Did you know, (and if you’ve ever been over to the Royal Society of Chemistry’s website, you probably do), that
capsaicinoids are the chemicals which give rise to the heat of chillies. They are present in almost every pepper.
the capsaicinoids in chilli bind to a receptor in the lining of the mouth. This is the same receptor that registers pain from heat, thus the effect is a burning feeling. This is a result of the flow of calcium ions from one cell to the next.
Now, if you think that’s interesting then you’ll be amazed to know that
Capsaicin cream is used to lower the sensation of pain in such conditions as arthritis, and other painful chronic conditions
chillies are high in vitamin C (about twice that of citrus fruits), dried chillies are very high in vitamin A, and red chillies are a great source of b-carotene. Chillies have antibacterial qualities, and contain bioflavinoids, anti-oxidants most common in apple juice.
If you’re getting the impression that I’m impressed by chillies, then you’re right. But my interest is as nothing when compared to Matthew Bellringer’s, a Chemistry student at Bristol University and the author of The Chemistry of Chilli Peppers website.
Yes, South America gave us the tomato, the potato aswell as the chilli and we gave them the IMF … bargain! (Which kinda begs the question – what were curries like before Columbus??)