Top 3 Reasons We Don’t Eat Habaneros (And Why We Should)

If you are in the love-it camp, you may already know about the amazing health benefits of hot peppers.

From mildest to the hottest, peppers provide myriad health benefits thanks to capsaicin, a compound in all chili pepper family members. The total number of capsaicinoids varies from pepper to pepper, with the highest capsaicinoid concentration found in the Habanero pepper.

Habaneros aren’t the typical go-to when we reach for a hot pepper to give our meals a spicy pick-me-up. This is unfortunate because once the initial burning sensation on your tongue and throat subside, Habaneros provide a deliciously satisfying heat that does your body a whole lot of good.

So why do Habanero peppers often get overlooked if they’re so good?

#1 They Get Mixed Up With the Hottest of the Hot

Sure, habaneros are hot. Some varieties are even considered among the hottest peppers globally, measuring 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHUs). The Scoville scale [1] is a scientific (aka objective) way for us hotheads to measure the spicy hotness of all peppers and hot sauces, from Bell pepper to Pepper X. The scale measures capsaicinoids, the chemical compounds that cause a burning sensation. 

So if we’re looking at the swimming pool of peppers, Jalapeño peppers and Cayenne peppers (less than 50,000 SHUs each) are in the shallow end, and Habaneros are in the middle-deep end. Carolina Reaper and Dragon’s Breath peppers would be out in the middle of the Atlantic ocean.

The misconception that Habanero heat and Reaper heat are indistinguishable is one of the primary reasons people tend to avoid Habanero peppers. Truthfully, only someone who hasn’t tried these two peppers could ever make this mistake since each provides an entirely different heat experience. 

Spreading this misinformation detracts from our overall quality of life since consuming Habaneros provides various health benefits that shouldn’t be ignored.

#2 They Get Lost In the Crowd

Habanero peppers are often passed over for Jalapeños to appeal to the broader consumer taste. Much of western cuisine has minimal hot pepper seasoning. 

Since spice markets tend to reflect consumer behavior, Jalapeños have become the chosen favorite. An example of this favoritism is the restaurant chain Chipotle whose name is the actual word used to describe a slow-roasted or smoked Jalapeño pepper. 

Other hot peppers like Carolina Reapers, Ghost peppers, and Scotch Bonnets have the name recognition and appeal of “Oohhh, SOOO HOT!” This contributes to them being a popular choice among hotheads. Habaneros, alternatively, combine a strong flavor profile and a satisfying heat that doesn’t linger from dish to dish.

#3 Some People Just Don't Like Hot

It’s as simple as that. People with milder palates tend to avoid anything spicier than mayonnaise. The hotness that comes from eating hot peppers makes some feel like their head is gonna explode, so it’s easy to understand why they avoid spicy foods. We get it; we aren’t fans of exploding heads, either.

So if your tastebuds can handle the heat, you need to give ol’ Haby Habanero a chance. Thanks to various foods (and even a couple of immunity aid drinks), you can get that Habanero health boost without consuming the actual peppers whole.

And if you can’t handle the heat, you can experience some of the same incredible Habanero health benefits by eating Jalapeños, Cayennes, Sweet Bell peppers, and Peppercorns.

Why We Should Eat More Habanero Peppers

Eating Habaneros on a somewhat regular basis can help protect your skin’s health, combat infections, and reduce the risk of more serious illnesses. Although there are many amazing Habanero health benefits, here are a few we think you should consider. 

Boost Your Metabolism

Capsaicin is a superstar when it comes to our health. It plays a significant role in why Habaneros are so beneficial. Though limited, research suggests that capsaicin may possess the potential to reduce obesity by improving lipid metabolism. [2]

Increasing metabolism helps stimulate your body to burn fat faster, helping you drop those extra pounds. 

Additionally, consuming capsaicin may help increase heat production in the body (aka thermogenesis) [3], which helps increase the energy you expend after you eat.

Essentially, thermogenesis prevents your body from absorbing your food as fat and releases it as energy. The effect is that you feel hot all over and may begin to sweat.

Lower Your Cholesterol

Even when consumed in small amounts, Habanero peppers contain loads of capsaicin, antioxidants, and vitamins.

These vital nutrients reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. [4] Often called “bad” cholesterol, LDL cholesterol collects in the walls of your blood vessels, increasing your risk of heart stroke or attack.

Not all cholesterol is harmful. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol helps your body protect itself and make healthy cells. This “good” cholesterol helps your liver flush out harmful LDL to improve your heart health.

If you suffer from heart disease or diabetes, maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is vital for long-term heart health.

Protect Your Skin

Habaneros are chock full of vitamins and minerals that help sustain the health of our eyes, hair, and skin. Imagine getting the same skin rejuvenating benefits you get from sitting in a hot spring or sauna every time you eat Habaneros.

Habanero peppers trigger an internal cleanse as the heat passes through your body. As toxins get expelled through your sweat, it helps unclog pores so your skin can breathe easier.

Anyone who wants to enjoy the health benefits of Habaneros but isn’t quite a hothead may be able to train their tastebuds to enjoy the rich flavors of spicier foods.

One way to achieve this is by consistently adding small amounts of spicy food to your diet, which will teach your receptors to enjoy the flavor while reducing the pain sensations.

Get Your Habanero Fix with an Immune Booster Drink

Habaneros can be eaten raw, cooked, dried, and even powdered. 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 (or two) every day.

Pepper Bru™ Lemon, our flagship functional beverage, is a uniquely perfect combination of spicy Habanero peppers, raw sweet local honey, tart lemons, and a kick of ginger.

Brewed like 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 locally to support small businesses in our community.

We’d love to hear from you. Please send us a message on Instagram @Pepper.Bru.