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Tasty, spicy chile peppers also pack a pain-relieving punch....

old message Tasty, spicy chile peppers also pack a pain-relieving punch. Darrell Miller 10/25/05


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Date: October 25, 2005 11:24 AM
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Subject: Tasty, spicy chile peppers also pack a pain-relieving punch.

hile peppers have a pretty fiery reputation, but you won’t get burned health-wise if you indulge regularly.

That’s because chilies contain capsaicin, a substance that acts as a potent inflammation inhibitor. Researches are studying capsaicin as an effective pain remedy for arthritis, psoriasis and diabetic neuropathy when taken internally (topical capsaicin is being used to treat osteoarthritis pain).

You can thank capsaicin for the characteristic spiciness of chiles, so the hotter the pepper the more capsaicin (and pain-relieving power) it contains. Among the hundreds of varieties of peppers, habanero ranks the highest on the thermometer, followed by jalpenos; milder types include pimentos and cherry peppers.

Capsaicin has also been reported to help clear congestion, reduce blood cholesterol, prevent stomach ulcers, boost immunity and help you lose weight. Need more of a reason to eat chiles? According to Coyote Joe, author of On the Chile Trail: 100 Great Recipes from Across America, they cause the brain to produce endorphins, those happy little feel-good chemicals. That’s why you reach for another chip with burning-hot salsa when your mouth feels like it’s on fire.

Chiles were first “discovered” by Christopher Columbus when he landed in the new world about 500 years ago, bringing them back to Europe as a treasure for the queen of Spain; native peoples of Central and South America had been eating and cultivating chiles for thousands of years.

Here in the US, chiles are a staple of popular cuisines like Cajun and Tex-Mex, but they can liven up pretty much anything- from squash to salad to salmon. If variety is the spice of life, chiles can also spice up any variety of food you choose.

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