We just love chillies! They are beautiful to look at, and of course they offer endless variety when added to food. But they're not just pretty and tasty - chillies are full of interesting surprises!
10 Interesting Chilli Facts:
It's all in the mind!
The 'burn' we experience from eating chillies is all in the mind! Capsaicin (found in chillies) tricks the brain into perceiving heat by binding to and activating the body's heat-receptor proteins.
Birds don't feel the burn:
Birds' receptor cells are largely insensitive to capsaicin, which makes them immune to the 'burn' sensation associated with eating chillies. Of course this is good news for chillies too, as birds help with spreading the chilli seeds.
Chillies can make you feel euphoric:
When chillies are hot enough, they trigger an endorphin rush. Endorphins are the body's built-in pain killer - they help our brain to reduce our perception of pain, and sometimes cause feelings of euphoria.
SHU it's hot!
The (perceived!) heat of chillies is measured in Scoville heat units (SHU). The Scoville scale (originally called the "Scoville Organoleptic Test") was devised by pharmacist Wilbur Lincoln Scoville.
World's hottest chilli:
The hottest chilli in the world is the "Carolina Reaper".
Capsaicin therapeutic properties:
Capsaicin applied externally has analgesic properties, and can relieve arthritis and other aches and pains.
More vitamin C than an orange:
Chillies are rich in vitamin C - in fact 100g of fresh green chilli contains around 242 mg of Vitamin C, compared to only about 53 mg per 100g of orange!
Chillies are good for you:
Chillies are also a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin A, Iron, Copper and Potassium.
Chillies and elephants:
What on earth do chillies have to do with elephants? Quite a lot, as it turns out! Elephants can't stand the smell of chillies. In parts of Africa, farmers use chillies to deter elephants from raiding their crops.
According to legend, Japanese samurai ritually ate chilli peppers before going into battle to make them feel invincible.
Of course (unless you're an elephant) chillies taste really good!
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