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  • Fun Fact: Capsaicin
  • Author avatar
    Kristen Bocanegra
  • The Basics: Food & Nutrition
Fun Fact: Capsaicin

If you think you have what it takes to enter a hot pepper eating contest just make sure your opponent isn't of avian descent.

Fun Fact: Capsaicin

While mammals feel the burn brought on by capsaicin, the phytochemical responsible for the heat in hot peppers, birds are immune to its effects. As such, birds gladly eat the fire producing "fruits" and are in large part responsible for spreading their seeds.

Interesting right?

If you're pregnant or nursing and and enjoy the heat provided by capsaicin - eat up! Not only does capsaicin have anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties, but it has been shown to help lower bad cholesterol levels, increase metabolism and result in the release of endorphins, providing a euphoria like feeling for those who dare to indulge. Not to mention it's a key ingredient used in many topical pain relief ointments. What's even better? Eating a variety of flavors while pregnant and nursing, including spicy dishes with capsaicin, has shown to increase a child's palate/food selections later in life.

If you like to play around with a little heat in the kitchen (aka hot peppers) and don't have gloves, be sure to rub your hands with coconut or olive oil before washing. Since capsaicin is more soluble in oil than it is in water using oil will better help remove the capsaicin from your hands.

So if you find yourself reaching for yet another bite of that "hurt so good" spicy food, go for it - and be sure to thank capsaicin for the experience.

For those of you not into spicy foods or find yourself with heartburn after eating something with a bit of heat, give turmeric a try. This wonderful Indian spice has some of the same anti-inflammatory properties (among many other health benefits) without the added burn.

  • Author avatar
    Kristen Bocanegra
  • The Basics: Food & Nutrition

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