Benefits Of Spicy Food
There’s something overwhelmingly delectable about food that comes with a bite. But apart from tantalizing those taste buds, spicy food also has many health benefits – who knew! Now, many might respond with mixed feedback – because fiery dishes can also be the guilty culprit when it comes to acid reflux and stomach ulcers (or an uncomfortable bowel movement – TMI). When we look at the bigger picture, however, “hot” food seems to have more good things going for it, when consumed in moderation, of course.
From Cayenne peppers and jalapeños to chilis and daring habaneros, spicing up your meals has proven to add more to your life than just flavor. Research shows that spices can have a surprisingly positive effect on your general health – such as:
1. Pain Relief
The strange thing about spicy meals is that we find pleasure in such pain! While a bottle of hot sauce can be rich in flavor, we cannot deny the torturous burning sensations that tag along. But did you know that further irony lies in the fact that spicy whole-foods can also be used to relieve pain? For example, if you suffer from arthritis, shingles or headaches, you can rub a capsaicin lotion onto the affected area to relieve the aching sensation. These lotions can be prescribed by your doctor or you can request an over-the-counter ointment.
2. Weight Loss
While exercising and eating low-carb meals is still the best form of weight loss, adding a bite to your meal prep will certainly have a positive effect. According to a renowned nutritionist, Pamela Peeke, M.D, when you eat hot peppers, your body heat increases and as a result, you boost your metabolism up to 5% – this further elevates fat burning by up to 16%. Essentially, this means that your body is burning calories at a faster rate. Great news, right!
3. Curbing Sugar Cravings
If you’re new to the table – sugar is bad for you, in so many ways! It’s one of the reasons why you continue to put on the pounds and it also has a negative effect on your energy levels. Let’s not even get started on tooth decay! The great news is that fiery foods help to eliminate sugar cravings almost instantly. So, the next time you have a hankering for a donut, simply dab some hot sauce onto your tongue instead!
4. Boosting Your Immune System
Spices are fully loaded with antioxidants and antimicrobial properties that protect against bacteria. This is why you will find that many home flu remedies contain cayenne pepper – there’s actually a method in what might seem like madness! It’s also possibly one of the reasons why many Asian populations have such excellent life-expectancy statistics. The next time you feel like a cold is brewing, cook up a curry or add some spice to your “hot” toddy.
5. Boosting Your Libido
This is a benefit we know you’ll appreciate – nudge nudge, wink wink! Giving “spicing up your love life” a whole new meaning, researchers have discovered that very spicy foods help to increase testosterone, the hormone that is tied to libido functioning. So, if you are planning a “hot” date, munch on some hot wings for lunch and who knows how your evening will go! A word of caution, invest in some breath mints!
6. Staying Regular
Not as sexy as point number 5 but just as important – spicy foods also tend to contain a lot of fiber, which helps with bowel movements. As an added bonus, when you eat hot food, it’s common to down many glasses of water to ease the fiery sensation on your tongue. All of this water assists in keeping constipation at bay and a regular “toilet time” schedule.
7. Cancer Prevention
Sound laboratory evidence has indicated that spices like curcumin have properties that help to prevent and reduce the growth of cancer cells. While these studies are still in progress, scientists are convinced that the results are showing a positive indication that spicy food may prevent breast cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer, and stomach cancer. It’s worth the effort to add these foods to your diet – they are wholesome after all.
8. Heart Disease
When it comes to your heart, you want to head for the turmeric and red peppers. Both of these food sources have definite effects on the body’s circulation. This means that blood vessels are encouraged to dilate well and as a result, blood clots are prevented and blood pressure lowers – reducing the overall risk of heart disease. Spices have also shown to reduce cholesterol levels. Next time you head for the salt (which increases blood pressure), opt for a spicier alternative.
Spices boost the production of feel-good hormones, such as serotonin. Serotonin is a mood-enhancer and when it is released from the brain, you automatically feel a little better. The next time you have the blues, perk up with a few daring red spices! Please note that it helps to alleviate the symptoms of depression only, it is not a solution to the disease and its’ effects.
If we consider all of the health benefits of spicy food, then one of the overall consensuses is longevity. All the things that “hot” food can help with – from inflammation and weight loss to cancer prevention and reducing heart disease – encourages a longer and healthier life. The secret to immortality may very well be popping a hot pepper or two into your mouth daily – who knows!