Peppers pack powerful health punch

Published 9:21am Friday, May 31, 2013

Capsaicin has been shown to reduce blood cholesterol and triglycerides, help boost immunity, and yes, believe it or not, reduce risk of stomach ulcers. It was once believed hot pepper caused or at least aggravated this condition, but capsaicin actually kills bacteria in the stomach that can cause ulcers. Hot peppers are great for weight loss too, because they increase the body’s heat production and oxygen consumption, thereby burning more calories.

Capsaicin found in hot peppers also helps the body’s release of endorphins, which act as neurotransmitters produced by the pituitary gland in the brain. Endorphins are similar to morphine and help reduce pain, depression and help the body heal from sickness or injury.

Unlike morphine, though, endorphins don’t lead to addiction or dependence. In addition, peppers contain vitamin B6, which is vital for essential chemical reactions in our bodies, compounds lutein and zeaxanthin, which slow the development of eye disease, and beta-carotene, which helps fight cancers. So, whether you enjoy sweet or spicy, give peppers a try and reap the healthful benefits. By the way, for those of you who grow peppers, I learned an interesting fact from a client who is a master gardener. Hot peppers only become hot once the weather gets hot.

Diet or Exercise question? Email me at or visit David Crocker of Landrum has been a nutritionist and master personal trainer for 26 years. He served as strength director of the Spartanburg Y.M.C.A., head strength coach for the USC-Spartanburg baseball team, S.C state champion girls gymnastic team, and the Converse college equestrian team.

He has been a water safety consultant to the United States Marine Corps., lead trainer to L.H. Fields modeling agency, and taught four semesters at USC-Union. Crocker was also a regular guest of the Pam Stone radio show. 

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