On August 27, PuckerButt Pepper Company, a manufacturer and distributor of all natural chili pepper products and seeds, announced the debut of the world's hottest pepper: Smokin' Ed's Carolina Reaper. "We have raised the bar for heat intensity by surpassing the current world record holder, the Butch T. Trinidad Scorpion," said Ed Currie, founder of the PuckerButt Pepper Company. Analytic chemist Cliff Calloway, Ph.D., M.S., B.A. from Winthrop University tested the seed pods over a four-year testing period and concluded that the Smokin' Ed's Carolina Reaper pepper averaged 1.474 million on the Scoville Scale rating, 280 times hotter than a jalapeno.
Scoville heat index
The Scoville Scale measures heat intensity and the number of Scoville heat units (SHU) indicates the amounts of capsaicin present in each pepper. Pure capsaicin has a Scoville rating of 16 million. American pharmacist Wilber Scoville designed the test known as the Scoville Organoleptic Test in 1912 while working for Detroit-based pharmaceutical company Parke Davis. Originally based on human responses, today machines measure the amount of capsaicin contained in peppers.
Health benefits of hot peppers
Peppers have a plethora of health benefits and are well known for their supply of fiber, vitamins A, C, K and minerals molybdenum and manganese. They also contain a significant amount of lycopene (known to mitigate ovarian cancer) and lutein and zeaxanthin which have been heralded for their effects on eye disorders cataracts and macular degeneration. By far, though, the most significant component to peppers are capsaicin, the antioxidant responsible for heat index.
Capsaicin is colorless, flavorless, odorless, and a pepper's capsaicin level is directly proportional to its antioxidant level. In other words, the hotter a pepper is, the healthier it is. As people repeatedly eat a hot pepper, the pain receptors on the tongue are repeatedly stimulated. Consequently, that person becomes more desensitized to its painful effect. In fact, it is purported that the once painful stimulus becomes quite pleasurable because spicy peppers release endorphins, the "pleasure hormone." It is believed that the ancient Aztec and Mayan civilizations considered chili peppers an aphrodisiac.
Even though it has been praised for its health benefits for years, scientists have struggled to confirm capsaicin's individual health benefits. Researchers are attempting to decode the mystery behind the spicy component to peppers and to explain capsaicin's known efficacy in weight loss, appetite suppression and raising body temperature. Moreover, preliminary studies done on animals have suggested that capsaicin can kill lung, pancreatic, and prostate cancer cells. Other proposed benefits to capsaicin include:
- Anti-inflammatory effects
- Protective effects in the liver and lungs against tissue damage
- Analgesic properties, bringing relief to various neuropathies
• Reducing pain associated with osteoarthritis
As eating hot peppers can be challenging for the novice, see below for a tasty recipe for a sweet, HOT salsa that will prove to provide a healthy, spicy kick to your menu plan.
- 5-6 peaches
- 1lb cantaloupe
- 12 oz. mango
- 12 oz. strawberries
- 1 cup pineapple
- 2 limes (juiced) fresh
- 0.5 oz. fresh cilantro
- 2 tsp. honey granules or 2 tsp stevia
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 3 jalapenos *
- 3 banana peppers *
- 1 Habanero pepper *
Mix ingredient in blender and enjoy!
*Change desired hotness based on preference and always seed and core them.
Most Popular Slideshows
- Australia Bids Adieu to Adam Spencer's Mornings on ABC's "702 Breakfast" Show [PHOTOS]
- Top 10 Hottest Celebrities with Shocking Weight Loss (And Find Out Their Secrets!) [PHOTOS]
- SEE PHOTOS! Eva Longoria Wears No Panties at Cannes 2013, Revealed in Embarrassing Wardrobe Malfunction [SLIDESHOW]
- Demi Lovato Snapped Getting Flirty with The X-Factor Boss, Simon Cowell? [PHOTOS]