the dish a boon to a weight-loss diet.

Capsaicin

The burn felt while eating a ghost pepper comes directly from the food’s capsaicin. Capsaicin, though odorless and flavorless, is primarily found in the pepper’s seeds and ribs, but is also evenly distributed throughout the vegetable’s flesh. Capsiate, a component of the capsaicin, increases metabolism by increasing resting oxygen consumption and burning body fat. Eating capsiate increases feelings of alertness, leading people who eat it to feel more awake and energized by triggering an adrenaline response. This response burns more calories even at rest, but also makes it easier and more inviting to engage in fat-burning exercise. Caffeine and ephedra create similar feelings of alertness and energy, but with potentially negative side effects not found in eating capsiate-containing hot peppers. However, exposure to capsaicin is highly irritating to the eyes, nose, skin and lungs.

Thermogenesis

Chili peppers trigger the process of thermogenesis, by which cells turn fuel energy to heat. Capsaicin alters the usual activity of a muscle protein called SERCA, causing it to burn off energy as heat. And the heat produced by the capsaicin in hot peppers sends neurotransmitters scrambling to relieve the burning sensation. While the thermogenic effect of eating peppers is small, it does amount to burning off calories as heat, and so serves as an aid to dieters.

A Healthier Life!

The secret is out…hot peppers like ghost peppers are definitely the spice to a healthier life. The pepper’s capsaicin has been proven to kill cancer cells, prevent sinus infections, serve as an anti-inflammatory agent, provide gastric relief and produce fat oxidation.  A common myth exists that hot peppers cause ulcers and small intestine irritation. However, in fact, a daily dose of hot peppers can make you breathe easier, feel less pain and lower body fat.  As an added benefit, this age-old vegetable has similar effects to those of Aleve, Tylenol, Advil, Tums and chemotherapy all wrapped in one—except this food has zip, taste and no fearful side effects beyond its spicy heat and care in handling.

Click here to read more on the many health benefits of hot peppers!

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