Pepper Power: Fiery Foods and the New Superfood, Chili Peppers

We like fiery foods.  Hot sauce, spicy jams, green chili pickles, barbeque sauce, you name it, we’ve helped label it – and likely eaten it. Maybe it’s because our headquarters are located in the southwest. Here at Columbine Label, we enjoy our chili pepper based foods and admire our customers that concoct them. That’s one reason why we are honored to sponsor the event that heralds our fiery food customers: The Scovie Awards. It’s time to submit your award entry.

While deliciousness is the primary reason we enjoy fiery foods, chili peppers do more than just make food tasty. Chilis work in many ways to improve our health and wellbeing. Check out these interesting tidbits that might help you appreciate those spicy little peppers just a little bit more:

Chilis, Chilis, Everywhere

Most people have heard of jalapeno, cayenne, and habanero peppers.  Chili types, however, are quite prolific due to the ability of chili plants to mutate rapidly. Estimates range from hundreds to thousands of types of chili peppers grown around the world. They are grown in many locations including Texas, Mexico, India, China, Japan, Thailand, Peru and beyond.

Chilis = Superfood

There are some pretty potent health benefits packed into the small but mighty little chili pepper. It is capsaicin (“cap-SAY-uh-sin”), the chili heat source that provides numerous upsides to our wellbeing.

Better heart health. Chili peppers help breakdown and thus lower cholesterol. They also impede the gene that contracts arteries to help improve blood flow to the heart and other organs.  We <3 chilis.

Endorphins and dopamine. Hot pepper-based foods release endorphins and dopamine in our brains, creating an “I feel-amazing” sensation. Those endorphins also help to ease sore muscles and lessen arthritis through a chili-triggered neuropeptide inhibitor that prevents inflammation.

Cancer prevention. It’s true!  Chili peppers help prevent cancer, most notably specific types such as prostate cancer. Chilis do this by catalyzing the demise of cancer cells in our bodies and eliminating free radicals in our system, both of which help prevent cancer.

Vitamin-rich. Chilis are packed with two key vitamins: Vitamin A and Vitamin C, both potent antioxidants that help boost our immune systems. In fact, chili peppers boast more Vitamin C (107 mg) than — you guessed it – oranges (69 mg).

Breathe easier. Nasal spray containing capsaicin aids in clearing allergy-based nasal congestion. Ah, relief. Eating fiery foods mean less sinus pain and easier breathing.

Natural painkiller. Cayenne pepper can alleviate pain and stop bleeding. Some people sprinkle cayenne pepper on a mild injury or soak a bandage in it to help stem bleeding.

“The Soup of the Devil”

Chili peppers have been around for over 6,000 years. During the height of the Spanish Inquisition, in the early 1600s, chili peppers were first used to make the spicy stew known as “chili” with meat, tomatoes, and chilis. Spanish priests were not fans of chili. In fact, they considered it a sinful indulgence, calling it “the soup of the devil” because of its spiciness and aphrodisiac characteristics.  Nonetheless, chili persevered and today, the chili pepper continues to entice and satisfy our taste buds and – surprisingly – help improve our health in many ways.

If you are a fiery food, chili pepper enthusiast, then we encourage you to submit your entry to the Scovie Awards – or at least follow along to get the skinny on some amazing developments and award-winning fiery foodstuffs. Scovie Awards

Viva el chili!