6 Amazing Health Benefits of Habaneros
At one point, Habanero peppers were some of the hottest peppers on the planet. As hotheads demanded more and more heat, Habaneros were dethroned by peppers like the Carolina Reaper. If you’re after maximum spiciness, you may wanna pass on these delicious peppers.
If you’re seeking a satisfying heat and impressive flavor profile – with the added benefit of a health and wellness boost – Habaneros are a sure bet.
In this article, we’re gonna tell you six ways expanding your relationship with Habaneros can improve your health. You may even discover a few creative ways to get a ‘Habanero Health Boost’.
Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room…
Why Don’t We Eat More Habanero Peppers?
As we discussed in detail here, the most common reason we don’t eat more Habanero peppers is either because they’re too hot or they get overlooked for other hot peppers. If you’re in the “can’t handle the heat” crowd, you still may be able to experience the health benefits of Habaneros.
Since the hottest parts of the Habanero pepper are its membrane and its seeds, you can try removing these to reduce the overall heat of the pepper. The remaining flesh will be much milder. Though if you are truly sensitive to spicy foods they may still be too hot for your palate. Additionally, dried peppers are usually hotter than fresh, so try picking up a few peppers on your next grocery run.
If you’re one of those people who love spicy food but can’t tell the difference between a Cayenne pepper and a Caroline Reaper, you’re not alone. And although the number of people who grow their own food has increased, the most popular hot peppers grown at home are Jalapeños and Chili peppers.
Often Habaneros don’t even come up in conversations about the hottest peppers in the world. The thing about hot peppers is that although they all contain capsaicinoids (the compound that causes the burning sensation), we taste different capsaicinoids differently. Habanero peppers are known to provide a delayed, hot burning sensation at the back of the throat.
The bottom line – whether or not you’re a hothead, it’s hard to deny the amazing health benefits of Habaneros. Keep reading to learn how Habanero peppers can improve your daily life.
Top 6 Habanero Health Benefits
The spiciness of Habaneros comes from capsaicin, the active component in peppers that ignites your tastebuds. An ever-growing body of research shows that people who eat foods rich in capsaicin tend to live longer than those who don’t. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Without further ado, here are eight ways consuming Habanero peppers can give your overall health a much-needed boost.
They Lower Your Risk of Diabetes
Capsaicin, a primary compound found in Habanero peppers, has been shown to reduce the level of insulin in your body. Packed with capsaicin, antioxidants, and other useful plant-based elements, Habanero peppers can also help manage your diabetes.
By regulating blood glucose levels following a meal, Habaneros may:
- Decrease insulin resistance
- Improve pancreatic activity
- And prevent sudden spikes in blood sugar levels
Studies have shown that including Habaneros in your regular diet, even in small amounts, can alleviate common symptoms of diabetes. One study, in particular, found that people who ate Habaneros regularly were less likely to develop diabetes than those who didn’t eat them .
They Give Your Immune System a Boost
Another known health benefit of capsaicin is its ability to boost your immune system. Capsaicin helps your body fight off infections and harmful bacteria, which contributes to improving your overall health.
Research has shown that people who regularly eat hot peppers are less likely to get sick than those who don’t . Consuming spicy foods and beverages on a semi-daily basis may help prevent or reduce the symptoms of the common cold.
High in vitamins A, B, E, and C (a powerful antioxidant), Habaneros are a spicy alternative to citrus fruits when you’re feeling under the weather.
They Can Reduce Arthritis Pain
Numerous studies have found capsaicin to have an anti-inflammatory effect. It works to inhibit the production of Substance P, a compound responsible for the pain and swelling associated with inflammation. This is the main reason you’ll find capsaicin listed as an ingredient in many pain-relieving creams.
Acting as an anti-inflammatory agent, Habaneros can help reduce the symptoms of arthritis, migraines, and other inflammation-based conditions. In one double-blind clinical trial conducted in 1991, patients suffering from osteoarthritis (OA) experienced reduced pain, stiffness, and inflammation after just two weeks of topical capsaicin treatment .
If you suffer from arthritis or regularly deal with inflammation and joint stiffness, adding Habaneros to your diet may be just what you need.
They Improve Your Respiratory System
We all know about the physical reactions to eating spicy foods – sweating, watery eyes, runny nose, and the opening of clogged sinuses. So it should come as no surprise that consuming Habaneros would have a positive effect on your respiratory system.
Acting as a natural decongestant, Habaneros help clear out congested mucus membranes in the nose and lungs so you can breathe easier. In some cases, just taking a whiff of capsaicin can help calm symptoms of rhinitis and other minor respiratory issues.
Capsaicin provides significant relief to people with allergies and can reduce the symptoms of asthma. Additionally, consuming hot peppers often causes you to sweat, which helps your body to eliminate harmful toxins.
They Provide Natural Pain Relief
It may seem counterintuitive, but according to doctors at Penn Medicine, in addition to salt water, honey, and lemon, swallowing a few drops of capsaicin-powered hot sauce may provide relief for a sore throat .
Hot peppers are effective at minimizing both chronic and acute pain in more than just your throat. Capsaicin helps block pain signals to your brain and triggers the release of endorphins and dopamine instead, which has been proven to help transmute pain into pleasure.
Eating Habaneros may be the best way to introduce the pain-relieving compound capsaicin into your body, but it’s not the only way. Head to your local drugstore and you can find a selection of capsaicin patches and topicals available for over-the-counter purchase.
They Help Maintain Heart Health
Habaneros are high in Vitamins C and A, which are essential for maintaining cardiovascular health. Studies have shown that people who eat Habaneros and other hot peppers regularly have a lower risk of developing heart disease due to their anti-inflammatory properties.
Hot peppers support a healthy circulatory system by dilating blood vessels and improving blood flow. Eating a diet – even a high-cholesterol diet – may reduce LDL (aka bad) cholesterol levels when supplemented with capsaicin.
Adding even small amounts of Habaneros to meals provides a rich reserve of capsaicin antioxidants regulating blood cholesterol levels and preventing the accumulation of plaque in the blood vessels of the heart.
How to Get Your Habanero Health Boost
Habaneros can be eaten raw, cooked, dried, and even powdered. Hot peppers may lose some capsaicinoids during the cooking process, but research has shown that there is little to no loss during the drying process. Although eating raw Habanero peppers provides greater health benefits than cooked ones, you’ll also experience a more intense burning sensation.
The most common way people consume Habaneros is by adding them to their food. Habaneros can easily be blended into a variety of dishes and sauces.
Habaneros can be enjoyed:
- Cooked in main dishes
- Blended into soup, stew, or curry
- Infused in spicy chili oils
- Pickled (as a condiment)
- Blended into smoothies
- Baked into cornbread or stuffed with meat or cheese
We suggest incorporating this beneficial pepper into two or three meals each week. Unless you’re a hothead, we recommend using a blender to thoroughly mix the pepper into your sauce or soup (with or without the seeds).
One of the easiest ways to get your daily fix of Habaneros is to pick up a Pepper Bru™ Lemon each day. Our flagship drink is a uniquely perfect combination of spicy Habanero peppers, raw sweet local honey, tart lemons, and a kick of ginger. Brewed like a tea, Pepper Bru™ Lemon can be enjoyed warm or cold for a natural energy boost without the crash.
At Pepper Bru™, we carefully and intentionally consider what goes into our drinks, including where we source each ingredient. Whenever possible, we buy local to support small businesses in our community.
How do you get your Habanero Health Boost? We’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below.