In a report from the Journal of Clinical Investigations, researchers found one of the best natural pain blockers in peppers. Not so much the colored bell variety, but the knock-you-on-the-seat-of-your-pants kind.
Science is showing peppers can even help with chronic pain due to a naturally occurring chemical called capsaicin. This chemical also found in prescription creams, ointments, and prescription medications, naturally block pain signals in the body.
Though peppers are considered a part of the nightshade family, they are viewed as a fruit due to their seeded nature. They are high in Vitamin C as well as beta-carotene, which the body converts into Vitamin A. Both are antioxidants to help reduce – and prevent – inflammation. But if you suffer from nightshade sensitivity, stay away from all nightshades (including peppers).
There are a number of ways you can enjoy these tasty foods. Whether they’re in your favorite salsa, poured on your favorite food as hot sauce, combined with chocolate, or any other means your imagination comes up with, people love peppers.
If you’re curious as to the hottest pepper on record, I suggest you have 911 on speed dial before trying one. The heat from peppers is measured in what’s known as Scoville heat units. This measures the amount of capsaicin housed in that harmless looking colored fruit.
The nastiest pepper known is the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion. It surpasses 1.2 million units on the Scoville scale. The more popular serrano pepper hits around 25,000 units. The jalapeño pepper – 5,000 units.
Below I listed a great recipe to add to your arsenal of dishes. Keep in mind you may want to keep a towel close by. These can make you sweat.
Like anything, enjoy in moderation.
- 6 medium-size jalapeño peppers
- 1 pound of pork sausage (my favorite because of the spices, but you can use any type of ground meat)
- 6 ounces of cream cheese (Kraft Philadelphia is a household favorite).
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. As your oven warms, put on a pair of rubber gloves (powder free) and begin to cut the tops off the peppers. From there, slice each pepper down the middle. Remove and discard the seeds from the center in a disposable plastic bag. Place the sliced peppers on a baking sheet face up.
If you like to be as efficient as possible, cook the sausage in a large skillet with just a touch of oil while slicing the peppers in half. Once the sausage is completely cooked, make sure all the extra liquid (oil and grease) is drained from the sausage.
Then, add the cream cheese and stir together over medium heat. The key here is to get the cream cheese melted and cover all the sausage.
Once the cheese and sausage are melted together, with a small spoon, fill the pepper halves with as much cheese and sausage as you can. Chances are you will have some leftovers. Go ahead and store them in the fridge. They make great additions to your morning eggs.
Switch your oven to broil and let them boil for about 8 minutes. Once the tops are lightly brown, let them cool and enjoy. If any poppers are left, refrigerate and heat at a later time. But don’t be afraid, they are just as spicy as leftovers as they were fresh from the oven.
**Note** You can substitute the jalapeños for any type pepper your taste buds can handle. Keep in mind, even the jalapeño will leave you dealing with a runny nose during preparation. The hotter the pepper (the higher the Caspian) the more challenging they are to work with.