Fiery Food Facts
1. The burning feeling that makes chile peppers so appealing to pyro-gourmaniacs comes from a collection of compounds called capsaicinoids.
2. Mexico alone grows more than 140 varieties of chile peppers alone.
3. When hot sauce is consumed, a common reaction by the body is to sweat, particularly on the forehead. The scientific term for this reaction is gustatory perspiration.
4. Capsaicin irritates the pain receptors in the mouth, nose and stomach, releasing the chemical messenger "Substance P." This stimulates the brain to produce endorphins, a natural painkillers that give the body a sense of well-being.
5. Capsaicin gives chile peppers their heat and is concentrated in the veins of the fruit.
6. The shorter the molecular chain, the hotter the chile pepper.
7. Chile peppers are cholesterol free, low in sodium and calories, rich in Vitamins A and C, and a good source of folic acid, potassium and Vitamin E.
8. Is your mouth on fire? Don't drink water! Capsaicin, which is an oil, does not mix with the water but is instead distributed to more parts of the mouth.
9. Many people experience an aphrodisiac-like effect when eating hot peppers.
10. When it comes to heat, size does matter. In general, the smaller the pepper, the hotter it is. All of the world's hottest peppers are under 3" long.
11. The Guinness Book of World Records lists the "Red Savina" habanero as the hottest pepper in the world. It measured a whopping 577,000 Scoville Units.
12. A scientific journal recently reported that drinking 1-1/2 quarts of Louisiana hot sauce, if you weigh 140 pounds or less, will cause death by respiratory failure.
13. In 1493 Christopher Columbus discovered chile peppers in America.
14. Capsaicin, the chemical that gives peppers their heat, has been associated with many cures that include warding off strokes and heart attacks, lowering blood pressure, speeding up metabolism, reducing cholesterol, treating colds, preventing cancer and pain management.
15. Ounce for ounce, chilies have more vitamin C than oranges.
16. Chile peppers can help you lose weight by increasing your metabolism.
17. Capsaicin (C18,H27NO3) is a colorless, pungent, crystalline compound.
18. Chile peppers contain more vitamin A than carrots and are low in calories.
19. Hot peppers add flavor to foods which makes it easier to stick to a healthy diet.
20. Chile peppers are known to reduce many harmful bacteria on foods.
21. Hot peppers can help curb your appetite - especially for sweets and fatty foods.
22. The ancient Mayans rubbed chile peppers on their gums to cure toothaches.
23. One out of every four people throughout the world eat chile peppers daily.
24. Two of the founding fathers of our country, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, are both known to have grown chile peppers.
25. The heat from a hot pepper is concentrated in the interior veins or ribs, not in the seeds as is commonly believed.