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Thirty Facts about Chillies – Uses, Health Benefits and History

Photo source – Fæ [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
  1. The chemical capsaicin is responsible for the heat of chillies.
  2. A study carried out by researchers at the University of Tasmania found that eating chillies as part of a meal can help to control insulin levels afterwards.
  3. Eating chillies help boost blood circulation.
  4. Capsaicin contains a neuropeptide associated with lessening inflammatory process in the body so may help ease the symptoms of diseases such as arthritis.
  5. Capsaicin can also be used as a pain reliever and unlike anaesthetics does not cause any numbness. It also does not affect alertness.
  6. Capsaicin has been found to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
  7. Chillies help burn fat as capsaicin raises your metabolic rate.
  8. Eating chillies has been found to lower cholesterol.
  9. Capsaicin acts as a pest deterrent for the chilli plant.
  10. Mix a handful of dried chillies in with your birdseed to stop squirrels eating it. The capsaicin deters mammals but will not put off or harm the birds.
  11. The best way to counteract the heat from chillies in your mouth is with milk or yoghurt. Drinking water may give temporary relief but in fact spreads the capsaicin oil around your mouth but cannot wash it away.
  12. The Guinness book of records has the Bhut Jolokia listed as the world’s hottest chilli pepper. It has a Scoville rating of 1,001,304.
  13. When capsaicin is ingested by mammals it causes the body to release endorphins. These produce a pleasurable sensation in the body.
  14. The world’s largest curry contained 187 pounds of chillies.
  15. The seeds and white pith are the hottest part of the chilli.
  16. Red chillies are generally hotter than green and dried varieties will be hotter than fresh.
  17. Chillies contain more vitamin C than oranges.
  18. Chillies contain a higher level of vitamin A than carrots.
  19. Chillies are high in vitamin D.
  20. Generally the smaller the chilli, the hotter it will be.
  21. The heat of a chilli is measured using Scoville units.
  22. Chillies are relatively easy to grow and make good house plants.
  23. Chillies are thought to of been first eaten as long ago as 7500 BC.
  24. Chillies are the fruit of the capsicum plant.
  25. Chillies are part of the nightshade family and are related to tomatoes.
  26. The scolville unit is names after Wilbur Scolville who developed the test to tell how hot chillies where.
  27. Chillies are high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, potassium, copper, manganese, dietary fibre, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, iron, magnesium and phosphorus
  28.  Capsaicin is easily absorbed by the skin and can cause pain, especially if it gets into eyes and other sensitive areas.
  29. Christopher Columbus gave the name chilli pepper as he believed they were related to the black and white pepper ground and used in Europe.
  30. Chillies are low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.
Birds Eye Chillies
Takeaway, [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


2 thoughts on “Thirty Facts about Chillies – Uses, Health Benefits and History

  1. Loved your chilli facts. We’d love to grow chillies, but something in our garden is very partial to them. They get eaten, as soon as they get put in the ground.


    1. I find the same in my garden. We have so many slugs, they just eat everything given a chance 😦 I keep my chilli plants indoors as they are OK with the warmer environment. I have two pepper plants on my kitchen windowsill as well and one is still fruiting, only one pepper at a time but that works out for us as only I like eating them. They make nice house plants.


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