Why Aren’t Bell Peppers Hot?

There is a lot of interesting stuff, here.

Bell peppers are the only cultivar of pepper to have a mutation that prevents them from producing capsaicin (the chemical that gives it the burn).

By the way, peppers were only given that name by mistake. Peppers, as the English (US, UK) know them, were mistakenly called that because Europe was going nuts over peppercorns and every spice that had heat was being called “pepper”. Peppers, as we know them, were only just being discovered and, when Christopher Columbus was taking a respite from slaughtering the Indians and returning to Europe with some, he mistakenly called them “peppers” and it was adopted that way into our hearts forever after.

Interesting fact #3: Apparently, people in the Midwest (of the US) refer to bell peppers as mangos. Why? Because “mango” means “to pickle” and, once again, the words got confused (only, this time, in colonial times).

[Almost] lastly, some of the vast nutritional differences between the different colors of pepper:

Capsicum peppers are rich sources of antioxidants and vitamin C. The level of carotene, like lycopene, is nine times higher in red peppers. Red peppers have twice the vitamin C content of green peppers.[13]

Red and green bell peppers are high in para-coumaric acid.

The characteristic aroma of green peppers is caused by 3-isoButyl-2-methoxypyrazine (IBMP). Its detection threshold in water is estimated to be 2 ng/L.[14] The same chemical is responsible for characteristic Cabernet Sauvignon green note.

I found that very interesting.

All of this because I was merely confirming, to myself, that it was Polish in which “paprika” meant pepper (it is actually Hungarian). I’m now wondering if curious people should be able to register for a license to take four-day weekends whenever they want. I think I’d have a fighting chance.

[Final] lastly, even just thinking about the kind of picture I wanted for this post, my mind went back to a picture of carrots I saw once. The darker the carrot, the better the benefits. Try to find a black/purple one.. They are the highest in nutrition (the maximum amount of beta carotene):

carrot-variety

[I think] lastly, the illusion of heat from the peppers that do produce capsaicin tricks the body so effectively that it basically, completely shuts down our ability to generate heat. In fact, it could send us into hypothermia if we are not already in a heated environment:

The way it works is interesting. Despite the real response, the feeling of heat is, of course, an illusion. Capsaicin binds to an ion channel expressed in warm-sensing nerve fibers that is involved in thermoregulation (known as transient receptor potential vanilloid channel 1, or TRPV1). This activates mechanisms driven by the hypothalamus that help the body cope with high temperatures including increased sweating and vasodilation at the skin, which results in a decrease in the body’s core temperature. In the absence of real heat, the body’s temperature can be pushed down to 32-34 degrees – which is considered hypothermia. Importantly, the pharmacologically induced hypothermia occurs without activating mammalian cold-defense mechanisms such as shivering and other thermogenetic responses – mechanisms which can cause complications when using hypothermia induced by ice-blankets or cold baths in clinical situations. Physicians often have to use sedatives to control the shivering which makes it harder to keep other core functions stable.

Whoa. Amazing. I go into ion channels here (this is talking about the Peripheral Nervous System, versus the Central Nervous System that I talk about, but they are all nerves/neurons).

Bell pepper

Paprika

Chili peppers an unlikely hero in alleviating the effects of stroke

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