I feel pretty randy when hot peppers are part of my diet. Just don't be a dumb ass and eat too much capsaicin, the chemical that gives red pepper its fire. This aspiring chef did and it could be the cause of his death.
Hot Pepper Health Benefits
For centuries, people from dozens of countries around the world have relied on hot peppers as powerful medicinal agents. In ancient times, they were used to stimulate digestion, improve circulation, suppress the symptoms of the common cold and provide pain relief.
You probably know from experience that nothing can clear your sinuses like a mouthful of red-hot salsa or five-alarm chili. The capsaicin in these spicy dishes works like an expectorant, triggering the release of mucus to help open clogged breathing passages in the nose and lungs.
Diets rich in hot peppers may benefit heart health since capsaicin appears to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the clotting potential of the blood. Capsaicin has been used to improve athletic performance and to treat symptoms of chronic fatigue, asthma and infections.
Contrary to popular belief, hot peppers are actually beneficial to the gastrointestinal tract when eaten in moderation. Capsaicin increases blood flow to the stomach lining, keeping it healthy and speeding repairs. It also stimulates peristalsis, the muscular contractions of the gut that propel food toward its ultimate destination.
Recent research has uncovered a few more health-promoting properties attributable to the hot pepper and its active ingredient. Among the most promising is its potential to fight fat.
The Scoville Scale is a measure of the 'hotness' of a chilli pepper or anything derived from chilli peppers, i.e. hot sauce. The scale is named after Wilbur Scoville who developed the test in 1912. If torturing your tongue with nuclear-strength peppers doesn't sound all that appealing, you can always opt for lightweight peppers, like the habanero (250,000 SHU) or the jalapeno (5,500 SHU). Even if you don't enjoy eating peppers for the mouth-scalding thrill, it might be a good idea to eat them for their proven health benefits. See the list below
The Scoville Heat Scale:
Scoville Heat Units Chilli Pepper / Hot Sauce
16,000,000 Pure capsaicin and Dihydrocapsaicin
16,000,000 Blair's 16 Million Reserve, from Gardner Resources, Inc.
16,000,000 Blair's 6 A.M., from Gardner Resources, Inc.
8,600,000 Homodihydrocapsaicin and Homocapsaicin
7,100,000 The Source, from Original Juan Specialty Foods
5,500,000 Blair's 5 A.M., from Gardner Resources Inc. - No Longer available
5,300,000 Police grade Pepper spray
4,000,000 Blair's 4 A.M., from Gardner Resources Inc. - No Longer available
2,000,000 Common Pepper spray
1,500,000 - 2,000,000 Blair's 3 A.M., from Gardner Resources Inc.
1,500,000 Da' Bomb The Final Answer, from Original Juan Specialty Food
1,001,304 Naga-Bih Jolokia pepper
1,000,000 Cool Million Pepper Extract, from the Poison Pepper Co.
1,000,000 1 Million Scoville Pepper Extract, from Ashley Food Company, Inc.
923,000 The Dorset Naga Pepper, from Peppers by Post
855,000 (reported) The Naga Jolokia pepper (Capsicum frutescens), not confirmed
800,000 Satan's Blood, from Sauce Crafters Inc.
700,000 The Slap Heard Around the World, from Tiguana Flats
600,000 - 900,000 Blair's 2 A.M., from Gardner Resources, Inc.
600,000 Mad Dog 357 with Bullet Keychain, from Ashley Food Company
550,000 Blair's Mega Death Sauce, from Gardner Resources, Inc.
500,000 - 750,000 Dave's Insanity Private Reserve, from Dave's Gourmet (estimated)
400,000 - 500,000 Spontaneous Combustion Powder, from Southwest Specialty Foods Inc.
357,000 Mad Dog 357 Hot Sauce, from Ashley Food Company
350,000 - 577,000 Red Savina habanero (Capsicum chinense Jacquin)
283,000 Blair's Possible Side Effects, from Gardner Resources, Inc.
250,000 Vicious Viper, from CaJohns Fiery Foods
250,000 Dave's Ultimate Insanity Sauce, from Dave's Gourmet (estimated)
234,000 Da' Bomb Ground Zero, from Original Juan Specialty Foods
225,000 Not Cool Chocolate Habanero from Bahama Specialty Foods, Inc.
