Jalapenos and Health

  • Low fat diet?
  • Low carb diet?
  • Low sodium diet?
  • Low cholesterol diet?

Happy Hal’s Jalapeno Relish is the miracle food for any diet!

With only two ingredients – both of which can be pronounced – there’s nothing hidden!

And just a little bit packs a powerful punch.

Happy Hal’s Jalapeno Relish is chock full of capsaicin!

Capsaicin is the active ingredient in jalapeno peppers. It is what gives them the “hot” sensation. It is also a very important chemical, more and more studies come out every year showing the amazing health benefits it provides.

A Jalapeno A Day Will Keep The Cancer Away

A team of scientists from England just announced the results of an exciting new study, where they discovered that extracts from spicy jalapeno and chili peppers can kill the lifeblood of cancer cells, called mitochondria. The researchers from Nottingham University, injected capsaicin, an ingredient found in spicy peppers, into cancer cells grown in the laboratory with amazing results. The capsaicin attacked the mitochondria, killing off the cancer cells without damaging healthy cells.

The capsaicin was tested on cultures of human lung cancer cells and pancreatic cancers and in both instances; the capsaicin caused cancer cell death.

Lead researcher Dr Timothy Bates, believes his team may have discovered the “Achilles heel” of cancer cells, theorizing the mitochondria may posses vulnerabilities that don’t exists in other parts of the deadly cells. This discovery raises implications for further studies, focusing on the mitochondria to develop additional methods to kill off the vulnerable center of cancer cells.

The researchers theorize that capsaicin, belonging to a class of molecules called, vanilloids, bind to proteins in the mitochondria, triggering apoptosis, or cell death. With capsaicin and other vanilloids, already safely existing in the foods we eat; researchers hope that any new drug containing capsaicin will easily sail through the approval process.

Creams containing capsaicin are already marketed for arthritis pain and as psoriasis treatments, suggesting a capsaicin ointment could be soon developed to treat skin cancers.

Meanwhile, researchers caution patients that this study, although extremely promising, has only been tested under a microscope in a laboratory and not on human subjects. Further studies are needed in human clinical trials to see how capsaicin works in the body. Researchers don’t recommend that cancer patients start binging on spicy jalapeno peppers.

However, Dr. Bates is excited about the results of his research, believing the development of anti-mitochondrial drugs for cancer chemotherapy, using capsaicin could one day be “extremely significant” in the fight against cancer.

The Cancer society recommends eating a balanced diet to reduce the risk of cancer, which should include plenty of fruits and vegetables.

The full study is available in the Journal of Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications.

Capsaicin as Fat Burner

Capsaicin is an active ingredient in many of the most popular “fat burning” supplements on the market. A thermogenic agent, capsaicin helps to increase overall metabolic activity, thus helping the body burn calories and fat. Since the FDA banned the herb ephedra, supplement manufacturers have been searching for new thermogenic ingredients and many have added chilies to the mix. While capsaicin replaces some of ephedra’s metabolic effects, it doesn’t have that herb’s negative, stimulant effects on heart rate. In fact, capsaicin is an actively “heart healthy” supplement.

Capsaicin anti-inflammatory

In recent years, researchers discovered that capsaicin is a potent anti-inflammatory, and have even pinpointed how it works to fight chronic, sub-clinical inflammation. The nuclei of human cells contain chemicals called nuclear transcription factors (NTFs), two of which—activator protein 1 (AP-1) and NF-kappa B—are especially important targets when it comes to prevention of cancer and premature aging of skin. Each of these NTFs can be “activated” by ultraviolet light and free radicals: a result that produces a pro-inflammatory chain reaction that promotes premature aging and a wide variety of degenerative diseases. As it turns out, nature offers several effective NTF-activation blockers, including the capsaicin in chilies, and the yellow pigment curcumin in turmeric.

Capsaicin versus cancer

Several recent studies have shown that capsaicin may actually prevent the growth of certain types of cancer. In particular, there have been several clinical studies conducted in Japan and China that showed natural capsaicin directly inhibits the growth of leukemic cells. Although these studies used pure capsaicin directly injected into isolated diseased cells in a laboratory setting, scientists have also concluded that daily consumption of hot peppers (thus capsaicin) may actually prevent certain types of cancer. Throughout South America, intestinal, stomach, and colon cancer rates are very low compared to the United States. It is widely regarded by medical experts that this low cancer rate may be tied to the large amounts of capsaicin in their diets, since nearly every main dish in their normal diet contains some form of capsaicin-based food, particularly hot cayenne and jalapeño peppers. Of course we must also take into consideration the fact these cultures also consume fiber-rich beans on a daily basis.

Arthritis relief

People suffering from arthritis pain typically have elevated levels of Substance P in their blood and in the synovial fluid that bathes their joints. Research has shown that eating foods that contain capsaicin or applying a topical cream that contains capsaicin can suppress Substance P production.

Capsaiscin sinus soother

Capsaicin also possesses powerful antibacterial properties, and is very effective in fighting and preventing chronic sinus infections (sinusitis). This purely natural chemical will also clear out congested nasal passages like nothing else, and is helpful in treating sinus-related allergy symptoms. Small daily doses of capsaicin have even been shown to prevent chronic nasal congestion.

Gastric relief

A recent study on gastric disorders at Duke University showed capsaicin may actually lead to a cure for certain intestinal diseases. The Duke team found that a specific nerve cell receptor appears to be necessary to initiate the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a general term given to a variety of chronic disorders in which the intestine becomes inflamed—resulting in recurring abdominal cramps, pain and diarrhea. The cause of IBD is unknown, and it is believed that up to 2 million Americans suffer from this disorder.

Headache help

Substance P is the key transmitter of pain to the brain. In fact, Substance P is the body’s main mechanism for producing swelling and pain throughout the trigeminal nerve, which runs through the head, temple, and sinus cavity. When the nerve fibers come in contact with Substance P, they react by swelling—an effect that yields headaches and sinus symptoms. Clinical studies have shown that capsaicin, a compound in hot peppers, is extremely effective for relieving and preventing cluster headaches, migraine headaches, and sinus headaches.