Jim Vorves is one of many multi-talented employees who walk the halls at YRMC. As a talented cook, musician and Desktop Support Manager for YRMC’s Information Systems Department, Jim qualifies as a true Renaissance man! He kindly joined me on the set of YRMC’s Your Healthy Kitchen to share one of his award-winning salsa recipes, and talk about the dedicated folks who keep everyone connected at YRMC. FYI: Don’t worry if you don’t like a lot of spice. Jim also shares his mild salsa recipe, for those of us who don’t do well with heat but still love the taste of salsa.
Capsaicin (cap-SAY-sin) is the chemical that gives chilies their heat and fire. It is concentrated, but not limited to, the tissues around the seeds of chilies, where it likely protects the plant from pests and disease. In a neat twist of co-evolution, many of the chemicals (called phytochemicals) that plants produce to protect themselves from harm also protect and support the health of humans. This is certainly the case with capsaicin, as research shows that this spicy phytochemical:
- Improves insulin sensitivity and lowers blood glucose after meals
- Reduces inflammation throughout the body
- Lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease through anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity
- Impairs the growth of H pylori, the bacteria that can cause stomach ulcers
Capsaicin is found only in chilies that are spicy. The more spice, the more capsaicin, so the hotter you like your salsa the better! However, if you don’t like it hot, or for health reasons can’t tolerate chilies, there are many other beneficial nutrients in Jim’s hot and mild salsas. These include:
- Vitamin C
- Other important phytochemicals including: Lycopene, beta-carotene, and quercitin, all of which are antioxidants that protect against chronic illnesses such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.
For more delicious ways to incorporate beneficial fresh herbs, spices and lots of flavor into your meals, remember to visit our collection of videos and recipes at YRMC’s Your Healthy Kitchen. All of our recipes include photochemical- and nutrient-packed, affordable, and local ingredients, plus easy to follow instructions. You’ll find nutrition information and cost per serving featured on every recipe as well. You can also follow me on Facebook at YRMC’s Your Healthy Kitchen, to see what I am making at home, get insider tips and link to some of my favorite food and nutrition destinations on the web. Until next time, eat well and spice up your meals for health!