Chili peppers are the fruits of Capsicum plants. Hot chilis contain capsaicin to varying degrees, which stimulates a sensation of burning.

Health considerations

Evidence suggests that regularly consuming chilis may help with blood sugar regulation and may increase metabolic rate and contribute to decreased appetite and body fat. Capsaicin’s role in cancer development is unclear: some studies associate it with protection from cancer- and mutation-promoting chemicals. Heavy consumption of capsaicin has also been associated with development of ulcers and certain cancers. Capsaicin can cause bronchoconstriction (troubled breathing) due to its inflammatory nature.

Keep in mind

Chili peppers are a common allergen. Capsaicin can cause extreme pain and irritation.

May be found in

Prepared foods, spice blends, chocolate, marinades, sauces, dips, paprika, pimenton, salsa


Food and Chemical Toxicology
Life Science
Journal of the National Cancer Institute
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Journal of Medicinal Food
APS Journals
British Journal of Nutrition

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