Are Hot Peppers the Perfect Food for the Hot Tropical Climate?
One of the more astounding things about living in the tropics is the absolute love for hot spicy food. The varieties of hot peppers are numerous and can be found in many forms from the Americas, to North Africa,
from the Mideast to Southeast Asia. While the Spaniards spread a number of hot pepper varieties found in the Americas across the world, local varieties have been used by the indigenous cultures of many regions.
There are ways hot peppers help make tropical life easier.
First, the spicy burn caused by chili peppers makes the body sweat which cools it off and that is the most evident practical way hot peppers make tropical life easier. That combined with their varied rich flavors and levels of heat are most likely the reasons they are so widely consumed. In addition to these observable effects there are a number of health related reasons to eat these bites of fire.
Health benefits and medical uses of peppers
- Large concentrations flavonoids including Alpha Carotene, Beta Carotene, Lutein and zeaxanthin.
- High concentration of antioxidants and other vitamins A, B1, B6, C and E
- A good source of several minerals including Potassium, Iron, Manganese, Copper and Magnesium
- The alkaloid chemical Capsaicin that is the key ingredient that gives the peppers their heat and much of their flavor has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol and lower arterial inflammation.
- Capsaicin also provides the analgesic heat in many creams and rubs used to treat sore muscles and arthritis.
- Capsaicin is also the active ingredient in hot pepper defensive spray used to deter attackers.
Suffice it to say hot peppers have practical, medicinal, and excellent nutritional benefits.
Red Hot Peppers, Where to Find them or How to Avoid them
Red hot peppers are found in many foods but the following list contains the principal uses we have encountered.
- Salsas and Sauces
- Pickled vegetables and hot oils
- Red pepper powder and flakes
- Prepared foods
- Soups, stews and marinates
- Fresh produce
- Dried peppers
In Latin America hot chili peppers are called picante, in Asia hot oil is called Fire Oil and the sauces go by many names including Badjak and hot garlic sauce, in North Africa the sauces are called piri piri or harissa, in the Middle East it is called Zhug, but whatever it is called the fundamental ingredient is hot peppers. If you plan to retire in the tropics or just visit be prepared to develop your heat tolerance, both to the weather and to the food.
If you have any suggestions, ideas and or questions please leave a comment below.