There’s plenty of documentation explaining the health benefits of eating chili peppers. One of the first things I remember hearing about the peppers I was eating was the high vitamin C levels they had. In fact, this information brought me to the realization that chili peppers are classified as fruit. I’ve always said I never met any fruit I didn’t like! This clearly sent me down a path of thinking differently about hot peppers and how they could be used in my diet. I’ve never been a fan of the word diet. It has become language that seeks to bind us to the negative connotation of weight loss, unnatural feats of discipline, and all too often, failure. There are many reasons for this but I’ll return to my topic. Eating peppers changed my mind about eating peppers.

Chili peppers offer so many positive benefits to your health including claims of;

  • Improving your eyesight (Vitamin A)
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Digestive health and metabolism
  • Antifungal
  • Help with headaches or migraines
  • May lower risks of cancer
  • May extend your life and help you age more safely
  • Lowers risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Good for skin and nails
  • May reduce symptoms of cold and flu
  • Promotes red blood cell growth
  • Increased cardiovascular health
  • Cognitive function

A lot of benefits any way you look at it, but I’d like to focus on the last one, cognitive function.

I am interested in consciousness expansion. What are the ways that we can open up our minds and worlds? How can we think “better” or be more creative? Where does happiness come from and negativity go to? I don’t know. But, these are big questions that I am no longer avoiding in my life. I’m attempting to bring some focus to them instead. I want to understand the stories I live by and to begin to grasp my personal narrative. So what do peppers have to do with cognitive function? They seem to get blood flow up and this sends more oxygen to the brain. More oxygen in the brain means that we perform better, both physically and mentally.

Some of my favorite storytelling comes in the form of animated series. I’m a huge fan of “The Legend of Korra,” and when I noticed one of the characters eat a chili pepper as a way to stimulate his creative process for generating ideas I was floored. What a great, and ultimately safe, way to experiment with changing your brain. I’ve also been learning through books and lectures about neuroplasticity and what it means to change your mind and I have come to see that this is exactly what chili peppers did and do for me. The third eye pepper in the logo is there because of these subtle changes in my brain.

So, next time you feel like experimenting with personal growth and understanding, consider munching down on a fresh chili pepper. You may just begin to see things a little differently.

Jeffrey McElfresh
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