Loving the BITE: Thai Chicken or Thai Tofu

As an antioxidant, chili peppers may also protect the fats in your blood from damage by free radicals—a first step in the development of atherosclerosis. In a randomized, crossover study involving 27 healthy subjects (14 women, 13 men), eating freshly chopped chili was found to increase the resistance of blood fats, such as cholesterol and triglycerides, to oxidation (free radical injury). In addition, after eating the chili-spiced diet, women had a longer lag time before any damage to cholesterol was seen compared to the lag time seen after eating the bland diet. In men, the chili-diet also lowered resting heart rate and increased the amount of blood reaching the heart.

Clear Sinuses:

Anyone who’s eaten too much spice at once (usually in a public setting, right?) knows it makes your nose run.  The peppery heat stimulates secretions that help clear mucus from your stuffed up nose or congested lungs.

An Immune Boost:

The combo of Vitamin A (10% of daily value) and Vitamin C (6 % of daily value) in chili peppers provides an immune boost for the body.  Vitamin A is often called the anti-infection vitamin, and it is essential for healthy mucous membranes, which line the nasal passages, lungs, intestinal tract and urinary tract and serve as the body’s first line of defense against invading pathogens. Vitamin C is thought to improve our defenses against colds and shorten the duration of colds once we have them.  Good, healthy lungs and nasal passages are crucial to a cyclist, so add the heat!

Reduced Prostate Cancer Risk:

Red chili peppers’ capsaicin, the compound responsible for their heat, stops the spread of prostate cancer cells through a variety of mechanisms, as indicated by recent animal and lab studies.  Capsaicin triggers suicide in both primary types of prostate cancer cell lines, those whose growth is stimulated by male hormones and those not affected by them. In addition, capsaicin lessens the expression of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), inhibits the ability of the most potent form of testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, to activate PSA, and directly inhibits PSA transcription, causing PSA levels to plummet.

Stomach Aide:

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.

Reduced risk of Diabetes and High Blood Sugars:

In a study published in the July 2006 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Australian researchers show that the amount of insulin required to lower blood sugar after a meal is reduced if the meal contains chili pepper. When chili-containing meals are a regular part of the diet, insulin requirements drop even lower.

Plus, chili’s beneficial effects on insulin needs get even better as body mass index (BMI, a measure of obesity) increases. In overweight people, not only do chili-containing meals significantly lower the amount of insulin required to lower blood sugar levels after a meal, but chili-containing meals also result in a lower ratio of C-peptide/ insulin, an indication that the rate at which the liver is clearing insulin has increased.

And last but not least, little Boost in Fat Burn:

As luck would have it, capsaicins promote fullness which can cause a reduction in calorie intake, and they cause an increase energy (calorie) expenditure after they are eaten – a direct increase in metabolism.  Then, as an indirect metabolism boost, they promote less insulin requirements (as noted above), which can reduce the amount of fat stored in the body.  Chili Peppers make for lean, mean, (hot), cycling machines.

I love Thai Food, so getting a Chili Pepper Nutrition Boost from it is a no-brainer for me.  But, you can get all the same benefits in any dish by just adding some heat to any meal.  Fresh chili peppers work well with many foods and can be an easy addition to scrambled eggs, sandwiches, and more!  For health benefits, flavor, and a fiery metabolism, don’t forget the heat!

Fuel Your Ride.  Nourish Your Body.


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  • green Chili peppers

    Nice to be here and see your post !

  • master

    It’s Chile not chili !

    • http://twitter.com/fuelright Kelli Jennings

      Hello and thank you for your comment. However, as I understand it, chili vs. chile is one of those sets of words with acceptable, variable spellings, like potatoes and potatos. According to Webster’s dictionary:
      Definition of CHILI: 1a: a hot pepper of any of a group of cultivars (Capsicum annuum annuum group longum) noted for their pungency —called also chili pepper.
      Variants of CHILI: chili also chile or chil·li ˈchi-lē.
      I, for one, am certainly not smart enough to argue with Webster so I’ll take it!
      Thanks again and take care!