That pot of red chili has been simmering for hours, it's cold outside and you are hungry.
When that first spoonful of chili hits your mouth, Wow, is that hot! Relax, it won't hurt you at all. In fact, nutritional studies are showing that Hot Peppers, specifically Capsaicin, the main heat ingredient, is proving to be the Holy Grail of health and healing inducing compounds. By the way, saltine crackers in your chili will take some of the sting out.
Capsaicin has so many benefits, I am in the process of writing an entire book on this astonishing compound. To start with, while Capsaicin is clinically proven to relieve headaches and sinus inflammation. Capsaicin may also be the key to a healthy heart. Because of its' unique thermal heat action, capsaicin also increases metabolic activity promoting natural weight loss. Yet one of the greatest benefits of capsaicin is its' proven ability to increase circulatory blood flow thus preventing abnormal clotting which can lead to heart attack and stroke, especially as we age.
Another benefit is lowered blood pressure, no doubt due to improved circulation. Studies have also shown that the unusually low rates of gastric and colon cancer in Latin America may be directly connected to the high dietary intake of capsaicin in that region of the world. Hot peppers are a mainstay in their diets and cuisine.
Capsaicin is also a very effective analgesic, or pain killer. By stimulating blood flow, especially to an affected painful area, capsaicin promotes circulatory blood flow through its' natural ability to conduct thermal heat while also inhibiting the nerve receptors that cause swelling and pain.
Capsaicin also stimulates our bodies production of endorphins, which are natural opiate pain killers. That's why so many topical salves and heat rub products contain Capsaicin.
Several studies concentrating on gastrointestinal diseases have found that capsaicin also increases blood flow to the stomach and stimulates the production of digestive juices.
One study found evidence that capsaicin also protected against stomach damage caused by excessive alcohol abuse. It used to be thought that hot peppers aggravated ulcers. Instead, they may help kill bacteria in the stomach that can lead to ulcers.
Eating hot peppers has been shown to increase the body's heat production and oxygen consumption for about 20 minutes after eating. This is great news for weight watchers as it means your body is burning extra calories, which helps weight loss.
Peppers are also loaded with antioxidants as well as Vitamins A, C and K. Other studies have shown that capsaicin reduces the amount of triglycerides (stored fat) in the blood cells, as well as reducing fat deposits in the liver. And, a good piece of news for the ever tempted weight-conscious crowd: studies at the Oxford Polytechnic Institute found that eating hot chiles can raise the metabolism enough to burn 45 calories of a 700-calorie meal! I'll have another Big Mac please.
Everybody has their own tolerance for Cayenne, the most popular and potent source of Capsaicin, which I'll refer to from here on. The maximum daily dose hasn't been set but a rule of thumb for a 200 pound man is a suggested intake of four 500-milligram capsules three times a day. I take about half of that dose with good effects, and I'm 195 lbs. There is no imminent danger of toxic overdose, however an upset stomach and diarrhea has been reported by some people. Capsules are easy to take, especially in large doses, but the purists tend to agree that fresh cayenne will provide the broadest nutritional spectrum.
My own experience with Cayenne as a supplement has, after starting a regimen of use about a month ago of this article, has increased my energy levels as well as giving me a warm healthy glow for an hour or so a few minutes after taking it.
My over all stamina, especially during a club workout is definitely greater. Without a doubt, Cayenne stands alone as a near miraculous substance and definitely merits closer scrutiny.