Green chillies have a mild bitterness and intense, pungent “heat” that literally turns your face red and makes you cry. But very few know that, apart from its culinary importance, this fiery spice is choc a block with a myriad of health and medicinal benefits. The benefits of green chilli will take you by surprise.
The chilli (Scientific name- Capsicum annum) is actually a fruit pod from the plant belonging to genus capsicum and the nightshade family of Solanaceae, which includes tomato, aubergine, potato, etc.
Fresh green chilies are rich in vitamins C (almost six times as in a single orange) while the dried version is higher in vitamin A. Their vibrant color signals high amounts of the antioxidant beta-carotene, and it also contain vitamins B and E, iron and potassium. Super low in calories and fat, they help block the body’s absorption of cholesterol. Chillies are available in more than 200 varieties, ranging from yellow to green to red to black in color, and varying in heat from mildly warm to mouth-blisteringly hot.
Habanero orange, African bird’s eye and Scotch bonnet are considered to be the hottest of the lot. The active “fiery” ingredient capsaicin mostly is found in the seeds and the veins, so if you want it less spicy, remove the seeds before chopping. Wash your hands well afterwards as the burn can linger.
Chilli originated in the Americas, and has been part of the human diet since at least 7500 BC. Explorer Christopher Columbus brought it back to Spain in the 15th century and its cultivation spread rapidly through Europe, Asia, India and Africa. Available fresh, dried, ground, canned or pickled, there are a number of ways to enjoy the taste and health benefits of green chilies.
16 Benefits of Eating Green Chillies
- Rich in antioxidants: Green chillies are abundant in antioxidants in the form of vitamins- A, B complex (B6 and B9), and C. These counterbalance the destructive effects of free radicals in our body and prevent blood clots, root cause of cardiovascular ailments like cardiac arrest, stroke, etc. and aids in preventing cancers to the lungs, prostrate and colon.
- Anti-inflammatory: Green chillies help in relieving the pain and swelling associated with severe bone disorders like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.
- Soothes the Respiratory System: Green peppers as rich in phytonutrients, special natural compounds that relax respiratory passage, lower the risk of lung cancer, and prevent lung problems like cold, cough and asthma.
- Lowers Homocysteine Levels: The Vitamin B6 and B9 content in green chillies help reduce homocysteine, an amino acid used normally by the body in cellular metabolism and the manufacture of proteins. Elevated concentrations in the blood are thought to increase the risk for heart disease by damaging the lining of blood vessels and enhancing blood clotting.
- Digestive Health: Green chillies are loaded with dietary fiber that helps in colon cleansing and keeping your bowel movements healthy. Fiber is vital for bulking up waste and easing its movement out of the system, preventing constipation.
- Boosts your Immunity Shield: Green chillies contain high amount of vital nutrients vitamins C and B6 that strengthens your natural immunity to diseases.
- Calcium Rich: Green chillies are a great source of Calcium that helps keep our bones and teeth strong and healthy, repair the tissues, and helps in creation of new blood cells.
- Helps Keep Skin Radiant And Young: Green chillies has super antioxidants, especially vitamin C, that facilitate the formation of vital collagen, keeping the skin firm and healthy, and a barrier to prevent more damage. The phytonutrients content of green peppers is very effective in curing rashes, blemishes, acne, pimples and wrinkles. Green chilli peppers are also rich in Vitamin E that is essential for producing certain natural skin oils.
- Healthy Hair: Green chillies are excellent source of natural silicon that improves blood circulation to the scalp and hair follicles, works as a natural hair growth stimulator, and shields hair follicles from the harmful effects of di-hydrotestosterone (DHT). Vitamin C facilitates the absorption of iron by hair cells and provides enough oxygen to them, preventing hair breakage and split ends.
- Rich Source of Iron: Green chillies are a natural source of Iron which boosts haemoglobin levels (increases oxygen supply to body cells) and helps fight aneamia. Vitamin C in green chillies helps in better absorption of this vital mineral.
- Improves Mood: Green chillies contain capsaicin which acts as an anti depressant releasing “feel good” endorphins into the brain that helps to keep your mood upbeat.
- Lowers Blood Sugar Levels: Green chillies have been shown to effectively reduce high blood sugar levels, making it a ideal ingredient in diabetic food recipes.
- Aids Weight Loss: Green chillies have zero calories and helps in burning the excess fats of the body by increasing metabolism in the body.
- Releases Saliva: Green chillies trigger higher saliva production which helps in proper digestion of the food.
- Improves Vision: Vitamin A is one of the major nutrients in the green chillies, that helps improving vision and lower the incidence of cataracts and age related macular degeneration.
- Anti Bacterial: Green chillies have potent anti-bacterial properties keep infections like athlete’s foot, herpes zoster, colon infections, etc. at bay.
Side Effects of Eating Green Chillies:
- Stomach irritation: Extremely hot ones can burn the inside of the mouth and can also be irritating when excreted. A glass of milk or yogurt helps keeping the capsaicin away from nerve-receptor sites to ease the burning sensation.
- Skin Irritation: Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, mouth or other sensitive parts of your body after handling chilies. The capsaicin will stick to your fingers and hands and burn very badly. Make sure to wash your hands many times after touching chilies.
- Toxic: High concentration of capsaicin (very spicy chillies and in excess) can be painful as to be incapacitating as it can block the production of certain neurotransmitters, preventing nerves from communicating with each other.