Chilli is said to have originated in the Americas, then spread to Africa, Asia, India and Europe through cultivation. The most popular chillies are red and green, though there are over 200 varieties (including Piri Piri, Habanero, Cayenne, Fresno, Jalapeno,) and other colours such as yellow and black.

Chilli peppers are the fruits of the genus Capsicum plants. Their active ingredient is capsaicin, which is present in the seeds and the veins. The higher the level of capsaicin, the hotter the pepper. Chillies are versatile thus can be eaten raw, dried, cooked, or added as the main ingredient in powders and sauces. Let’s look at some of the effects of this spice on health.


This spice is packed with vitamins E, K, A, C, potassium, calcium, riboflavin, Omega-3, Niacin, Pantothenic acid, Pyridoxine, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and many more nutrients beneficial to our bodies.

Relieves Congestion

The alkanoid capsaicin is responsible for the fiery effect in chillies. This heat stimulates secretions that aid in unblocking a  stuffy nose. It’s also antibacterial in nature, helping to ward off chronic sinus infections.

Good Eyesight

Chilli is packed with vitamin A which is vital for eye health. Include chillies in your diet regularly for improved eyesight. Upto 1 tablespoon a day should do you good.

Heart Health

Cardiovascular diseases stand no chance against this spice due to the presence of potassium. This mineral dilates blood vessels thus improves blood flow. It also prevents the occurrence of artherosclerosis (hardening of vessels). Niacin in chillies increases the level of high density lipoproteins (HDL)- the ‘good’ cholesterol leading to improved heart health.

Red Blood Cell Formation

Iron and copper are needed for the formation of red blood cells. Both of these are found in chillies. In addition, they contain folic acid which is vital for survival of unborn babies. Folic acid deficiency in pregnant women leads to defects in the foetus.

Weight Loss

Since weight loss is mostly affected by diet, how about including chillies in your meals? They reduce cravings and raise your metabolism, meaning more calories are burnt. Of course, changes in diet should be accompanied by exercise for wholesome results.


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