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The Health Benefits of Chilli Heat

Have you ever wanted to know how hot a jalapeno or Thai chilli compares with a cayenne pepper? One very useful and little known…

Have you ever wanted to know how hot a jalapeno or Thai chilli compares with a cayenne pepper? One very useful and little known scale, the Scoville Scale provides the answer. Created by Wilbur Scoville himself, this tool measures capsaicin levels in chillies – an ingredient which gives fiery peppers their heat and spice – enabling you to easily compare one pepper against another.

Capsaicin is a chemical that targets pain receptors in the tongue to inform them that their body is experiencing extreme heat. This prompts the brain to send back pain signals directly back to affected area, giving that burning sensation we associate with spicy foods. Capsaicin serves a natural function by protecting people from serious burns while simultaneously giving us that unique experience when eating spicy food!

Spicy foods offer more than just delicious flavors – they may offer some incredible health benefits too! Studies have demonstrated the power of capsaicin in helping curb appetite, speed metabolism and increase fat-burning capability – even if in small amounts. Furthermore, spicy food may improve digestion, clear congestion and decrease risk factors associated with some autoimmune diseases like arthritis.

But the real surprise lies in this finding that eating more capsaicin-rich food may also lower cancer risks – specifically specific forms like prostate, breast and pancreatic. According to research published in Journal of American Association for Cancer Research, chillies could even help stop tumour growth!

Chilies contain vitamin C, potassium, folate and fibre – all essential components to improved heart health. Furthermore, chillies contain phytochemicals and antioxidants which have recently been studied for their anticancer properties.

No matter your taste in spices, there’s no excuse not to incorporate chillies into your meals. Always remain mindful of the level of spice you consume, and try to steer clear from anything labelled as hot or extra spicy, which could potentially burn the roof of your mouth or lead to other adverse side effects! Below is a guide of the highest and lowest scoring chillies on the Scoville scale, including an explanation of each one’s ranking and Guinness World Record holder for “Hottest Chilli in the World”, Carolina Reaper with 2,200,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHUs). At 4 times hotter than a bird’s eye and more than twice as potency of police-grade pepper spray, it would be wise to wear gloves when handling this one! Komodo Dragon and Naga Viper snakes come close behind with SHU counts of 580,000 and above; enough to make you tremble in fear while possibly burning your taste buds as well!