201202-bite-meChili peppers grow on a perennial small plant that matures to about a metre high and bears white coloured flowers. The peppers grow to brilliant colours of green, orange or red.

Chili pepper has many health benefits. Its strong, spicy taste comes from an active alkaloid compound known as capsaicin. Capsaicin has anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic as well as anti-diabetic properties. It also significantly reduces the bad cholesterol levels – low densitylipoprotein (LDL), which causes cardiovascular disease.

This flaming spice is a rich source of vitamin C, which boosts immunity and helps eliminate harmful free radicals from the body. It also contains B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, vitamin B-6, riboflavin and thiamin. These vitamins are essential in maintenance of healthy skin, hair and muscle tone. They also increase cell growth and division, including that of red blood cells that help prevent anaemia. These vitamins also reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer. Adding chili peppers to your cooking not only gives food a hot kick but its also good for your health. Chili peppers are particularly good in curries and stews. They also add great flavour to barbeque meat when served with an accompaniment of raw onions, pepper and tomato salad (kachumbari).

Published in February 2012