The chili pepper is ultimately famous. You may enjoy its acute taste or not. But you are still aware of its existence. You may also know a few species or how to choose it from the store, depending on your preferences on the intensity of its taste. However, there are plenty of facts you may not have known of chili. For example, it qualifies as a fruit. Given this information the question comes naturally: is chili healthy?
This item may not be part of the food pyramid, but it is spread across the globe. Its taste is somewhere between balanced and extreme, giving you small chances to discover where a particular chili stands before trying it. People may consume it raw or as a food ingredient. However, to have a full insight we need to know if is chili healthy or not. But first, let’s read more on chili.
What Is Chili?
The chili or chili peppers originated in Mexico and are part of the Solanaceae family along with potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants and tobacco. The chili may look like a vegetable and typically does not have a sweet taste, but due to its seeds, it is fruit. Only humans are sensitive to its taste. Birds are completely immune to this aspect, so they aid in spreading chili.
The most common types of chili are jalapenos, serranos, and poblanos. The substance responsible for the hot, fire-like taste of chili is capsaicin, which you can find in various quantities in each chili. An increased amount of capsaicin means a more intense taste. And because of this many of us wonder if is chili healthy for our body.
If we look at proportions, the chili contains 88% water and 9% carbohydrates. Also, the taste is influenced on how we choose and eat them:
- Raw, cooked or dried;
- Immature or red;
- Green, yellow, red;
- Depending on their size.
Items that Contain Chili?
Usually, chili is easy to track down in food, as it is visible on the ingredients list. However, you mostly find it as the main ingredient of tacos, chili con carne, ketchup or other food sauces, and curry. But chili is widespread. You can require an extra topping of chili or your pizza, enjoy a bag of spicy chips with chili, or even try adding canned chili to your dinner.
Chili is part of some fast food products, where it might be processed. So, if we think whether is chili healthy or not, we should also consider if it is natural. Moreover, you will also see it as a powder.
Also, chili is a major ingredient in Chinese food (especially in the province of Sichuan); Indian food (as material for curry); and Mexican food. Some may grow chili inside their homes for the colorful aspect of the plants once its fruit grow.
Dangers of Chili
The dangers of chili mostly relate to capsaicin, the substance which gives it the spicy taste. In order to find out if is chili healthy, let’s see the main risks of eating chili.
- It warms to your body significantly. This may lead to red face, dry mouth, anxiety, and other symptoms;
- High blood pressure, sensitivity to heart disease;
- Diarrhea, as an immediate effect of a highly intense taste;
- Affects persons with stomach and bowel ulcers, heartburn, swelling, urinary bladder infections, or stomach infections;
- May contain larger amounts of sodium than recommended – the regular healthy person should not ingest more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium/day.
Are There Benefits of Eating Chili?
As risky as each chili may seem, one just cannot ignore the benefits of eating chili. Some even see it as an adjuvant in curing flu or preventing it. Therefore, below you will find the good side of the answer to is chili healthy?
- Very high in vitamin C: Strengthens the immune system;
- Vitamins B, K1, and vitamin A: Improve the quality of blood and ease digestion;
- Potassium: Reduces the risk of heart disease;
- Copper: Healthy neurons and strong bones;
- Lutein: Found in young, small chilis is responsible for a good vision;
- Source of protein and fiber: By adding chili to your food, you balance your diet
Chili is also beneficial for weight loss, and pain relief. To balance the above with the intense, but pleasing – to many – taste of chili, you need to keep an eye on balance. Eating the appropriate quantity of chili, without letting its taste affect you, is the key.
So, is chili healthy? The answer to this question depends on your view of its hot taste and the quantity of chilis you ingest. However, specialists do agree on the health benefits of adding chili to your diet, after looking into the vitamins and minerals it contains. The main aspect here is attention. If you don’t strive for a taste more intense than your body can handle, there are plenty of ways you can enjoy it.
What do you think, is chili healthy for you? Have you noticed its health benefits? Share your story with other readers!
Images from pixabay.com.