Aside from that great KICK most of us love, chili peppers also have many health benefits, including aiding the stomach and the promotion of weight loss.

Capsaicin, the main capsaicinoid in chili peppers, may help to protect the heart by reducing cholesterol, triglycerides and platelet aggregation. It may also help the body dissolve fibrin, which makes blood clots. Cultures of the world that use hot peppers frequently in their meals have significantly lower rates of heart attack and stroke than others.

Capsaicin is a thermogenic, which stimulates the body’s burning of fat by increasing metabolism. It is also reported that capsicum lowers caloric intake, shrinks fat tissue and reduces fat levels in the blood.

Capsaicin also helps to stimulate secretions that combat nasal congestion. It also contains antibacterial properties that help fight chronic sinus infections.

A recent Duke University study showed capsaicin may actually lead to a cure for certain intestinal diseases. A specific nerve cell receptor may initiate the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Capsaicin may inhibit this nerve cell receptor.

RECIPE: Hawaiian Chili Pepper Water

Once made, let sit over night to develop flavors. Keep refrigerated.

  • 8-10 Hawaiian red chili peppers
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 2 garlic clove, sliced
  • 2 quarter-sized slices fresh ginger, bruised (optional)
  • 1-2 teaspoons sea or kosher salt
  • 2 cups hot water (not boiling)

Place all ingredients into a slightly larger than pint-sized glass jar or bottle. Pour hot water over. Cap when cooled and store in refrigerator.