8 Benefits of eating spicy food
These days, many of us have become considerably more conscious about the food that we put into our bodies. Farmer’s markets, organic food, farm-to-fork movements – the idea of eating healthy seems to always be around us. But what about lovers of the spice? Is eating spicy food healthy for you?
For many people, a love of spicy foods is entirely about the flavor that goes along with hot peppers, but spicy food also gives a person the opportunity for friendly competitions around who can stand to eat the hottest foods. Several studies have proven that spicy foods also confer a host of benefits to one’s health and more – and we’ve uncovered a few of them here.
- Spicy Food Makes You Sweat
The fact that spicy food makes you sweat actually means that it’s good for you. According to a study cited in The New York Times, consuming a spicy plate of food increases the rate by which your body burns calories by up to 8%. Spicy food simply makes your metabolism work faster. Numerous studies have shown that people who live in countries with spicier diets tend to have fewer heart attacks than those in areas with a more mild selection of foods.
- Spicy Foods Lower Your Cholesterol
Another study has shown that consuming chili peppers seems to negate the effects of bad cholesterol. Further, capsaicin, the chemical responsible for the burning effect that spicy foods create in your mouth, helps to fight inflammation, which contributes to the potential for heart attacks. Capsaicin inhibits certain signals sent from your nerve cells to your brain, which might deaden sensations of pain. This is why it is often used as an ingredient in pail-relief creams.
- Spicy Foods Can Help You Live Longer
A prominent study performed in China demonstrated that spicy foods can actually increase one’s lifespan. Those who eat spicy foods nearly every day could in fact lower their likelihood of an early death by approximately 15%. It’s a little too early to directly link spicy foods to an increased lifespan, but the results of the study are encouraging, nonetheless.
- Spicy Food Is Good For You
Apart from the social status gained from eating the spiciest meal at the table, spicy food can provide you with actual nutrients, as well. Spicy foods contain a significant amount of capsaicin, which has been linked to the improved functionality of blood vessels. Basically, eating jalapeños lowers cholesterol levels.
- Spicy Foods Can Make You Happier
Eating spicy foods actually makes your brain produce more serotonin, one of the primary chemicals that makes you feel “happy.” This makes you better equipped to deal with depression, anxiety, stress, and other dark feelings.
- Spicy Foods Stave Off Cancer
The spicier the food, the less chance you’ll get cancer. Some medical researchers have discovered that capsaicin has the same effect on certain cancer cells as powerful cancer-fighting drugs do. The chemical is so powerful that it could kill off leukemia cells and slow the growth of deadly tumors.
- Spicy Foods Might Actually Alleviate Your Stomach Ache
Although it might sound counterintuitive, spicy foods can actually settle your stomach when you’re having troubles. New research suggests that consuming spicy foods can lower the amount of gastric acid you produce, which might reduce any stomach bleeding you may be suffering from.
- Spicy Foods Can Help You Lose Weight
Spicy foods can also indirectly help you lose weight by inadvertently suppressing your appetite. This occurs when you eat a bite or two of some spicy food and you simply cannot handle it. It only takes your stomach 20 minutes to tell your brain that it is full, so if you’re eating a really spicy meal, your body might think it is fuller than it actually is. If you eat less, you lose more weight, so pile on that spicy chili pepper!
While we don’t recommend only subsisting off hot peppers and salsa, we do recommend adding more spice to your diet—it’ll will make you a little healthier and a whole lot happier.