Healthy Facts: About Peppers and Spicy Foods.

Strangle Cancer- Researchers are finding that the pungent substance that gives chili peppers its burning sensation may also be helpful in treating certain cancers. Much of the research involving capsaicin and cancer relate to cell death. A study published found that capsaicin leads to the death of prostate cancer cells yet leaves normal cells unharmed. 

Now researchers from the United Kingdom may have identified a key to how capsaicin contributes to the death of cancer cells. Using lung and pancreatic cancer cells, the researchers found that capsaicin disrupts a cancer cell's major energy source: the mitochondria. The result was that the cancerous cells died, yet there was no harm to the surrounding healthy cells.

Human cells aren't the happy-go-lucky little fellows we'd like to imagine. In fact, our cells commit suicide on a regular basis, via a process called apoptosis. Apoptosis is a peaceful passing, where a healthy cell reaches the end of its life span, then shuts down, shrinks, and is absorbed by its neighbors, but with certain types of cancer, the natural process of apoptosis doesn't occur. Unwilling to go quietly into the great night, cancer cells rage on, refusing to die, continuing to multiply, and eventually forming tumors. That's where chili peppers come in. New studies have shown that capsaicin the chemical compound that gives chili peppers their kick may be the key to controlling cancer cells. During the past few years, research has indicated that capsaicin can induce apoptosis in cancers of the lungs, pancreas, and prostate. In the case of prostate cancer, researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles found that capsaicin also slows the cancer's ability to grow.

Protect Men At Sea- Any good sailor knows that barnacles are bad news. If enough of these water-dwelling pests clamp onto a boat's hull, it becomes less hydrodynamic. In fact, barnacle build-ups can force ships to use as much as 30 percent more fuel. That's why many seafarers choose to safeguard their vessels by coating them with anti-barnacle paint. The only problem is that these paints are generally filled with toxic chemicals and metals. Fortunately, in the early 1990s, an American sailor named Ken Fischer came up with a better idea. While chowing down on a Tabasco-laced sandwich, Fischer realized that barnacles might not share his love for spicy food. His hunch was right. Before long, Fischer was making millions off his pepper-based repellant, Barnacle Ban. Surprisingly, barnacles might not be the only sea creatures averse to chili peppers. The Kuna tribe of Panama reportedly still sails with strings of chilies tied to their boats. The peppers supposedly make the ships (and the Kuna themselves) less appetizing to sharks. 

Read more: 

Numb Pain/Fight Inflammation- Capsaicin used as a medicine dates back centuries. Early research into the antioxidant found it effective at both causing and controlling pain. In 1997 researchers found that capsaicin activates our heat sensation in the same way as that of pain. Pain-inducing nerve cells are triggered into action by capsaicin. The nerve cells send a message to the brain, which leads to the fiery sensation. Constant, relatively large amounts of capsaicin cause these nerve cells to become desensitized. The nerve cells are no longer able to respond to capsaicin (or indeed, anything that might cause pain) and so you are no longer able to perceive pain. Most often, capsaicin has been studied for relieving pain associated with shingles, and HIV-associated neuropathy, although it has shown promise for treating other types of pain as well. They do this by boosting blood circulation, which helps to deliver healing nutrients to any injuries. In addition, these peppers also fight inflammation. Swelling is a major factor in many types of pain particularly that of the joints, this is a valuable asset. A steady supplementation of chili peppers helps you avoid reliance on the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) that are infamous for causing stomach ulcers, damage to the liver and kidneys and even some types of cancer. Furthermore, taking chili peppers for pain can even help you avoid potentially dangerous and addictive opiate painkillers; a leading cause of disease. Everyone these days seems to be talking about inflammation not the type you get when you get a cut or a pimple, but inflammation inside our bodies and cells, the kind that can’t be seen, preventing diseases like arthritis and diabetes, and possibly cancer. In fact, studies have shown that those cultures whose diets include plenty of hot chilies have lower rates of certain types of cancer, including colon and stomach cancer.

Read more:

Cardiovascular Benefit- Chili peppers are an excellent supplement for cardiovascular support. They are able to halt bleeding; they also cause dramatic improvements in blood circulation and blood pressure. These amazing peppers are also capable of stopping a heart attack within seconds. Besides its ability to improve circulation, it also increases the heart's activity, seemingly lending it strength, power and energy. Scientists aren't certain precisely how it does this, but one theory is that it improves the distribution of nutrients, hormones and other factors throughout the body.

