10 Health Benefits Of Eating Spicy Foods
Written by: Janet Early
Good news for spicy food lovers!
A recent study found that consuming mucha comida caliente (lots of spicy food) leads to serious health benefits, including longer life expectancy.
And – if you’re not into spicy food – you just may be after reading about all the good it can do for your bod!
Spices have a long eastern history of being sprinkled in dishes for their medicinal, flavorful and preservative abilities. Certain ingredients produce many benefits that prescription meds claim to provide, but without all the sketchy side effects and questionable ingredients.
Below are the top 10 amazing benefits spicy foods have to offer!
1. Help You Live Longer
A study done by the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences recently found that people who eat spicy food daily or almost daily have a 14% lower risk of dying from all causes, compared to people who eat spicy foods fewer times than once per week.
2. Reduce Food Cravings
After eating meals with spicy ingredients, people experience fewer cravings for sweet, salty, or fatty foods. This finding is especially true among people who don’t typically consume spicy foods, suggesting that sporadic ingestion of spicy ingredients provides some optimal benefits for maintaining a healthy weight.
3. Deter Overeating
It’s easier to avoid overeating when you feel fuller and spicy meals tend to satiate you before you reach the dreaded point of unbuttoning. In a study, participants who ate a spicy appetizer ended up eating less of the subsequent meal. Spiciness slows down your eating process, which usually leads to fewer caloric intake overall.
4. Boost Your Immune System
The antibacterial power combined with the high antioxidant phenolic content of many spices stave off infections and help protect your body from foreign invaders. Furthermore, folk medicine practices hold that capsaicin, the bioactive ingredient in many spicy foods, improves kidney, lung and heart health.
5. Decrease The Hunger Hormone
The hormone ghrelin can be a true gremlin in your tummy when you’re hungry, nagging at you to eat and eat and eat. Eating a spicy meal is a good way to make that annoying little bugger go away. Doing so has been shown to diminish your level of ghrelin more so than eating a bland meal, causing you to feel more full and fulfilled.
6. Reduce Inflammation
Due to their high phenolic content, spicy foods can reduce inflammation in the body. Anti-inflammatory agents reduce your risk of disease, swelling and physical discomfort.
7. Rev Up Your Metabolism
Capsaicin bolsters your basal metabolic rate through a heating process called thermogenesis. This fat-burning natural compound can fuel your metabolism to burn an extra 50 calories following a spicy meal – your mouth isn’t the only thing that’s on fire after a spicy meal!
8. Protect You From Foodborne Illnesses
Spicy foods have long been touted for their antimicrobial properties. A study by Cornell found that the addition of spices to dishes kills bacteria and harmful fungi that’s present in the food. Interestingly, their research suggests that taste for spicy foods developed over time as cultures that ate more spices better resisted illness and lived longer. As a result, taste buds adapted to be compatible with all the great health benefits. Among some of the most antibacterial spices are garlic, cumin, onions and capsicums.
9. Fight Cancer
Although the cancer-prevention ability of spicy foods hasn’t yet been fully researched, spicy foods contain a high number of carotenoids and flavonoids, which attack cancer-causing free radicals in the body. There is also a correlation between high intake of chili peppers and lower incidence of prostate cancer.
10. Improve Blood Vessel Function
Capsaicinoids have LDL cholesterol-reducing benefits. Capsaicin in particular has been shown to promote healthy blood vessel function and reduce blood pressure.
And for a bonus reason, spicy foods are just really freakin’ tasty! You can find many spicy ingredients blended into powders and sauces, providing a zesty kick to any dish they touch. Now could be the perfect time to add some more spice into your life!
Janet Early is a health enthusiast living in Los Angeles and working as a researcher for a major television company. An aspiring writer, Janet discovered her passion for wholesome nutrition and natural healing while navigating the struggles of balancing food sensitivities in a modern world. In addition to nutrition, she enjoys traveling, storytelling and embarking on daily adventures.
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