Latin Powerfoods: Chile

You can use chiles as often as you wish in your dishes for flavor and for health. Chiles of all types, like chipotle and other hot chiles, are high in minerals and antioxidants, giving a healthy boost to your immune system.

Another interesting note about this powerfood is that although it is hot to taste, it actually has a cooling effect on your body. Blood rushes to the periphery of your body in response to the hot taste, and then the blood cools down before moving more to the center of your body, where your temperature is higher.

That is why Latinos in hot tropical countries instinctively eat hot and spicy foods.

Though many equate chiles with Mexico, they can be found in varied colors and shapes, as well as all different degrees of hotness, throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

There’s something called capsaicin in hot peppers that offers a whole host of benefits: it helps digestion, fights against stomach ills like diarrhea, bacterial infections, and even heart disease. In fact, it’s been associated with lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol, and even warding off strokes and heart attacks. And even beyond that, new research indicates that capsaicin actually reduced cancer cell growth in laboratory experiments.

Well, it’s not like I needed an excuse to have my food sparky, but now I’m giving you yours!

Dr. Manny Alvarez is a Cuban-American OB-GYN who serves as a senior medical contributor for the Fox News Channel and senior managing health editor of To read more from Dr. Manny, click here.