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Latest Pungency Stories

Unmasking Black Pepper's Secrets As A Fat Fighter
2012-05-02 10:53:31

Image Credit: Photos.com A new study provides a long-sought explanation for the beneficial fat-fighting effects of black pepper. The research, published in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, pinpoints piperine – the pungent-tasting substance that gives black pepper its characteristic taste, concluding that piperine also can block the formation of new fat cells. Soo-Jong Um, Ji-Cheon Jeong and colleagues describe previous studies indicating that piperine reduces fat...

2011-12-21 11:38:25

Biologists have learned in recent years that wild chilies develop their trademark pungency, or heat, as a defense against a fungus that could destroy their seeds. But that doesn't explain why some chilies are hot and others are not. New research provides an answer: Hot chilies growing in dry areas need more water to produce as many seeds as non-pungent plants, but the Fusarium fungus is less of a threat in dryer environments so chilies in those areas are less likely to turn up the heat. In...

Addressing Pain And Disease On The Fly
2011-12-07 09:29:43

How fruit flies can teach us about curing chronic pain and halting mosquito-borne diseases Studies of a protein that fruit flies use to sense heat and chemicals may someday provide solutions to human pain and the control of disease-spreading mosquitoes. In the current issue of the journal Nature, biologist Paul Garrity of the National Center for Behavioral Genomics at Brandeis University and his team, spearheaded by KyeongJin Kang and Vince Panzano in the Garrity lab, report how fruit...

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2010-09-29 09:25:00

Fizzy beverages light up same pain sensors as mustard and horseradish, a new study shows -- so why do we drink them? You may not think of the fizz in soda as spicy, but your body does. The carbon dioxide in fizzy drinks sets off the same pain sensors in the nasal cavity as mustard and horseradish, though at a lower intensity, according to new research from the University of Southern California. "Carbonation evokes two distinct sensations. It makes things sour and it also makes them burn. We...

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2010-08-04 12:30:00

For those with high blood pressure, chili peppers might be just what the doctor ordered, according to a study reported in the August issue of Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication. While the active ingredient that gives the peppers their heat"”a compound known as capsaicin"”might set your mouth on fire, it also leads blood vessels to relax, the research in hypertensive rats shows. "We found that long-term dietary consumption of capsaicin, one of the most abundant components in...

2008-07-06 15:00:18

By MARY-LIZ SHAW ON THE SHELVES The Spice Bible. By Jane Lawson. Stewart, Tabori & Chang. $29.95. An impressive volume detailing how spices enhance and transform the foods we eat. Spices are divided according to whether they are derived from seeds and pods, berries and flowers or roots and bark, with each spice getting its own descriptive introduction, then a handful of recipes showing its culinary range. Lawson, a former chef in Sydney, has a facility for capturing the essence of...

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2008-05-20 12:52:22

You can now not only feel the spicy kick of a jalapeno pepper, you can also see it in full 3D, thanks to researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.Using sophisticated equipment, the research team led by Dr Theodore G. Wensel, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at BCM, generated the first three dimensional view of the protein that allows you to sense the heat of a hot pepper. The report appears in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of...

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2005-08-17 07:24:36

Study uncovers mechanism by which the herb does some damage to do some benefit The way in which garlic inflicts gastric pain may also be the way it confers cardiovascular benefits, a new study suggests. The finding, reported in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is preliminary, however, and far from convincing for some experts. "It's a possible mechanism for cardiovascular benefit from garlic, but they're a long way off from tying the two together," said...

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2005-08-15 18:52:15

WASHINGTON -- People tend to love garlic or hate it, but few probably associate it with pain. Nonetheless, it turns out that pain-sensing nerves respond to the sulfur-based chemicals in garlic. Indeed, the same mechanism the body uses to react to the sharpness of chili peppers and hot mustards like wasabi is the one that detects garlic, according to a study in Tuesday's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. David Julius of the department of cellular and molecular pharmacology at...


Word of the Day
caparison
  • A cloth or covering, more or less ornamented, laid over the saddle or furniture of a horse, especially of a sumpter-horse or horse of state.
  • Clothing, especially sumptuous clothing; equipment; outfit.
  • To cover with a caparison, as a horse.
  • To dress sumptuously; adorn with rich dress.
This word ultimately comes from the Medieval Latin 'cappa,' cloak.
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