What is capsaicin?
Capsaicin is a naturally occurring plant chemical (phytochemical) that gives chillies their heat & has been shown to have many health benefits along with the addictive 'heat' element central to many world cuisines.
Capsaicin covers a group of compounds called capsaicinoids: capsaicin, dihydrocapsaicin, nordihydrocapsaicin, homodihydrocapsaicin and homocapsaicin, the most powerful of which is capsaicin.Why does it matter to me?
It's great to know that something that imparts so much flavour sensation is also beneficial to our long term health.
Capsaicin is another part of natures armoury with the potential to protect us from cancer and other long term health conditions.Did you know?
Capsaicin may provide protection against cancer causing chemicals, specifically NNK a potent carcinogen present in tobacco smoke.
Capsaicin has been shown to have multiple mechanisms which may contribute to the prevention of cancer.
Capsaicin has been shown to reduce inflammation in the digestive tract of rats (gut calming).
Capsaicin has been shown to cure mice of type 1 diabetes.
Capsaicin intake in meals has been shown to reduce the appetite for subsequent meals, perhaps giving capsaicin a role in combating obesity.
Capsaicin enhances the breakdown of fats during low intensity exercise again giving capsaicin a role in combating obesity.
Capsaicin has been shown to be an effective pain reliever when applied to the skin.
Classification of chillies
We have classified the amount of capsaicin in chillies based on the their rating on the Scoville scale.
The Scoville scale
The Scoville scale is a measurement of the pungency (spicy heat) of chilli peppers—such as the jalapeño, the bhut jolokia or ghost chilli, and the world's current hottest pepper, the Carolina Reaper—or other spicy foods as reported in Scoville heat units (SHU).