Scientists from the University of Vermont conducted a research which showed that addiction to hot red chili peppers can lead to longevity. It is hard to say whether this is completely true, but if we accept that it is, then big part of the people in India must have a very long life because spicy food is well respected there. On a bigger scale, 25% of the planet’s population like hot food, and 5% are literally addicted to it. Addicted to such extent that they cannot live without it, and its consumption brings them ultimate delight. For these people the Indian visa would be priceless because the country is among the leaders based on spicy meals consumption in the world, along with Mexico, China, Nigeria and Ethiopia.
People in India believe that chili peppers protect from evel and bad luck. They repel the Goddess of poverty – Alakshmi and the Goddess of inauspicious things and misforture – Jyestha. The peppers’ red color is associated with successful ventures, power, bravery, dignity, spiritual purity, good health, love and good luck, while the green color of the green hot peppers symbolizes birth, growth, fertility and life. That is why, if you are traveling to India you will see that in front of the doors at shops, offices, homes, in front of stalls and administrative buildings, there is often a pendant, made of seven hot peppers and a lemon, whose goal is to repel the evil forces, misfortunes and to protect from evil eyes.
Actually the hot peppers reached India quite late. It is believed that they were brought by Vasco da Gama at the end of 15th century, which is more than 8000 years after their birth in today’s land of Mexico. The hot taste however, spread extremely quickly among Indians, who soon began to widely cultivate it. Something more – they discovered that the hot peppers have healing properties and started to use them in medicine to cure digestion problems. Through stimulation of endorphins in the blood, thanks to the hot, people were coping better with the pain.
Anyways, Indians are so keen on the hot chili taste, that some of the local varieties of peppers are at the top of the world ranking for hot food. Bhut Jolokia, also known as Ghost Pepper, was ranked on first place a dozen years ago, with an average pungency of 900 000 SHU (Scoville Heat Units). This kind was cultivated in the Eastern Indian states – Assam, Nagaland and Manipur, and today you can rarely meet a hot food addict that has never heard of it. Now Bhut Jolokia is ranked 4th in the world ranking of the hottest peppers after Infinity, Trinidad Moruga Scorpion and the absolute leader Carolina Reaper. It may soon go down to 5th place, since a year ago a farmer from Wales created a pepper with a pungency of 2 480 000 SHU. He called it Dragon’s Breath chili and now it will probably be enlisted in the Guinness World Records, outrunning the Carolina Reaper. This however, might motivate additionally the Indians, who are among the best masters of hot food on Earth. The Indian kind is already spread everywhere, but there is no other place in the world, where you could enjoy it as good as in its native land, as long as you take a trip to India.
By the way, the farmers in this Asian country grow chili peppers even for the needs of the … army. Yes, this is neither a joke, nor a mistake. It is much easier to grow peppers, than tea for example. And in the last years they bring excellent income to the Indian farmers, because they are being purchased by the Ministry of Defence. The military use them to make grenades to subdue riots or unrest. After all, a hot pepper with 1 million Scoville heat units could easily disarm people causing problems, and on the other hand people wouldn’t really be harmed, as if using an explosive for example. The same type of chili peppers is used also as food supplement for the soldiers who are sent to very cold places, in order to increase their body temperature. Every person who has tasted a chili pepper knows the way it warms up, and now you can imagine this hot taste multiplied by 100, by 1000 or even by 10 000. Yes, Indians have been very creative in the use of hot chili peppers, we have to admit that.
Nowadays it is almost impossible to think about an Indian restaurant and not to relare to the hot cuisine. By the way, the greatest treasure of the Indian kitchen are the spices, but the hot is also worth it. The Phall meal for example is a challenge even for the bravest fans of the flaming taste. It is hard to describe it in words, it should just be tasted. And you will be happy! Now you are probably wondering how are we so sure about that. Here is the answer – it is proven that aside from all else, the hot taste improves the mood. The peppers increase the levels of endorphins and serotonin – the hormones that help us feel good. Some scientists believe that if we consume more hot food we could fight even some light forms of depression. That is why you should just organize a trip to India, eat some hot food and be happy!