Could a hot pepper a day keep the doctor away?

“Chili peppers are a great source for anti-oxidants which support a healthy immune system,” said Ashley Koff, a registered dietitian and CEO of The Better Nutrition Program. 

— Excerpt from Chicago Sun Times by  Jenniffer Weigel 

(MediaQuire)  –   A funny thing happened recently when I was sampling hot sauces –– my stuffy nose disappeared as well as the remnants of my cold. So I started to wonder, is this normal, or was I just having a weird reaction to chili peppers?

“Chili peppers are a great source for anti-oxidants which support a healthy immune system,” said Ashley Koff, a registered dietician and CEO of The Better Nutrition Program. “Another component of chili peppers is capsaicin, (the key ingredient for many creams used to treat muscle and joint pain) and this can help with inflammation, which would explain your nose becoming less congested.”

Other health benefits of the chili pepper include plenty of unique plant nutrients that can help the body fight infections.

“Chili peppers are full of folic acid and vitamin C,” said Robyn O’Brien, author of “The Unhealthy Truth,” a book about the food industry.

“They also contain potassium, vitamin A, beta carotene, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.”

Koff said it’s “not as hard as one might think” to start bringing peppers into your diet, and suggested replacing the use of salt or even ketchup with chopped peppers, cayenne pepper or pepper flakes.

“I like to use those chili flakes and just sprinkle them on anything I would normally use salt,” Koff said. “Tacos, even salad. It boosts your food flavor and you get some nutrients at the same time.”

Read the entire story on Chicago Sun Times

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