There is just something about the burning sensation felt from the tongue from eating spicy food. It’s painful, yet people keep wanting it. No doubt, spices are indeed one of the best flavors you can add to your recipes to make them taste more appealing. But did you know that eating spicy food does not only benefit the taste buds?
Spices can be more than just a flavor to your food. Chili peppers—which are excellent sources of spice—are rich in a compound called capsaicin. Capsaicin is responsible for that heat feeling you get when you eat spicy food and more. Many years ago, scientists found out that this chili pepper extract (capsaicin) has numerous health benefits.
So if you enjoy eating curry, kimchi, and Sichuan dishes, you are in for more healthy treats. But even if you are not a fan, these health benefits might change your mind.
Spicy food increases metabolism and supports weight loss
The obesity rate in the United States has hit 40% from 2017 to 2018. This also means that this percentage of people is at a higher risk of developing multiple diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases, and some types of cancer.
Many factors are contributing to the weight gain of Americans, from genetics to their lifestyle. They play a role. Capsaicin might be useful to combat this health problem.
According to nutritionist Pamela Peeke, M.D., when you eat spicy food, your body regulates heat, boosting metabolism up to 5%. This means that the body can burn more calories even faster and lose weight just by eating spicy food.
On the other hand, this does not suggest that you should not exercise anymore. Still, nothing beats regular exercise and a proper diet to lose weight.
Spicy food aids depression
17.3 million—this is the number of adult Americans who had experienced major depressive episodes in 2017. While spicy foods are not anti-depressants, they can boost the body’s natural production of serotonin and endorphin hormones or known as ‘happy hormones’. These body chemicals promote positive feelings such as pleasure and even love. At the same time, it reduces depression and stress.
It is almost like an anti-depressant except it does not have a doctor’s prescription.
Whenever you feel lonely and blue, grab a slice of pepperoni pizza, top it with some hatch red chile salt, and eat away.
Spicy food may prevent cancer
There is a study that says capsaicin can kill 80% of prostate cancer cells growing in mice while leaving the rest of the healthy cells unscathed.
Just how amazing what chili’s heat can do? A long time ago, it was only used to make creams to relieve pain. But now, they are being used to treat people with cancer. Thanks to the hard-working scientists and advanced technology but above anything else, thanks to chilli peppers’ existence.
Spicy food combats heart diseases
Eating spicy food can be great for your heart. How? Chili peppers have the power to eliminate the damaging effects of Low-Density Lipoprotein or LDL. This LDL is the bad cholesterol that nobody wants in their bodies. If not prevented, this can fuel the development of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks.
Don’t wait for that bad cholesterol to build up. Get rid of them by adding spices to your meals.
Spicy food relieves pain
You probably have a hint now that that burning feeling you get when you rub cream on the area where the pain is present is caused by, no other than capsaicin. Topical creams, which are mostly packed with capsaicin, can be a relief to a person suffering from arthritic and neuropathic pain. ;
Capsaicin is not always in the form of cream though. When this analgesic is extracted from chili peppers, it can be added to gels and dermal patches, as well, with the same purpose—to relieve pain.
The bottom line
Eating spices come with numerous health benefits, but it is also crucial not to overdo it, or else you may suffer from heartburn. It is also vital to keep in mind that eating spicy food should be accompanied by a healthy diet and not junk food. It may only backfire and do more harm than good, so ditch the fiery processed food and cook your spicy meal at home.
Recent statistics reveal that the leading causes of death in America are heart diseases, cancer, and diabetes. With all these benefits, eating spicy food can help you live a longer life. It may not cure everything, but it can help and be beneficial to one’s health.