Chili takes major part of our Asian Culinary and without Chili we cannot imagine of a hot and spicy dish, which are appealing to our taste buds. Chili not only adds a vibrant color to the dining table but the strong ‘heat’ runs through our system with giving us a unique feeling.
Chili peppers originated in Mexico. After the Columbian Exchange, many cultivars of chili pepper spread across the world, used in both food and medicine. Chilies were brought to Asia by Portuguese navigators during the 16th century.
Chili peppers have been a part of the human diet in the Americas since at least 7500 BCE. The most recent research shows that chili peppers were domesticated more than 6000 years ago in Mexico, in the region that extends across southern Puebla and northern Oaxaca to southeastern Veracruz, and were one of the first self-pollinating crops cultivated in Mexico, Central and parts of South America. Christopher Columbus was one of the first Europeans to encounter them (in the Caribbean), and called them \\\"peppers\\\" because they, like black and white pepper of the Piper genus known in Europe, have a spicy hot taste unlike other foodstuffs. Upon their introduction into Europe, chilies were grown as botanical curiosities in the gardens of Spanish and Portuguese monasteries. Christian monks experimented with the culinary potential of chili and discovered that their pungency offered a substitute for black peppercorns, which at the time were so costly that they were used as legal currency in some countries.
Chilies were cultivated around the globe after Indigenous people shared them with travelers. Diego Álvarez Chanca, a physician on Columbus\\\' second voyage to the West Indies in 1493, brought the first chili peppers to Spain and first wrote about their medicinal effects in 1494.
The spread of chili peppers to Asia was most likely a natural consequence of its introduction to Portuguese traders (Lisbon was a common port of call for Spanish ships sailing to and from the Americas) who, aware of its trade value, would have likely promoted its commerce in the Asian spice trade routes then dominated by Portuguese and Arab traders. It was introduced in India by the Portuguese towards the end of 15th century. Today chilies are an integral part of South Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines.
Psychologist Paul Rozin suggests that eating chilies is an example of a \\\"constrained risk\\\" like riding a roller coaster, in which extreme sensations like pain and fear can be enjoyed because individuals know that these sensations are not actually harmful. This method lets people experience extreme feelings without any risk of bodily harm.
Capsaicin, the chemical in chili peppers that makes them hot, is used as an analgesic in topical ointments, nasal sprays, and dermal patches to relieve pain.
Chili pepper contains an impressive list of plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties.
- Chilies contain health benefiting an alkaloid compound, capsaicin, which gives them strong spicy, pungent character. Early laboratory studies on experimental mammals suggest that capsaicin has anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic and anti-diabetic properties. It also found to reduce LDL cholesterol levels in obese.
- Fresh chili peppers, red and green, are a rich source of vitamin-C. 100 g fresh chilies provide about 143.7 µg or about 240% of RDA. Vitamin-C is a potent water-soluble antioxidant. It is essential for the collagen synthesis inside the human body. Collagen is one of the main structural protein required for maintaining the integrity of blood vessels, skin, organs, and bones. Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps protect from scurvy, develop resistance against infectious agents (boosts immunity), and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.
- They are also good in other antioxidants such as vitamin-A, and flavonoids like ßcarotene, α -carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and cryptoxanthin. These antioxidant substances in capsicum help protect the body from injurious effects of free radicals generated during stress, diseases conditions.
- Chilies carry a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. The human body use manganese as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
- Chilies are also good in the B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), riboflavin and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential in the sense that human body requires them from external sources to replenish.
Chili peppers have amazingly high levels of vitamins and minerals. Just 100 g provides (in % of recommended daily allowance):
240% of vitamin-C (Ascorbic acid)
39% of vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine)
32% of vitamin A
13% of iron
14% of copper
7% of potassium
However, no cholesterol.
As an indigenous spice producer Freelan has array of Chili and Chili related products for you to choose from to prick your taste nerves