Hot peppers sure are delicious, and a great addition to any dish (if you like things spicy). However, for years, there have been a handful of myths and misconceptions about not only the health benefits of hot peppers but also the tricks to calming down your tongue after putting too much jalapeno in your salsa. Here are five myths that we feel everyone should know the truth about.
The seeds are not the only source of heat.
Contrary to popular belief, the seeds in most hot peppers are not the primary source of heat. Instead, the white membrane that connects the seeds to the pepper’s core is the main culprit. See, inside hot peppers is an ingredient called capsaicin. This ingredient is an oily irritant to our skin, which explains the heat we experience after eating a hot chile. Although the seeds can absorb some of the capsaicin in the pepper, it is a common misconception that seeding will lessen the heat or spiciness. If you really want to lower the spice factor of your next dish, make sure you cut the membrane out of the pepper.
Not all green peppers are mild.
There are so many kinds of green peppers out there, poblano and bell just to name a couple. These types, though mild, are incredibly delicious. Unfortunately, a very common mistake that people make is using the “color scale” to decide the heat of a pepper. The myth goes that the green peppers are mild in heat, whereas red peppers are the hottest. However, a poblano pepper and an Anaheim chile have two very different heat extremes. Whereas the poblano has more of a mild, smokey flavor, the Anaheim takes on a spicier essence. Both types are green. The same can be said of Serrano chiles, jalapenos, and pasilla chiles. All are green, and all have a medium to high scale of heat. It is true that peppers such as the Scotch Bonnet and the ghost pepper are red or orange, and that they are very intense on the heat scale, but it is very important to keep in mind that green peppers can be spicy too.
Hot peppers can kill you.
This myth is still believed by a lot of people. It claims that a pepper of extreme heat can cause ulcers and gastrointestinal damage, leading to eventual death. Science has proven, however, that spicy peppers are very good for your health, providing calcium, vitamins A and C, and antioxidants to your body. In fact, research has shown that instead of deteriorating your stomach’s lining, they actually provide an extra coating in order to protect your stomach from forming holes, ulcers, and tumors.
Water will not help calm the heat from a pepper.
Capsaicin, as we stated earlier, is the oily ingredient that is secreted in the membrane of most spicy peppers. Because it is oily, water cannot be absorbed by the ingredient in order to calm down the heat. Milk, however, is the perfect choice to cool down your mouth. Milk contains casein, which is a compound that loves fat, making it a good match for capsaicin. This fat-loving compound will combine with the oil from the capsaicin and the spiciness will diminish. Next time you order a spicy dish, try ordering a glass of milk with it. Your tongue will thank you.
There are many health benefits to hot peppers.
Along with providing calcium and vitamins to your body and protecting your stomach lining, spicy peppers offer many more health benefits. Lowering blood pressure, killing cancer cells that target the pancreas and lungs, and lowering cholesterol are just some of the health benefits that eating spicy peppers can offer. Other studies revolving around weight loss, sex drive, and diminishing the risk of tumors are also being conducted. Even if you don’t enjoy the heat, the health benefits definitely speak for themselves as to why a hot pepper is good for you.