Eating chili peppers with clever combinations is healthier

Eating chili peppers with clever combinations is healthier

Eating chili peppers in the twelfth lunar month warms the stomach and dispels cold. This is the meaning of the proverb “three peppers, one cotton-padded jacket”. Of course, for people who don’t like spicy food, the benefits of chili peppers are by no means as simple as “keeping warm”. But there is also a proverb that says, “If you don’t use chili peppers, you will suffer at both ends.” This means that chili peppers are not nutritious and will make you feel uncomfortable both up and down after eating them. That’s why some people insist on “not eating spicy food.” So, what kind of food is pepper, and how should consumers view the various “legends” about pepper?

Interpretation 1: Are peppers really nutritious?

Fan Zhihong, a professor at the School of Food Science and Nutritional Engineering at China Agricultural University, said in an interview with a reporter from China Consumer News that fresh pepper is actually a vegetable with high nutritional value. According to the data in the Chinese Food Composition Table, the vitamin C content of peppers is very high, with the vitamin C content of fresh peppers reaching more than 70 mg per 100 grams. For example, the vitamin C in sweet peppers is 72 mg/100g, and the vitamin C in small red peppers is as high as 144 mg/100g. In the world of fruits and vegetables, peppers are definitely considered to be the TOP1 level. Moderate intake of chili peppers is a good source of vitamin C. However, only fresh peppers contain a lot of vitamin C, while the dried peppers used in heavy-flavor dishes have very little vitamin C.

The spiciness of chili peppers comes primarily from the capsaicin molecule. Capsaicin is an alkaloid containing vanillamide, which can stimulate human sensory neuron cells and cause a burning sensation. But it can also promote blood circulation, increase gastrointestinal motility and gastrointestinal digestive juice secretion. Proverbs such as “If you are hungry for chili, you will eat onions”, “Chili is salty and spicy, appetizing and aiding digestion” all have this meaning.

The alkaloids in peppers can promote blood circulation, thereby increasing the body’s heat dissipation, helping to break down excess fat in the body faster and promote metabolism. Therefore, if you eat chili peppers without eating more other foods or eating more oil, it will be beneficial to weight loss.

In addition, some people will definitely complain about “eating spicy food causes acne”, which really puts the chili pepper in the blame. On the one hand, chili peppers themselves do not make people get acne, they just speed up blood flow and metabolism, making acne look redder; on the other hand, when eating spicy dishes, chili peppers are often fried in hot oil or added directly to them. Oil, and oil itself will produce a variety of pro-inflammatory substances when heated, which will make acne worse. At the same time, hot pot, fried food, sweet drinks and other heavy oil, salt, high-fat and high-sugar foods that are paired with spicy food will themselves induce excessive secretion of sebaceous glands. This is the truth behind acne. Chili peppers are obviously innocent of “taking the blame” .

To sum up, the statement that “chili peppers have no nutrition and can only bring pleasure to the tongue for people who love spicy food” is obviously a bit one-sided.

Interpretation 2: What are the consequences of eating spicy food often?

Although chili peppers are “red”, they are also controversial. For example, there are opinions on the Internet that “eating spicy food can reduce the risk of death”, but there are also opinions that “eating hot peppers can easily lead to Alzheimer’s disease.” How should consumers view these two completely different statements?

Fan Zhihong explained that at present, there are indeed many studies showing that the active substances in peppers, including capsaicin, have good antioxidant, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects, and are of great benefit to human health. Media reports mention that regular consumption of chili peppers can reduce the risk of death from cancer, heart disease, respiratory diseases, etc. In fact, most of them are related to this. However, even if these research results are “reliable” in themselves, it does not mean that pepper can replace drug treatment. The claim that peppers help lose weight should be treated with caution. Because chili peppers also have an appetizing effect, the increased calorie consumption caused by capsaicin cannot offset the calories caused by eating half a bowl of rice.

Ingesting too much capsaicin can also irritate the mucous membranes and cause sore throat, abdominal pain, diarrhea, etc., which is not friendly to patients with oral ulcers, pharyngitis, gastric and duodenal ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux, chronic cholecystitis and other diseases. Children, the elderly, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should also eat spicy food in moderation.

As for the statement that eating chili peppers can easily lead to “Alzheimer’s disease”, it is worth debating. Judging from media reports, this study, allegedly from abroad, lasted 15 years and tracked more than 4,500 Chinese adults who love spicy food. The results show that eating habits that indulge in spicy food can easily lead to accelerated decline in memory and cognitive abilities, thereby increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Ruan Guangfeng, deputy director and associate research librarian of the Kexin Food and Health Information Exchange Center, believes that there is no direct causal relationship between eating chili peppers and Alzheimer’s disease. First of all, what really causes Alzheimer’s disease is not eating spicy food, but eating more fat and salt while eating chili peppers. Secondly, the study claims to have recorded the daily chili pepper intake of more than 4,500 people for 15 years, but how to weigh the chili pepper intake of the study subjects is actually a problem. For example, in a dish containing chili peppers, a bowl of spicy hotpot, or a hot pot meal, how should researchers calculate the intake of chili peppers? Therefore, this study is not only far-fetched, but its credibility is also questionable.

Interpretation 3: What should you pay attention to when eating spicy food?

Eat spicy food according to your physique and season. People with cold hands and feet or anemia can eat more chili peppers; people with diseases that are not suitable for eating spicy food should eat less or not at all. The climate in the north is dry during spring and autumn, so you should eat less spicy food.

Fresh and spicy, sour and spicy are better than dry and spicy. For spicy food, it is best to eat fresh chili peppers because they are more nutritious. In addition, spicy and sour chopped peppers can reduce the chance of “getting angry” because the alkaloids are neutralized with vinegar. The spicy and hot peppercorns in spicy food are more likely to make people “get angry”.

Healthy combination. When eating spicy food, choose a “good partner” to reduce the negative effects of chili peppers. If you eat spicy food, you can add it with sour or sweet food to neutralize the spiciness of capsaicin.

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