The chili pepper was first cultivated in Central and South America around 3000 BC.
Christopher Columbus brought seeds from the New World back to Europe in 1493.
Chile peppers are consumed around the world and now dominate the world spice market with India being the largest producer.
What Makes a Pepper Hot?
Many believe it’s the seeds that give peppers their“hotness”, but actually it is a substance called capsaicin that is concentrated in the veinsof the fruit (not the seeds).
Capsaicin stimulates the nerve endingsin your mouth and tricks your brain into feelingthe pain. The brain then reacts and releasesendorphins. The result is a mild euphoria that some believe can cause peppers to be mildly addictive due to this sensation the body feels.
Hot Pepper Health Benefits
In addition to their heat, Chile Peppers bring health benefits. They are a good source of potassium, iron, vitamins A, B, C and E, low in sodium and calories, and have no carbohydrates.
Peppers improve digestion and can increase your metabolic rate by up to 25%, which is beneficial to the dieter.
Hot to Put Out the Heat
What is the best way to put out that fire after eating a pepper that’s a little too hot? Scientists report that capsaicin breaks down in fats. So, some milk, sour cream or a little ice cream might help. Foods with increased fat have more capability of squelching the fire.
Some believe that starch helps put out the flame. The popular cure in Mexico is to consume beer.
Hot Peppers are Everywhere
Peppers have their own institutes and fan clubs. Defense agencies perform research work on hot peppers. There are people always on a mission to eat the hottest pepper.