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Hot red peppers or Fresno

A while back I was asked to help judge a Chili eating contest. This was timed to coincide with the annual chilli festival. Chillies trace their origins back 7500 years.

Previously regarded as the domain of eccentrics Mexicans and Thais it is only recently   that many westerners have developed a taste for them. In the UK in particular Chillies are really big.

There are many health benefits to having chilies in your cooking and diet They are rich in potassium calcium iron Vitamin A Vitamin C and B Vitamins particularly B6

As vitamin C helps the body absorb iron, having some chili with your meat will boost the iron absorption

Chilies will initially cause a release of adrenalin in the body This why you tend to sweat and your pulse quickens After this the body releases endorphins which are the bodies happy hormones giving you a “natural” high . This high is similar to the feeling athletes get after crossing the finish line- a real buzz.

Whilst some people find them disagreeable there is no evidence at all that chilies increase the rate of stomach complaints A study which looked at the stomach lining after certain things were ingested showed that an aspirin affected the stomach lining far more than chilli

The other great thing is that chilies are brightly coloured. Foods with bright colours (as a against beige food in bright coloured boxes) are good for you as. They are generally rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Plus they never have refined carbohydrates or added sugar!

Furthermore cooking with chili means you are preparing fresh food, which is always better than something from a packet with a use by date of sometime in the next year or two.

Click this link to see a great chili recipe