chilli pepper

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Chillies come in many shapes, colours, sizes and strengths, but one thing they have in common is the burning sensation they cause in your mouth, eyes and any other part of your body into which their juices come into contact.

Facts about chilli pepper!

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…these are the top 12 hottest peppers!

  • Chilli pepper was named the world’s hottest chilli pepper by the Guinness World Recordsin 2013
  • It was created by Ed Currie from the Pucker Butt Pepper Company in South Carolina over ten years
  • He started growing chillies after learning that capsaicin found in chillies had potential as a cancer-fighting drug and he donates half of his harvest to cancer research
  • The Carolina Reaper delivers an average of 1,569,300 Scoville Heat Units (SHU)
  • As a comparison jalapeno peppers score between 2,500 to 8,000 SHU
  • Chillies are rated on a spiciness scale known as Scoville – a grading of heat that goes from the lowly bell pepper (0) right up to the fearsomely named Carolina Reaper (2.2 million).
  • Chillies like every other spicy food are unlikely to do any harm to the body.
  • In 2014, two journalists from The Argus, a newspaper in the British city of Brighton, went to test out burgers at a local restaurant rated highly on TripAdvisor. They each took a bite of the XXX Hot Chilli Burger, a specialty of the house made with hot sauce touted by the owner to score higher on the Scoville.
  • Capsaicin, the spicy molecule in hot peppers, is activates  receptors in pain neurons in the mouths
  • Chillies do not really cause any damage but to kill the spicy effect you can swallow plenty of liquid milk to reduce the spicy effect.
  • Looking at the basic biology of capsaicin, reports say this molecule may have evolved as an anti-fungal agent for plants.
  • Certain neurons are responsible for the perception of pain and these particular neurons send a message of heat to the brain, whether the cells are activated by an actual burn or by a hot pepper.
  • Although most people think that the hottest part of a chilli is its seeds, in fact it is the white spongy layer inside, called the placenta that tends to be the hottest part.
  • The burning sensation in the placenta is mainly caused by a chemical called capsaicin, which is found in tiny glands in the chilli’s placenta.
  • When you eat a chilli, the capsaicin is released into your saliva and then binds on to TRPV1 receptors in your mouth and tongue.
  • The receptors are actually there to detect the sensation of scalding heat.
  •  Capsaicin makes your mouth feel as if it is on fire because the capsaicin molecule happens to fit the receptors perfectly.
  • Reports  say the reason why wild chilli plants first started to produce capsaicin was to try and protect themselves from being eaten by mammals.
  • From an evolutionary perspective the plant would much rather have its seeds dispersed far and wide by birds and oddly enough, birds, unlike mammals, don’t have TRPV1 receptors, so they do not experience any burn.

(Credit: iStock)

 

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