Crushed Red Peppers can be traced back to Central and South America. They have been cultivated for more than seven thousand years. It was not until the 15th century that red peppers were introduced to the rest of the world. In traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, a traditional form of Indian medicine, red peppers have been used to treat digestive problems, circulatory problems, infections and arthritis.
Recent research has found that dried red pepper flakes may be an appetite suppressant for people who are not used to the spice. Results showed that adding the flakes to the diet daily decreased feelings of hunger in test subjects who did not normally eat them. These same subjects found they craved fatty, salty and sweet foods less as well. The effects of the dried pepper in reducing appetite only worked in those who were not accustomed to the flakes.
In a recent study, researchers found that 3 different types of peppers (pasilla, guajillo and ancho) contained carotenoids. These are the pigments that give the peppers their color, but are also beneficial to your health. The carotenoids act as antioxidants which protect your tissues and cells from the dangers posed by free radicals. These radicals play a key part in increasing bodily pain.
That bright red color of the chili flakes says that it is high in beta-carotene. Beta-carotene gets converted to vitamin A which is essential for healthy mucous membranes. These membranes line the nasal passages, lungs, intestinal tract and urinary tract which serve as the body’s first line of defense against pathogens trying to get into our bodies. Plus, red pepper flakes contain vitamin C which is needed for a healthy immune system.
Research has shown that crushed peppers reduce blood cholesterol, triglyceride levels and platelet aggregation. These peppers have been found to aid in helping the body to dissolve fibrin which is a substance integral to the formation of blood clots. Studies have found that in areas where people eat hot peppers regularly in their diet, they have a much lower rate of heart attack, stroke and pulmonary embolism. One study found that people who ate the hot peppers had a rate of oxidation much lower in both men and women. Plus, women had a longer lag time before damage by cholesterol was seen.
Studies have found that crushed red peppers may aid in the amount of insulin required to lower blood sugar after a meal. Promising results have found that if crushed red peppers are regularly consumed, insulin requirements drop even lower. One study found that those who were overweight had lower amounts of insulin required to lower the blood sugar levels after a meal. Nutritionists also found that it is not just the capsaicin, but the antioxidants, including vitamin C and carotenoids which might help to improve the insulin regulation.