Most people eat spicy food because they love the flavor and heat. Others don’t understand why they would torture themselves with hot and spicy food. These health benefits of spicy food may just have you giving that bottle of hot sauce a second look.
1. Spicy food may help fight inflammation.
Time magazine called inflammation “the secret killer“, because it increases the risk of diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and cancer.
Luckily, spices like turmeric, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger have strong antioxidant properties, which can help fight inflammation. According to research, curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, helps reduce inflammation.
2. Spicy food may help you live longer.
You may want to spice up your food if you want to live to 100. According to a study conducted by Harvard University and China Nation Center for Diseases and Control Prevention, eating spicy food for six or seven days a week can lower your risk of death by 14 percent.
The researchers say that they can’t directly link spicy food to extended lifespan, and more studies should be conducted to confirm these findings. However, they believe that regular consumption of spicy food can reduce risk factors of death such as cancer, respiratory diseases, and heart disease.
3. Spicy food may lower risk of cancer.
Capsaicin, a compound found in chili peppers can also help fight cancer. In this animal study, researchers found that capsaicin prevented the growth of prostate cancer.
Adding turmeric to your meals can help prevent various cancers. According to research, curcumin can lower risk of gastrointestinal, brain, bone, and breast cancer.
4. Spicy food may help control your cravings.
Do you struggle with food cravings when you’re not even hungry? Spices like cinnamon can regulate your blood sugar levels, and consequently, make it easier for you to control your cravings.
Other spices that can help regulate blood sugar include basil, red cloves, lavender, oregano, lemon balm, mint, and cilantro, according to the University of Georgia.
5. Spicy food may rev up your metabolism.
You need to find different ways to keep your metabolism up after 40, because it slows down due to muscle loss.
Spicing up your food with cayenne pepper can keep your metabolism elevated, according to research. This spice can also regulate your appetite. Now, that is a magic spice!
While cayenne may slightly boost metabolism, spices alone are no substitute for regular exercise. Build muscle mass with strength training if you want to keep your metabolism supercharged all day long.
6. Spicy foods may help you absorb more nutrients.
Chances are you are using these strategies to get more nutrients from fruits and veggies. Now you can add spices to the list of foods that add nutrients to your diet and prevent nutritional deficiencies.
Black pepper is a great example. It has been shown to increase the absorption of curcumin and researchers say it may also help increase the bioavailability of drugs.
7. Spicy food may help ease your pain.
Did you know that capsaicin, the compound that makes chili peppers feel hot in your mouth, is one of the main ingredients in pain-relieving creams?
Add chili peppers to your food to reduce joint and muscle pain. Studies show that capsaicin can reduce pain in people with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia.
8. Spicy food may prevent bacterial infections.
Turmeric and cumin can help fight against harmful bacteria in your body. Research shows that these spices have strong antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.
9. Spicy food may improve your heart health.
Researchers have observed that there is a lower risk of heart attacks and stroke in cultures where people eat spicy food. This makes perfect sense because, in this study, researchers discovered that capsaicinoids, active ingredients in chili peppers, helped lower plasma cholesterol.
10. Spicy food may ease your stress.
Have you ever felt high after eating spicy food? Well, spices cause your brain to release endorphins and dopamine, feel-good hormones which can boost your mood and reduce stress.
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