Hot peppers are touted for their various health benefits, but they aren’t recommended for all people. Like any other food, supplement, or medication, there will be situations where they are appropriate for someone, and other situations where they are contraindicated.
What are the benefits of hot pepper?
- Hot peppers are good for the circulatory system.
Though their exact action on the heart isn’t known, they help dilate blood vessels, ensuring that healthy, fresh, oxygenated blood gets to all of the areas of the body where it is the most needed. There’s even evidence that they can help lower cholesterol!
- Hot peppers are good for the digestive system.
Hot peppers are as irritating to bacteria as they are to your skin and eyes. This means that they can help kill certain pathogens that cause food poisoning and intestinal distress.
- Hot peppers are actually cooling.
Many people enjoy spicy dishes in summer because hot spices trigger your body to try to cool you down. This means that you’ll stay cooler in the heat, without having to actually get any hotter to get your body’s cooling process to kick in.
- Hot peppers can help you lose weight.
The cooling process mentioned above takes energy. Your body will end up burning fat to get this extra energy, helping you to lose weight. This is part of the reason why many people lose a bit of weight during the summer months.
That said, what are the down sides of hot pepper?
- People with certain heart conditions should avoid hot foods.
Since they affect circulation, people with specific heart problems, or who are taking certain medication, should avoid hot peppers.
- Hot peppers can irritate the kidneys.
With prolonged use, capsicum, the compound that makes peppers hot, can irritate the delicate tissues of the kidneys.
- Your skin, eyes, and mucous membranes are all sensitive to capsicum.
This means that letting it touch your skin, getting it in your eyes, or eating too many of them can lead to irritation, gastric discomfort, and even ulcers.
- People with heartburn should avoid hot peppers and other hot spices.
Hot spices are known to exacerbate heartburn and Gastro-oesophageal Reflux Disease.
There’s a way to avoid some of these down sides, however!
Many of the down sides of hot pepper come from allowing capsicum to touch tissues that are sensitive to it. While there isn’t really a way around keeping it from irritating the kidneys or bothering some people’s hearts, encapsulating capsicum can allow it to get past skin and mucous membranes, while still allowing it to be absorbed by the intestines.
With Capsiplex, concentrated capsicum is hidden behind a multi-layered capsule system that helps protect it until it can reach the small intestine. This means that you get all of the benefits of hot peppers, with none of the irritation from eating them as they are.