225,000 You Can't Handle This Hot Sauce, from Peppers
180,000 Dave's Insanity Sauce, from Dave's Gourmet (estimated)
175,000 Predator Great White Shark, from Peppers
150,000 Mad Dog Inferno Reserve, from Ashley Food Company
125,000 Crazy Jerry's Mustard Gas, from Crazy Jerry's, Inc.
119,700 Da' Bomb Beyond Insanity, from Original Juan Specialty Food
100,000 - 350,000 Habanero (Capsicum chinense Jacquin)
100,000 - 325,000 Scotch bonnet (Capsicum chinense)
100,000 - 225,000 Birds Eye pepper
100,000 - 200,000 Jamaican Hot pepper
100,000 - 125,000 Carolina Cayenne pepper
95,000 - 110,000 Bahamian pepper
90,000 Mad Dog Inferno, from Ashley Food Company
85,000 - 115,000 Tabiche pepper
75,000 - 80,000 Red Amazon Pepper
75,000 Chile-Today Red Amazon Powder, from Chile Today-Hot Tamale
50,000 - 100,000 Thai pepper (Capsicum annuum)
50,000 - 100,000 Chiltepin pepper
49,250 Blair's After Death Sauce, from Gardner Resources, Inc.
40,000 - 58,000 Piquin pepper
40,000 - 50,000 Super Chile pepper
40,000 - 50,000 Santaka pepper
33,390 Endorphin Rush Beyond Hot Sauce, from Garden Row Foods
30,000 - 49,999 Lottie's Original Barbados Red Hot, from Lottie's Island Flavours
30,000 - 50,000 Cayenne pepper (Capsicum baccatum and Capsicum frutescens)
30,000 - 50,000 Tabasco pepper (Capsicum frutescens)
15,000 - 30,000 de Arbol pepper
15,000 - 29,999 Lottie's Traditional Barbados Yellow, from Lottie's Island Flavours
12,000 - 30,000 Manzano pepper
11,600 El Yucateco XXXtra Hot Habanero, from El Yucateco
11,000 Crazy Jerry's Brain Damage, from Crazy Jerry's, Inc.
8,910 El Yucateco Green Chile Habanero, from El Yucateco
7,000 - 8,000 TABASCO® brand Habanero Sauce
6,000 - 23,000 Serrano pepper
5,790 El Yucateco Red Chile Habanero, from El Yucateco
5,000 - 10,000 Hot Wax pepper
5,000 - 10,000 Chipotle, a Jalapeño pepper that has been smoked.
3,600 Cholula Hot Sauce, from Jalisco Food Company
3,400 El Yucateco Chipotle Hot Sauce, from El Yucateco
2,500 - 8,000 Santaka pepper
2,500 - 5,000 Jalapeño (Capsicum annuum)
2,500 - 5,000 Guajilla pepper
2,500 - 5,000 TABASCO® brand Pepper Sauce
2.085 FRANK'S® REDHOT® XTRA Hot, from Reckitt Benckiser Inc.
2,000 - 2,500 TABASCO® brand Chipotle Pepper Sauce, from McIlhenny Company
1,200 - 1,800 Tabasco Garlic sauce
1,500 - 2,500 Rocotilla pepper
1,000 - 2,000 Passila pepper
1,000 - 2,000 Ancho pepper
1,000 - 2,000 Poblano pepper
1,200 - 1,800 TABASCO® brand Garlic Sauce
747 Texas Pete®, from T.W. Garner Food Co.
700 - 1,000 Coronado pepper
600 - 800 TABASCO® brand Green Pepper Sauce
500 - 2,500 Anaheim pepper
500 - 1,000 New Mexico pepper
450 FRANK'S® REDHOT® Original, from Reckitt Benckiser Inc.
400 - 700 Santa Fe Grande pepper
100 - 600 TABASCO® brand SWEET & Spicy Pepper Sauce
100 - 500 Pepperoncini, pepper (also known as Tuscan peppers, sweet Italian peppers, and golden Greek peppers.
100 - 500 Pimento
0 Sweet Bell pepper