Get the Chile Habit

Have you been missing out? Do you know what the most captivating and healthy fruit is? It can make you lose weight-get a high equal to a runner’s high or even sex? It makes nearly every organ in your body healthier and prevents the wear and tear from stress. Further, they were discovered by the Ancients who knows how long ago.

The answer is chiles. Chiles are actually a fruit and often misunderstood. Many never get to experience the healthful benefits of frequent consumption because they are afraid of the spiciness or worse yet, they believe old wives tales about chiles being hard to digest or causing ulcers. All untrue of course. Chiles actually cauterize ulcers.

Each one of us is an individual with an individual palate. What is stimulating to one person may just barely be spicey to another. Since chiles are addictive, the more you eat them, the more you will want to eat them, and the hotter you will desire them to be. Those of us who have been “exposed” to chiles early in life, are constantly on a quest for a daily chile fix. Those who have not had the opportunity to eat chiles have much less tolerance for capsaicin. However, it is never too late to start a daily habit of chile eating and develop one’s own “chile drive.”

The addictive quality of chiles is perhaps not too surprising when you learn that chiles belong to the same family of nightshades as does nicotania, the leaf that tobacco comes from. However, there is some question.

However, true addiction may not be assigned to chiles. Instead, they create an intense craving-a very fine line from addiction. Paul Rozin, Ph.D., a behavorial psychologist of high esteem has done extensive research on the aspects of chiles. What makes people crave them? Why do they eat them when they produce pain? According to Rozin, they are not truly addictive because they do not create an out of control experience with withdrawal symptoms.

The fact that people wish hotter and hotter chiles is explained by Rozin as being a result of tolerance. We adjust to higher heat levels, but we don’t need increasing amounts of chiles to feel normal. As opposed to smokers, who can become ill after smoking a cigarette after a long absence of smoking-chile consumers do not experience illness. The preference for chile continues, despite not having chiles for weeks or months.

A study at Duke University Medical Center revealed that in smaller doses, capsaicin and nicotine create some of the same physiological responses which include irritation, secretion, sneezing, vasodilation, coughing and peptide release. In larger does, when injected, capsaicin destroys many of the neurons containing its receptors-while nicotine actually increases the number of nicotine acetylcholine receptors. The result is that large doses of capsaicin result in the body becoming less responsive to capsaicin, but that large doses of nicotine cause the body to become more responsive to nicotine.

Though chile eating may not be addictive, it is definitely habit forming. They add flavor to otherwise bland ingredients in diets such as the Mexican and Indian. Also, through social pressure, young people develop the taste for chiles, just like for cigarettes, alcohol and coffee-all of which have an acquired taste. Through peer pressure, a subtle reward is felt for doing what the adults do-eat chile. This coupled with parental encouragement gets youth started eating chiles.

This is quite interesting! Because, the hotter the chiles one eats, the healthier they are for one. The hotter the chile, the greater the capsaicin level. The more capsaicin one gets, the more healthful properties one gets. Capsaicin is the endorphin level raiser and the substance that gives such great well-being and health to most major organs, internally and externally. Capsaicin reduces plaque in the vascular system, slows blood pressure, increases the pulse, assists gut action, and destroys cancer producing free radicals and more.

Chiles can be too hot for a person, especially the uninitiated. It is always best to start milder and build up to enjoying the hotter chiles. A very good idea is to make a dish with the spiciness one feels good about and then serve a condiment chile such as pequin or other hot chile for those who wish it hotter to just sprinkle it on their food.

Eating too hot chiles or even handling or preparing too hot chiles is best requited by time. However, most do not want to wait that long for the pain to subside. In that case, for internal pain from eating too hot chiles, the best is to eat something sweet or dairy-particularly dairy fat, such as butter, sour cream, cheese or ice cream. Acidic foods such as limes, lemons or vinegar blunt an overheated palate. So do fatty or oily foods, such as deep fried tostados or chips are also good.

When preparing hot chiles, the best cure is prevention. Handle the capsaicin bearing parts the least, by holding the chiles by the stem, not touching the inside of the chile. If you are terribly concerned about getting “burned”, then wear rubber gloves. If you get too hot chiles on your fingers or other parts of your body, one of the best cures is to rub fresh lime juice on it. Some treat chile “burns” like any physical burn and apply burn ointment.