Also known as: Bell, Jalapeno, Serrano, Ghost, and so many moreLikes: Seeing the affect he has on youDislikes: Cold, it goes against his fiery natureHobbies: Brightening up the garden and your everyday dishesFind him: Spicing up dishes around the world, from Pad Thai to EnchiladasChili Pepper is one hot fruit!  He’s been around for thousands of years, adding flavor and spice to dishes.  With origins in South and Central America, he’s been key in the traditions of ancient cultures, as well as changed the face of food the world over as he made his way across the oceans to help create new culinary traditions.MORE FROM HEALTHY DINING FINDER: Punch Up Your Diet With PumpkinChili Pepper’s not just a fiery fruit; he brings a host of health benefits to your diet, too.  The compound that gives him his tear and sweat inducing burn, capsaicin, also happens to be a powerful antioxidant, showing promise at improving circulation, fighting inflammation, relieving pain and fighting certain kinds of cancer cells.  On top of that, Chili Pepper is a great way to get vitamins A and C.  For those who would rather steer clear of the spice and still get the some health benefits, opt for bell peppers.  Bell peppers are good sources of fiber, folate and vitamin K, on top of the vitamin A and C.  For the more adventurous diners, a little Serrano might be a good choice for an extra dose of capsaicin to really get you moving.While Chili Pepper is currently being studied for his effects on weight loss, research is still preliminary.  He’d rather you focus on his flavor enhancing abilities and the rush of endorphins he’s shown to induce… once the burn subsides.MORE FROM HEALTHY DINING FINDER: Indian Cusine: An Exotic Flavor with Healthy Side EffectsTo add a little Chili Pepper to your healthy diet:

  • Fold sliced bell peppers into your morning omelet
  • Scoop up chunky, spicy salsa with tortilla chips for a snack
  • Stuff larger, mild peppers like bell or Anaheim with ground turkey and a whole grain
  • Choose world cuisines like Thai, Indian and Mexican, known for using plenty of peppers

For more ideas try these menu choices from participating Healthy Dining restaurants:

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