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11 Reasons Why The Chile Pepper is AMAZING

Sure, an apple a day can help keep the doctor away, but eating chiles has health benefits too. For some of us, that's enough to say chile works BETTER.

One of the world's most popular spices

Paprika Peppers/Flickr/meaduva

chile peppers are second only to salt as a seasoning.

Paprika is ground, dried chile peppers. In Hungary, paprika is the national spice, and used to make the popular dish goulash.

One fresh medium green chile has as much Vitamin C

Flickr/joebeone

as six oranges. A half cup of chopped green chile provides about 300% of your daily C needs. 

Ounce for ounce, chile peppers contain more vitamin A than carrots. Chiles contain antioxidants, beta carotene, are high in fiber and boost the immune system. Along with high doses of vitamins A and C, chiles are packed with vitamins B1, B2, B3 and E.

Healthy? Check.

They burn fat

Flickr/RCB

Hot chile peppers trigger the body's thermodynamic burn and speed up the metabolism. The active chemical in peppers, capsican, can directly induce thermogenesis, the process our bodies use to convert energy into heat.

Thermogenesis is an important method of staying warm, and is most often seen in hibernating animals. 

In a study done at the Oxford Polytechnic Institute, it was found that eating chile powder and mustard with meals helped participants burn an average of 45 extra calories. Add a bit of chile to your meal to help burn calories.

They counter bacteria

Flickr/Cavin

Chiles improve the taste of whatever you're eating, but they also fight bacteria. 

In a study published in the Quarterly Review of Biology, chiles killed 75% of germs they encountered, to include food borne bacterial diseases such as salmonella.

Next time you've got no Bactine on hand, you could try cleaning the wound with some chile powder or hot sauce instead--not recommended, but hey, in a pinch...

They take away the pain

Flickr/Candy Tale

Capsaicin, the compound found in chile peppers that causes a burning sensation, can also be applied to the skin to relieve pain. Capsaicin applied to the skin depletes substance P, the chemical that sends pain signals to the brain. 

Topical creams and patches containing capsaicin are used to help relieve the pain of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, shingles, and nerve pain. 

They act as a digestive aid

and help fight constipation. Chiles stimulate gastric secretions, which help improve digestion. This in turn helps boost sluggish bowels. Fruits and apples are good for healthy digestion, but chiles go better with foods that tend to induce sluggishness, such as pizza, meats and cheeses. Adding chile to these foods makes sense.

They may reduce your risk of cancer

Research done with mice shows that capsaicin may help prevent cancer. Capsaicin suppresses and blocks pro-inflammatory pathways in cancer cells. 

Capsaicin attacks mitochondria, which is where cancer cells get their energy. The family of molecules to which capsaicin belongs, vanilloids, bind to proteins in cancer cell mitochondria to trigger cell death. Best of all, they do this without harming the surrounding healthy cells.

Scientists plan to continue researching the use of chiles in fighting this disease.

They help keep your heart heatlthy

Flickr/Nieve44/Luz

Platelet aggregation can clog blood vessels and lead to heart disease. Chiles reduce that aggregation to help keep your heart from getting clogged. 

Counteract the effects of a burger by adding a hefty topping of chopped green chile.

Their heat can ease sinus problems

A study that appeared in the Annals of Allegry, Asthma & Immunology concluded that a nasal spray containing capsicum may help clear certain types of sinus infections. Study participants using the spray reported a faster onset of relief on average than those in a control group using a placebo spray.

Participants using the spicy spray reported relief within one minute.

Next time you try on that red lipstick

Flickr/Nina Matthews Photography

appreciate the chile pepper. Oleoresin is the color extracted from very red chile pods, and is used to color lipsticks, as well as cheese, orange juice, and sauces. It's even used in poultry feed to deepen the color of egg yolks.

Add a pinch to heat up your love life

Flickr/Cavin

Chiles are a vasodilator, so they open up blood vessels and improve circulation. Viagra causes vasodilation, but chiles do it on their own. They're a natural aphrodisiac.

The capsaicin in chiles also creates a tingling sensation and heightens skin sensitivity. Kiss someone after eating a jalapeno to experience that extra tingle.