February is American Heart Health month, which is why this week's Teaching Tuesday is dedicated to hot peppers and their heart health benefits! (Bell peppers will be next week!)
According to multiple studies, capsaicin and capsaicinoids (the substances that give peppers their heat) can improve heart health.
Researchers have found that the spicy substances can: reduce levels of bad cholesterol as well as total levels of cholesterol, reduce the formation of deadly blood clots by increasing the flow of blood to the heart and other organs, and clear cholesterol deposits in blood vessels.
But before you go loading your meals with capsaicin, researchers don't recommend eating an excessive amount of hot peppers or substituting them for any prescription medication. They are, however, a nice spicy supplement.
Most HH recipes stick to the basics like jalapeños, poblanos (in HHA), and serranos (occasionally featured on the weekly meal plans), but if you're feeling adventurous and can stand the heat, there are dozens of different hot peppers out there for you to try!
Not sure which pepper to buy? Here's a helpful infographic based on the Scoville scale. You'll find the hottest peppers at the top!
If you'd like more information about hot peppers, check out these links:
Which hot peppers are your favorite?