Green chilies, also known as Hari Mirch in Hindi, play a pivotal role in a wide variety of Indian dishes. Green chilies are used as paste or tempering in various curries and are also commonly used raw to spice up chaats, chutney, and other savoury appetisers. Although green chilies seem to have made their way into every Indian home, they actually originated in Southeast Asia.
What are green chillies?
The botanical name for green chilli peppers is Capsicum frutescens. Green chilies, known for their fiery flavour, are a staple ingredient in many Indian dishes.. Green chilies are spicy because of a compound called capsaicin. Capsaicin is responsible for several physiological effects, including those on the heart, the stomach, and pain alleviation, in addition to the hot and spicy flavour it imparts. One of the most popular spices in the world is green chilli. Although they are now widely cultivated in Africa, Asia, and the Mediterranean, green chilies have their roots in the Americas.
Origin of green chillies:
Green chilli peppers were brought to India 700 years ago, having originated in Mexico approximately 5,000 BC. Chilies not only offer heat to our curries but also flavour, colour, and nutritional value. The Mexicans used it as a seasoning and ingredient. During his voyage to the Americas from India, Christopher Columbus is often credited with introducing chile to the rest of the world.
Green chilies spread from there throughout Europe. When the Portuguese trader Vasco da Gama arrived in India, he reportedly brought green chilies to the southern shore. The subsequent development of green chilies in India has been remarkable.
Nutritional value of green chillies:
The green chilli pepper is a member of the nightshade family and the gene capsicum. Minerals such as iron (0.5mg), copper (0.1mg), and potassium (110mg) and vitamins C (109mg), B6 (0.1mg), and A (530 IU) are found in green chilli (153 mg). It's a nutrient-dense food since it contains amino acids.
Green chilies are low in fat and cholesterol and high in nutritional fibre.
Health benefits of green chillies:
- Improves weight loss and increases metabolic rate
Green chile is a zero-calorie spice, which is one of its obvious advantages for dieters. In addition, studies have shown that eating green chilies might increase your metabolism by over 50%.
Green chile has a powerful component called capsaicin, which causes this effect. Capsaicin boosts thermogenesis, which in turn speeds up the metabolic rate.
- Reduces the Risk of Diabetes
Green chili's high fibre and capsaicin content help diabetics control their blood sugar. But that calls for a daily intake of just 30 grammes of green chilies. It speeds up your metabolism, leading to more sugar being absorbed into your bloodstream.
- Anti-Aging Effects
According to studies, the vitamin C in green chilli helps the body make more collagen, which slows down the ageing process. Collagen also aids in making your skin look younger, more supple, and more radiant.
The vitamin E found in green chilies is important for keeping your skin looking young for longer.
Green chile also has antimicrobial qualities that work to reduce the appearance of scars and prevent acne.
- Rich source of iron:
The iron in green chilli helps those who are anaemic. Green chili's vitamin C content aids in iron absorption.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) has been shown to aid in the absorption and storage of non-heme iron in a form that makes the iron more readily available to the body.
- Helps to combat cold
Capsaicin, which is found in green chilies, can help alleviate a cold, as unbelievable as that may sound. It works by stimulating the mucous membranes in the nose, making it easier to breathe. That's a quick fix for clearing up a cold or sinus infection.
- Good for heart
The likelihood of atherosclerosis is decreased by consuming green chile, which is beneficial for the heart. Capsaicin's effect is a reduction in cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. Blood clots are a leading cause of cardiovascular disease and stroke, but eating green chilli can help avoid them.
- Strengthens immunity
Having a robust immune system is crucial in the post-COVID environment, where diseases are more common. The beta-carotenes and vitamin C in green chilies have positive effects on eye and skin health.
- Reduces Inflammation
Green chili's pain-relieving benefits come from its anti-inflammatory characteristics. Hence, green chilli might lessen your pain tolerance, which is especially problematic for elderly people with conditions like osteoporosis and arthritis.
- Lowers oxidative stress
The capsaicin in green chilli is an antioxidant that helps neutralise oxygen radicals. Consequently, oxidative stress is decreased and harm to healthy cells is avoided.
How to use green chillies?
Green chilies can be used in a variety of contexts, including but not limited to the following:
Green chillies are a common ingredient in Indian households due to their hot and spicy flavour and their ability to enhance the flavour of foods like salads and soups.
Pickles made with green chilies are another option.
Precautions to take with green chillies:
These are some standard safety measures to follow before, during, and after working with green chilies.
Keep green chilies out of the reach of children, as they may try to eat them whole. The mouth and tongue may also become painfully hot.
Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use any plant medicinally without first consulting with their doctors.
Green chilies can have serious harmful effects, thus the elderly should use them sparingly.
The Daily Recommended Amount of Green Chilies:
Green chillies, of which you can take 12-15g daily, are safe. Avoid green chiles in their uncooked form. To preserve your digestive tract, eat them while they're pickled, in salads, in dips, etc. Because too much chilli can lead to stomach acidity and other digestive issues.