This week we will be talking about all the different ways to use hot peppers. We grow jalapenos in our garden, and if we didn't use them in our hot sauce we would definitely have more than we would know what to do with. We have mentioned a couple of these things in the past, but here are some more creative ways to use chili peppers:
Top Ten Uses For Hot Peppers:
10. Food - Obviously. You can eat the peppers right off the plant or add them to an infinite amount of delicious recipes.
9. Fighting Indigestion - If you think eating hot peppers will bother your stomach, think again. Capsaicin actually helps fight indigestion. Because capsaicin causes blood to rush to areas where it is applied, it acts to help stimulate the stomach to produce the juices it needs to sooth the upset. Capsaicin also kills H. Pylori, a gastrointestinal-issue causing bacteria.
8. Hot Sauce - Another obvious one! Bo's Honey Brown Hot Sauce wouldn't be as good without them!
7. Inflammation - Capsaicin fights against inflammation by reducing levels of substance P, the compound in the body that triggers inflammation and pain impulses from the central nervous system. It is also thought that this pain-relieving phytochemical triggers the body to release endorphins. Red peppers are also filled with salicylates, which are aspirin-like compounds.
6. Weight Loss - Capsaicin increases thermogenesis, a process which converts energy into heat. Capsaicin increases the heat by attaching to SERCA, a muscle protein, stopping the normal calcium pumping into the sarcoplasmic reticulum, which stops the muscle relaxation cycle. By the stomach continuing to process the nutrition in the stomach, the body's metabolism increases which helps to boost weight loss.
5. Non-lethal Pepper Spray - Capsaicin induces a burning sensation when in contact with skin. In concentrated doses, the sensation can be increased hundreds or thousands fold. So when the capsaicin is used in highly concentrated doses from pepper spray, it causes severe irritation and eye watering to say the least.
4. Pesticide - Since capsaicin causes a burning sensation on contact especially through ingestion, it works especially well as a pesticide. Homemade pepper sprays have been used as pesticide in gardens for decades, possibly longer depending on the region. In the case of insects, it will not only repel them, but in some cases it is lethal. Either way treated plants will usually be pretty safe from insects. (Disclaimer: We have not tried this on our own plants, so take caution if you do!)
3. Colds - Peppers are filled with many vitamins and antioxidants which help boost the immune system. With all the colds going around this time of year, it wouldn't hurt to get some peppers in your diet!
2. Nerve Pain - Capsaicin helps alleviate pain in part by depleting your body’s supply of substance P (we talked about that above). It also works by de-sensitizing sensory receptors in your skin. This is why it’s used in topical pain-relieving creams and patches (some of which contain the equivalent of 10 million SHU). It’s actually the very intense burning sensation that–ironically–ultimately relieves pain.
1. Cancer - As we mentioned above, peppers have many vitamins and antioxidants. Some studies have shown that the capsaicin in peppers inhibits cancer cell growth in the colon and prostate, and a study in rats found it actually can kill pancreas-cancer cells. Another antioxidant in peppers, lycopene, is thought to aid the fight against bladder and cervical cancer as well.
There you have it! If you have ever used peppers for any of these things feel free to share your experiences and any photos in the comments below!
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Check back next week for: The Top Ten Craziest Hot Sauce Stunts