Chili contains up to seven times the vitamin C level of an orange and has a range of health benefits, including fighting sinus congestion, aiding digestion and helping to relieve migraines and muscle, joint and nerve pain. It’s also a good source of vitamins A and E, beta-carotene, folic acid and potassium. Chilli has long been used to reduce food micro-contamination and is also considered a potential metabolism booster for weight loss. Several studies have found it may also play a role in treating lung and prostate cancer and leukaemia.
Chili can be irritating if taken in excess. Extremely hot ones can burn the inside of the mouth and can also be irritating when excreted. A glass of milk or yoghurt side dish such as cucumber raita can help soothe the bite. The casein in milk pulls the capsaicin away from nerve-receptor sites to ease the burning sensation. If you have any pre-existing medical condition, ask your doctor if it’s okay to eat hot chilli. Or if you can’t stomach the heat, ask them about capsaicin supplements.
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