The famous Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo – recognized in both the U.S. and Mexico – is just around the corner, and we’re looking to spice things up with a dose of capsaicin – the compound that gives hot peppers their kick. We also included a round-up of some seriously spicy recipes to cover all of your Cinco de Mayo celebration needs: Appetizers, entres and dessert, we’ve got you covered.
Starting with what exactly capsaicin is (pronounced CAP-SAY-UH-SIN), it’s a chemical compound found in spicy peppers like jalapeño, cayenne, habanero and tabasco. It’s what gives the peppers their spicy kick that’s commonly found in traditional Mexican meals.
Capsaicin is primarily found in the seeds of peppers, which is why they’re often removed before being added to a dish. Without the seeds, jalapeños actually have a fairly mild taste and low level of spice. But in addition to its heat properties, capsaicin also offers an abundance of health benefits.
Health Benefits: Just a few of capsaicin’s healing benefits include headache relief, sinus soothing, arthritis relief, and inflammatory reduction. If you can believe it, studies have shown capsaicin to be extremely effective in relieving and preventing headaches, sinus headaches and even migraines. It’s also been shown to provide arthritis relief when applied as a topical cream. And when it comes to a plugged up nose, capsaicin possesses powerful antibacterial properties that are very effective in fighting and preventing chronic sinus infections, as well as clearing out congested nasal passages.
Scientists also believe that capsaicin may lead to a cure for certain intestinal diseases with its ability to reduce inflammation. Capsaicin has also been found to contain antioxidants which destroy free radicals in the body. In other words, this little compound packs one seriously healthy punch!
Recipes: One of the best parts about spicy recipes – besides their delicious taste – is that they clear your sinuses, and can often cause you to eat less. It’s also been said that capsaicin has the ability to scorch fat and boost metabolism – and while there’s some truth to that, it’s likely only with minimal results. But with all of the other benefits, there’s plenty of reason to start incorporating more capsaicin it into your daily diet.
Use these recipes to put a kick in your Cinco de Mayo celebrations, and beyond – spicy style. Ole!
May 2nd, 2012