Chili peppers spice up the holidays

Chili peppers spice up the holidays

According to the bloggers at The Daily Tiffin, a site devoted to fun and healthy lifestyles, chili peppers are one heck of a Superfood. High in antioxidant carotenes and flavonoids and containing about twice the amount of vitamin C found in citrus fruits, chilies can be added to just about any dish. Homemade soups, stews, chili, salads, and salsas are just a few.

Chili peppers spice up the holidays

Chilies, believed to have been around for more than 6,000 years, are a member of the plant genus "capsicum" (cap-sih-kum) and contain high levels of special compounds called capsaicinoids. This is what makes them so super. Capsaicinoids are responsible not only for the well-known spicy heat of chilies but also the anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-cancer, and heart-healthy effects offered by these potent peppers.

Chili peppers -- they're fruits, not vegetables -- offer truly powerful medicine for boosting circulation, dilating blood vessels, enhancing oxygenation of tissues, and protecting the cardiovascular system, says this report. In fact, for as long as chili peppers have been cultivated for food, they've been used as medicine around the world. South American Indians, North American Indians, and Asian cultures have all praised chili peppers for their medicinal effects.

One or more peppers constitutes a serving size of chilies, chock full of vitamin C, pro-vitamin A, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, and iron. Cholesterol free and low in sodium and calories, chilies are backed by all sorts of fun facts. Let's start with these:

  1. Chilies can make foods safer -- they are known to reduce harmful bacteria on foods.
  2. Chilies help with weight loss by increasing metabolism.
  3. Chilies make it easier to stick to a healthy diet because they give food more flavor.
  4. Chilies curb appetites -- especially cravings for fatty foods and sweets.
  5. Chiles are the second most common spices in the world, following salt.

For hotness, size matters. In general, the smaller the pepper, the hotter it will be. All the world's most potent peppers are under three inches long.

Chili peppers, with their own measuring scale for heat -- known as Scoville Units -- can really spice up your holiday fare. To heat up your own kitchen this season, check out the following recipes.

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