I absolutely love peppers and I really should have blogged about the usage of peppers long before now. Anyone who has been following my blog consistently can tell you, I make almost every meal with some form of pepper from bell to scotch bonnet or a dash or two of Tabasco.
With that being said, I wanted to get back on track to add the health component to the usage of peppers. For me no matter the meal, I add a little kick. Its almost as though it wakes up my mouth and wakes up the meal. Adding pepper or a form of pepper for me is exciting. It says…Here’s a meal that’s packed with a punch…wham ! boom !
According to my health go to website; WebMD, ‘Peppers have a lot going for them. They’re low in calories and are loaded with good nutrition. All varieties are excellent sources of vitamins A and C, potassium, folic acid, and fiber. Plus, the spicy ones liven up bland food, making it more satisfying. They come in all sizes and colors. Some pack heat. Others are sweet. You can get them fresh, frozen, dried, or canned. They can be seen in the grocery stores sold loose, in packaging or in salad bars. Did you know that red peppers are noted to be the nutrition, because they’ve been on the vine longest.
Green peppers are harvested earlier, before they have a chance to turn yellow, orange, and then red. Compared to green bell peppers, the red ones have almost 11 times more beta-carotene and 1.5 times more vitamin C.
Capsaicin; is an active component of chili peppers, which are plants belonging to the genus Capsicum. It has been shown to boost metabolism as well as suppress appetite, at least slightly. Overtime, this effect may even give you an extra edge when it comes to weight loss. Research shows that people who don’t typically eat spicy foods are most likely to benefit from turning the heat up a notch. You can eat it in raw or cooked peppers or as a dried powder, which you can add to food or drinks. It also is available as a dietary supplement and in topical creams that you apply to your skin.
When a capsaicin cream or ointment is used on the skin (topical use), capsaicin helps relieve pain. Capsaicin works by first stimulating and then decreasing the intensity of pain signals in the body. Although pain may at first increase, it usually decreases after the first use. Capsaicin stimulates the release of a compound believed to be involved in communicating pain between the nerves in the spinal cord and other parts of the body. These are generally over the counter creams that can be found at any local pharmacy and do not require a prescription.
So, enough about how great peppers are, lets get to the nitty gritty…the Scoville Units !!!
The Scoville scale is the measurement of the pungency (spicy heat) of chile peppers or other spicy foods as reported in Scoville heat units (SHU), a function of capsaicin concentration The scale is named after its creator, American pharmacist Wilbur Scoville. His method, devised in 1912, is known as the Scoville Organoleptic Test.
In Scoville’s method, an exact weight of dried pepper is dissolved in alcohol to extract the heat components (capsinoids), then diluted in a solution of sugar water. Increasing concentrations of the extracted capsinoids are given to a panel of five trained tasters, until a majority (at least three) can detect the heat in a dilution. The heat level is based on this dilution, rated in multiples of 100 SHU.
A weakness of the Scoville Organoleptic Test is its imprecision due to human subjectivity, depending on the taster’s palate and sensitivity to pungency; the human palate is quickly desensitised to capsaicins after tasting a few samples within a short time period.Results vary widely, ± 50%, between laboratories.
Now, you may have thoroughly read above and then thought, “Jay, its all fine well and good that you have these peppers and we know what they’re good for, but what if I’ve had too many or my mouth is just plain ole on fire…hellppp !?!?!??” Well yes, I’ve got a fix for that too… Here are 10 sure fire (I just had to) ways to cool your mouth down after indulging in the hot stuff !
1. Consume dairy products, such as milk, yogurt or sour cream. Casein, a protein in dairy products, attracts the capsaicin and helps reduce its spicy effect.
2. Eat bread, crackers or rice. Grain food products help to soak up the spicy oils and capsaicin and lessen the spicy aftertaste.
3. Taste some sugar. Eating a sugar, a cube, raw or white sugar also helps absorb the spicy flavor, and provides another strong but shorter-lasting taste to tantalize your taste buds.
4. Put a pinch of salt on your tongue. This will absorb the spiciness.
5. Eat dark chocolate…milk chocolate will work, but not as well as dark chocolate.
6. In some cases, chewing sugar-free mint gum.
7. Drink beer. The carbohydrates in the beer also coat your tongue and decrease the heat levels.
8. Put warm water/coffee on your tongue with a cloth, it does help.
9. Eat something light and fluffy, such as wheat products, breads, muffins, bagels, etc.
10. Chew a good sized slice of lemon or lime with the skin to take away the spiciness. The oil from the citrus skin will strip the oil of the chili from your tongue.
Lastly….whatever you do…do not drink plain water because water simply spreads the capsaicin around on your tongue.
I hope this has been an informative post and I hope it has been very useful.