Looking for a new cold remedy? Try heating things up!

Red chili peppersMy hubby and I had dinner with some friends recently at a local Thai restaurant.  A few minutes into our meal, I look over at Jim who is red as a beet with tears streaming down his face.  You guessed it; Jim had accidentally bitten into one of those smokin’ hot Thai peppers.  We quickly got him a glass of milk and after several minutes, he was able to resume eating (mind you, not even a hot pepper is going to stand between him and his food!)

Now I didn’t say anything in the heat of the moment (no pun intended), but later, I told Jim to look on the bright side because he had actually given himself a little immune boost.  Hot peppers have a compound, capsaicin, which gives them their kick.  Capsaicin makes a great cold remedy because it also acts as a decongestant and helps relieve a stuffy nose.  Couple of other benefits of capsaicin is that it ups fat burning and lowers blood pressure.

Now I’m not recommending that we all go throw down some hot peppers and set our mouths on fire in order to fight a cold.  Luckily, there are less painful ways such as adding peppers to your soups, chili, and stir-fries.  Hot sauces and powered or flaked chili peppers count as well.

And if you really can’t stand the heat, sweet red peppers are a great alternative.  They don’t have capsaicin, but they are loaded with Vitamin C.

So add a little heat to your diet this cold/flu season.  But please be careful (and keep a glass of milk handy!)

To your health!