Control Bleeding- One of the most impressive properties of chili peppers is in their anti-hemorrhagic abilities. When taken in large doses, around one to two teaspoons powdered, they're capable of bringing even significant bleeding to a screeching halt within a few minutes. In fact, chili peppers work so well for this purpose that, in some parts of the world, they are used in emergency situations.

Digestive Aid- Chili peppers are an excellent digestive aid, helping your stomach to process food more efficiently and thoroughly and decreasing the incidence of acid reflux. They do this by stimulating the secretion of stomach acid and other digestive fluids. Chili peppers have been found to be effective for preventing and healing peptic ulcers.

Weight Loss Aid- Current statistics from the American Heart Association indicate that nearly 150 million American adults are either overweight or obese, along with roughly a third of all children. While simple diet changes and the introduction of moderate exercise can offer some benefit, numerous studies have confirmed that chili peppers can offer significant assistance. In many poorer areas of the world, hot peppers have been widely used in the traditional cuisine because they cause you to feel full faster.

This is invaluable when you can't afford to eat a lot of food. It's also very helpful when you want to control your appetite for weight loss purposes, since over-eating is the main cause of obesity. However, chili peppers aid weight loss in another way. They're thermogenic, meaning that they ramp up your body temperature slightly, but still enough to cause it to burn a lot of extra calories. This process occurs even when you're at rest, helping you to lose weight without putting in the extra effort.

Prevent Stomach Ulcers- Chili peppers have a bad and mistaken reputation for contributing to stomach ulcers. Not only do they not cause ulcers, they can help prevent them by killing bacteria you may have ingested, while stimulating the cells lining the stomach to secrete protective buffering juices. 

Not only can capsaicin-rich peppers dramatically reduce symptoms of heartburn and indigestion after a few weeks of use they also have a strong protective effect on stomach tissues. New York University Langone Medical Center now credits capsaicin, in peppers, with helping to prevent damage from such known stomach irritants as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and alcohol. 

Read more: 

Taste buds- They wear out over time. As we get bigger and older, taste buds start to disappear from the sides and roof of the mouth. Adults have between 2,000 and 10,000 taste buds on average. The more taste buds you have the more you can taste a variety of flavors. People with over 10,000 taste buds are considered “Super Tasters”.

Super Tasters sense flavors more deeply than others. Taste buds aren’t just on your tongue they are everywhere, from the roof of your mouth to your throat and stomach.

The bumps you see on your tongue when you say aahh? They aren’t taste buds. Those round projections are called fungi form papillae and each has an average of six taste buds buried inside its surface tissue. Taste receptors inside the taste buds allow us to distinguish sweet, salty, sour, and bitter.And a possible fifth taste called Umami which is a Japanese word and means a pleasant savory taste. It indeed describes a savory taste as we find it in meat, tomatoes, mushrooms, parmesan cheese etc. This has a savory element by sending messages to the brain.

Flavor is a combination of taste plus smell, specifically œretronasal olfaction which is how your brain registers scent when you eat something. It is the scent message from eating that combines with taste to create flavor. Odor molecules can easily travel from the mouth to the nose via this connection in the throat. The interesting thing is that we do not realize this happens in the nose, we have the impression that our perception stems from the mouth; and therefore we say the doughnut tastes good. We call this perception of flavors retro nasal olfaction, which means nothing else than smelling the back of the nose.

Taste buds go through a life cycle where they grow from basal cells into taste cells and then die and are sloughed away. According to Dr. Bartoshuk, their normal life cycle is anywhere from ten days to two weeks. However, burning your tongue on hot and spicy foods can also kill taste buds she says. They grow right back, which is why the ability to taste doesn’t diminish with age.

You can train your palate to enjoy new foods just ask any adventurous eater who used to be a picky toddler. By watching our parents and friends, our brain learns what foods are good, says Dr. Bower. If you eat certain foods you haven’t always liked with someone else who really enjoys it, or with someone you like and admire. All of these things can make the food seem more appealing.

Read more: