By Katherine Hoey
During the month of February, our campus nutritionist, Laura Martorano, sampled Potatoes and Poblano peppers.
Chillies spice up many dishes and give your body a boost of vitamins and minerals. While spice levels vary per pepper, each aids the body in antioxidants, which protect our cells from free radicals. Learn more about free radicals in our last blog post.
The spice level in each pepper is determined by the amount of capsaicin within it, which is the antioxidant chemical in the food group. Capsaicin can also break up mucus in the lungs, strengthen lung tissue, prevent or treat emphysema. That being said, you should consult your doctor if you are feeling sick and not use holistic alternatives as a form of treatment for any ailments.
The higher the spice, or capsaicin content, the better it is in helping our health.
So what else are chillies good for?
- It is thought that peppers can also boost our metabolism, which can repair cells throughout the body as well as aid in weight loss.
- High in vitamins and minerals like potassium, vitamin K, A and C.
- Alleviate migraines by desensitizing the nerve and neurotransmitter responsible for migraine pain.
- Spicy peppers make the brain release pain-reducing endorphins which can relieve joint pain.
- Lower the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Types of chillies (from mild to hot as heck):
- Thai Chillies
- Komodo Dragon
- Carolina Reaper
Some of my go-to entrees with chillies:
Each of these dishes can take you less than 45 minutes to prepare and cook.
Stuffed peppers: My personal favorite is queso stuffed serrano or bell peppers with refried beans, cheddar cheese, a little cumin, paprika, and tomato salsa. Amp it up by adding some tabasco hot sauce.
Chilis: Made in lots of different ways around the world, chilli is a staple food in my house. Ground beef or turkey can be used but there are lots of vegan alternatives like chickpea chili and tofu chili. It is a mix of chili powder, cumin, sugar, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, beanas, garlic, salt and black pepper. And of course, you can kick up the heat with some cayenne peppers.
On fish: My go to meal which is so simple to make is a white fish, like tilapia or cod, with salt, black pepper, garlic, parsley, lemon and jalapenos. This pairs nicely with rice or quinoa and a side of veggies. Tip: wrap the fish up in tin foil and put it in the oven to keep the fish juicy and fresh.
Garlic and herb sauteed bell peppers: Pretty self explanatory but coat a pan in olive oil, brown the garlic slightly, then sautee the bell peppers while adding in parsley and basil. I love this on top of some home made garlic bread but it also can go nicely on a meat and cheese platter or on a sandwich.
Chicken and pepper stir fry: Looking to make something fast? This one pot dish can take less than 20 minutes to make. You can substitute chicken for beef, tofu, tempeh, or skip it and just use veggies! First pan fry your choice of protein on medium heat with an oil of your choice. (Sesame oil tastes amazing, but you can practically use anything) Then, you add in the veggies: I love to keep it simple with garlic, ginger, zucchini, carrots, bell peppers, and broccoli. Then you add in a pre-cooked grain like rice, noodles or quinoa and a little water so it doesn’t dry up. Next, top it with a sauce like Teriyaki, Thai peanut or soy sauce, and you’re good to go!
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