What are the health benefits of eating chilli?Diet & Nutrition
Eating chili and spicy food is a passion for many Asian food cultures.
Chili peppers are filled with many nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin K, iron, copper, and potassium. Healthy compounds found in chili include capsanthin and violaxanthin which are antioxidants which have protective properties against inflammation, cancer-causing processes and atherosclerosis. Capsaicin, which gives chilli the spicy flavour, has been shown to promote weight loss by reducing appetite and increase metabolism and fat-burning.
However, eating excessive amounts can give rise to several medical problems. Excessive chili intake can give rise to symptoms of gastric pain or gastritis, which may eventually lead to gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) over a long period of time. Chili and hot peppers are also known to trigger symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, which commonly present as diarrhea, watery stools and abdominal pain. A high spicy food intake has also been linked to haemorrhoids formation, which are swellings with inflamed and engorged veins around the anus or rectum. They may occasionally bleed and cause discomfort.
Spicy food intake has also been linked with intestinal metaplasia in the stomach and Barrett's esophagus, which are benign conditions caused by chronic inflammation but are also associated with certain cancers.
It is wise to consume all foods in moderation to enjoy the benefits and minimise potential problems.