If you don’t like food that can burn — especially as far as capsicum and fiery chilies are concerned — this article probably isn’t for you. If, on the other hand, you like that sizzling tang and the atomic blistering that these members of nightshade family can stoke inside your mouth, you’ll discover a lot of great things about the wonderful, blazing chili here. Turns out these little packages of organic, chemical heat (fresh, pickled, or dried) can do incredible things for your overall health.

Promoting Weight Loss

Chilies cause heat. You know, that sweat-inducing hot feeling you get after wolfing some down. All that heat burns calories, so, if you eat more chilies, you can potentially lose more weight. It’s known as “diet-induced thermogenesis,” which basically means food spiced with hot chilies can help you turn calories into heat, not fat. Chilies can also help reduce a person’s overall appetite, so there’s that added benefit as well.

Helping Combat Intestinal Problems

If you think chilies intensify stomach problems, like ulcers, you’re dead wrong. That extra heat isn’t eroding your stomach lining away. In fact, many studies now show that the capsaicin found in hot peppers can reduce gastric acid, kill harmful stomach bacteria, and help strengthen the stomach lining and aid in digestion. Who knew? (Well, lots of folks did, apparently.)

Protect Against Strokes

Worried about a stroke? Well, the good news is if you adore chilies, you can rest a little easier (but still stay vigilant, of course, and eat right). Clinical analyses has demonstrated the fact that chilies can help remove clots from the blood, not to mention boost blood circulation and slow blood coagulation — all of which go a long way to avoiding a bothersome stroke.

Help Prevent the Spread of Prostate Cancer

Capsaicin, the ingredient that gives hot chilies their kick, doesn’t like prostate cancer cells very much. That’s good news for anyone owning one of these pesky organs (in their body, of course, not in jar). Capsaicin actually gets these harmful cells to murder themselves, which they should do, because they have a tendency to mess up people’s lives.

Chili Painkillers

Got a bit if pain from arthritis or a pounding headache? Well, our familiar friend capsaicin is a naturally-occurring pain remedy. It can be inhaled, injected, digested, or applied as a topical cream. The bad news is that at first touch, it might actually increase pain levels briefly, but after that, the body, believing it’s “too hot,” reduces levels of a chemical called substance P, which plays an important part in transmitting pain signals to the brain. Less substance P equals less pain.

Lower Chance of Heart Attack

If you want to keep your heart thumping along for as long as possible, adding some hot chilies to your diet might be a good idea. As we’ve already discussed, chilies are great for the blood. They also lower blood cholesterol, plus capsaicin helps keep arteries from contracting, which means blood can continue to flow to the heart. You know, that beating organ you can’t really do without.

Might Assist in Lowering Blood Sugar Levels

By adding chilies to your meals, the amount of insulin required to lower blood sugar levels afterward could be reduced significantly. While research is still ongoing, if results prove positive, this could be an incredible boon for people suffering from type 2 diabetes. Keep your fingers crossed, and maybe add a few extra chilies to your diet (if diabetes is something you worry about) just in case.

Charges Up the Body’s Immune System

For a turbocharged immune system, dig into some hot chili peppers. A little bit of chilies goes a long way in revving up your daily doses of vitamin A and vitamin C. These vitamins, in combination with all of the beta-carotene (which the body turns into vitamin A) you’ll be getting, plus the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities of capsaicin, means your immune system should be charged up and ready to go — if you’re a chili lover at heart, that is. So dig in and enjoy the burn — and the health benefits.