My goal here is not to recommend eating this fruit or debating if the hot varietes are good for our health, even in their raw form. But it's just that I have observed a very interesting thing and I wanted to share it with you.
I ate a couple of days ago, a hot variety called Hatch Chile (grown in Hatch, New Mexico) as they are in season now. I just chopped them with all the seeds and put them on top of my salad (they were really hot, hotter than Jalapenos - makes you feel alive!). I did it on purpose as I was curious of something I had remembered experiencing and as I did not eat a hot chile in a very long time.
Just to tell you that many years ago, I used to grow them myself. They always fascinated me and I could not find my favorite varieties fresh in the local markets. I was growing some of the hottest varieties on the planet and we were having "fun" by eating them raw - doing some contest with my sister especially and some friends, to know who could eat and tolerate them the most ;)
In case you don't know, they are "hot" because of a chemical called capsaicin.
Here is a bried description of capsaicin from wikipedia:
Capsaicin in capsicum
For more details on this topic, see Capsaicin.
The fruit of most species of Capsicum contains capsaicin (methyl vanillyl nonenamide), a lipophilic chemical that can produce a strong burning sensation in the mouth of the unaccustomed eater. Most mammals find this unpleasant, whereas birds are unaffected. The secretion of capsaicin protects the fruit from consumption by mammals while the bright colors attract birds that will disperse the seeds.
Capsaicin is present in large quantities in the placental tissue (which holds the seeds), the internal membranes and, to a lesser extent, the other fleshy parts of the fruits of plants in the genus Capsicum. Contrary to popular belief, the seeds themselves do not produce any capsaicin, although the highest concentration of capsaicin can be found in the white pith around the seeds.
The amount of capsaicin in the fruit of Capsicums is highly variable and dependent on genetics and environment, giving almost all types of Capsicums varied amounts of perceived heat. The only Capsicum without capsaicin is the bell pepper, a cultivar of Capsicum annuum, which has a zero rating on the Scoville scale. The lack of capsaicin in bell peppers is due to a recessive gene that eliminates capsaicin and, consequently, the "hot" taste usually associated with the rest of the Capsicum family.
Chili peppers are of great importance in Native American medicine, and capsaicin is used in modern medicine—mainly in topical medications—as a circulatory stimulant and analgesic. In more recent times, an aerosol extract of capsaicin, usually known as capsicum or pepper spray, has become widely used by police forces as a non-lethal means of incapacitating a person, and in a more widely dispersed form for riot control, or by individuals for personal defence.
Although black pepper and Sichuan pepper cause similar burning sensations, they are caused by different substances—piperine and hydroxy-alpha sanshool, respectively.
Now about my interesting observations.
1. While a SAD eater, I've started to experience severe abdominal pain several hours after consuming them. I mean, it was really bad, unbearable pain.
2. While vegan, they just digested perfectly with no abdominal pain whatsoever!
I think it has something to do with the fact that while eating junk (meat, fat, dairy, alcohol, drugs, etc), my intestinal track was inflamed or damaged at some degrees. Eating the capsicum containing the capsaisin (irritant substance) was just exposing my bad health now that I'm thinking about it!
Now as a vegan, my body can tolerate or digest them with no discomforts - indication that my intestinal track has been healed from all the years of abuse? That would be cool.
I am not planning to eat them on a regular basis, but I was really surprised and pleased to discover that I was able to eat a lot of a raw and very hot chile with no pain afterwards.
Now, I'll go back to my bananas and dates!