Mild Chilies Still Pack a Punch

Even if you can't handle the heat of hot chili peppers, you may still be able to get some benefits from their milder, non-spicy chili cousins.

In his April 29 radio program , Dr. Cherry talked about a number of spices that have provide health benefits as well. Here's another: chili peppers, while actually a food, are often used as spice to add "heat" and flavor to dishes. The key ingredient in chili peppers, capsaicin, is believed to to increase calorie-burning and potentially supress appetite.

But people who enjoy the milder chilies may benefit from the metabolism boost without the tongue-burning. A recent study indicates that dihydrocapsiate (DCT), a chemical found in a strain of mild peppers and a weaker cousin of capsaicin, may also aid in weight loss.

The research, conducted at UCLA, found that energy expenditure was significantly higher (nearly double that of the placebo group) for at least several hours after the meal in the group that consumed a serving of DCT with its meal. Because it was a limited study, the results are promising but still need further research to back up the results.

In the meantime, adding some mild peppers to your diet can't hurt – they may boost more than the flavor. Of course, capsaicin itself can also be taken as an extract (such as in the Weight Management Program , so its benefits are available to you at any time – with or without the heat of a chili pepper!