Ghost peppers are one of the hottest types of pepper known to humans, and they were initially grown in Asia. They contain capsaicin, which is one of several capsaicinoids. This particular capsaicinoid offers many health benefits to those who consume it.
As one of the spiciest peppers on the planet, you have to use caution when handling and consuming them. This heat is why many people can’t feel the taste of them. There are health benefits that may make these peppers worth implementing in your diet, however.
While they are original to Asia, they are now grown all over the world. You can order seeds or plants and have them delivered to you so that you can grow your own. Other times, you can find the peppers for sale so you can buy a couple to try out.
Dietitians Reveal Nine Healthy Benefits of Eating Ghost Peppers
Once you learn the benefits of the peppers, you will be interested in learning how to eat them. Some ideas are listed below, but remember to use caution.
1. Contains Anti-Inflammatory Properties and Antioxidants
Capsaicin is an anti-inflammatory material found in high amounts in these spicy peppers. It can reduce inflammation in joints and any other area of your body. This relief is because capsaicinoids energize your blood circulation, which decreases inflammation and prevents another flare-up.
Peppers also contain an antioxidant called phytochemicals. These antioxidants help decrease free radicals in your body, preventing many illnesses and diseases.
With the anti-inflammatory properties and the antioxidants both together, this is a possible way to stay healthy. They will work together to keep inflammation away and to prevent diseases associated with the issues.
2. Helps Prevent and Fight Cancer
Just like the way it helps reduce inflammation, capsaicinoids can help prevent and fight cancer. Research on mice showed capsaicinoids made cancer cells destroy themselves and prevented new ones from forming. While it causes the cancer cells to die, it leaves your normal, healthy cells unscathed.
The capsaicin found in peppers can help prevent and fight breast, pancreatic, and bladder cancers. To benefit from this, you should eat eight large peppers each week. However, you won’t want to eat them whole, so find ways to implement them into your diet.
3. Ghost Peppers Soothe Sinuses
The anti-inflammatory properties can reduce the symptoms of allergies, and it can prevent allergies altogether. It also contains anti-bacterial properties, decreasing the chances of developing a sinus infection.
Capsaicin can clear your nasal passage when stuffed up, offering relief during a sinus flare-up. If you suffer from frequent sinus infections, also known as sinusitis, you could see some relief there, too. Eating peppers regularly can prevent sinus infections, and you may be able to avoid those frequent illnesses forever.
4. Can Assist with Burning Fat and Weight Loss
Peppers can raise your metabolism and help you burn fat, in turn aiding in weight loss. This change is due to capsaicinoids, which can cause you to lose more calories.
Your metabolic rate will increase because the peppers kickstart a thermogenic process in your body. This process generates body heat, which leads to burning calories. The thermogenic process also effectively utilizes energy, allowing you to burn additional calories through energizing your body and encouraging movement.
If you eat the peppers at breakfast, you’ll also likely have a suppressed appetite for the rest of the day. This suppression will help you avoid cravings and overeating and allow you to go longer between meals.
5. Helps Relieve Headaches and Migraines
Studies show that capsaicinoids are effective in reducing and relieving headaches and migraines. This study also includes cluster headaches, which are headaches that reoccur over several weeks.
Cluster headaches usually only cause pain on one side of your head and are sudden and severe. Migraines are similar to cluster headaches+ but differ in the symptoms. While they both normally cause pain on one side of the head, migraines also cause nausea, vomiting, and light and sound sensitivity.
Capsaicin is so effective at treating headaches and migraines because it shifts your focus. Instead, Your body will focus on the hot pepper you’ve consumed, lessening the presence of pain.
6. Promotes Heart Health
Capsaicinoids can protect the heart by reducing cholesterol levels, triglycerides, and platelet aggregation. Additionally, it will promote the breakdown of fibrin, which is what causes blood clots.
You could also experience a reduction in blood serum cholesterol and lipid deposits. This can help reverse blood clotting that is already occurring, promoting the circulatory system and prevents heart disease. It also dilates your blood vessels, which might further assist blood flow.
7. Can Provide Pain Relief
Substance P is a neuropeptide that transmits pain to the brain. Capsaicinoids are known to prevent Substance P, so you won’t feel as much pain.
It can relieve pain caused by diabetic neuropathy, osteoarthritis, headaches, sinus pressure, migraines, and cluster headaches. Other pain the capsaicin found in peppers can help relieve is pain caused by shingles and HIV.
Sometimes, peppers are used to relieve tooth pain by applying it to the afflicted tooth. They can also aid in pain relief caused by peptic ulcers and dyspepsia.
8. Helps with Arthritis
As explained before, peppers can help reduce the pain caused by arthritis. Those who have arthritis typically have increased levels of Substance P in their blood and synovial fluid. Since capsaicinoids prevent Substance P, it also helps relieve the symptoms of arthritis.
9. Offers Gastrointestinal Relief
Capsaicin can offer relief from many gastrointestinal illnesses. These types of diseases are caused by inflammation of the intestines. They can cause repeated abdominal pain, discomfort, and diarrhea.
Researchers at Duke University found in a study on rats that there is a nerve cell receptor that leads to gastrointestinal diseases. This nerve cell receptor is present at the start of all digestive diseases and illnesses. Once they discovered the nerve cell receptor, they determined that the presence of capsaicinoids could stop it.
Capsaicin also helps kill bacteria, which can cause stomach ulcers. This is because it contains antioxidants that aid in gastric health. It also helps prevent and relieve indigestion and stimulates an upset stomach to ease the discomfort.
The capsaicinoids found in peppers also help reduce intestinal gas, cure diarrhea, and relieve cramps. These benefits often stem from the reduction in acid that your body experiences after eating peppers.
How to Add Ghost Peppers to Your Diet
With all of these health benefits, you likely want to try at least eating the peppers. Since they are incredibly spicy, you will want to use them sparingly when adding them to meals.
Some of the methods by which you can incorporate these peppers to your meals include the following:
-Add them to chili for some zest
-Put them in your soup
-Add a small amount to homemade salsa
-Use them to make jelly or jam, spread it on whole-grain crackers to balance out the heat
-Make a hot sauce from peppers
-Use them to make your buffalo wing sauce
-Make barbeque sauce
–Mix a small amount into hummus (it adds a nice, spicy kick)
-Use dried peppers as a seasoning — you can grind them into a powder with a mill
-Chop them up and cook them in oil, save the oil for cooking with later
-Incorporate a small amount in pasta or tomato sauces
-Use them in place of other hot peppers in your favorite recipes. Be sure to reduce the amount used, however significantly.
It is an understatement to say that ghost peppers are hot. They are so hot that they can become dangerous if you aren’t safe. To protect yourself, remember the following tips:
-Never eat ghost peppers whole and by themselves
-Wear gloves if you will be cutting into the pepper
-Avoid putting your face over them if you are grinding dried peppers
-Don’t put your face over the pot while they are cooking
-Clean everything the peppers came into contact with or that you touched after handling the peppers
-Don’t rub your eyes or nose after touching the peppers
-Wash your hands thoroughly when you finish handling them
-Stop eating them if they are causing you discomfort
It’s worth noting that capsaicin can also be found in a supplement form. If the ghost peppers are too hot for your taste, the supplements may be an option. This way, you can still reap the many benefits while saving yourself from quite a bit of pain.
If you like extreme spice, however, ghost peppers are for you. Remember to follow the safety tips listed above as you attempt to add peppers to your diet.
Editorial note: Updated two studies, noting that they were based on animal research not human subjects.