Spicy foods are very popular in certain cultural cuisines. Mexican food, Indian food, and Thai food all have varying levels of intensity that are all the rage for spicy food lovers and quite the opposite to those with a sensitive palate. The spicy kick you get from cayenne pepper, jalapenos, habaneros, curry paste, or turmeric may be doing a whole lot more than adding flavor to your meals. Researchers have found, in recent studies, that spicy foods have many surprising health benefits.
Though much more research needs to be done to prove that spicy food could help you live longer, a massive study in China provided some interesting results. The study, conducted on 500,000 adults, found that eating spicy foods often can reduce the risk of death by 14 percent. Eating spicy foods is good for many other ailments, such as cancer, heart disease, and obesity, so naturally, it is good for longevity as well.
Spicy food also causes your brain to send off endorphins, such as serotonin, that put you in a relaxed and happy mood. Serotonin can also help with stress, depression, and anxiety. So next time you are feeling blue, break out the hot sauce and turn that frown upside down.
Researchers have proven that spicy food not only boosts your metabolism but also helps curb hunger pains and cravings for sweet and salty treats. In 2011, Purdue University studies found that the consumption of red pepper helps speed up the burning of calories and also suppresses the appetite.
Spicy food has a bad reputation when it comes to stomach pain, but studies show that spicy food is actually good for your stomach lining. Eating spicy food can actually help prevent ulcers that form in the stomach and reduce the amount of gastric acid your stomach produces. The capsaicin found in hot peppers attacks the bacteria that form ulcers in your stomach.
A spicy meal can help to clean out your sinuses by stimulating the mucous membranes in your nose, allowing it to drain more easily. Hot peppers are also a rich source of Vitamin A, which helps strengthen mucous membranes, helping your immune system protect against common illnesses.
Heart Disease Prevention
Countless studies have proven that people who live in countries with more heat-intensive diets have fewer heart attacks and heart-related illnesses that countries that feast on blander foods. Hot peppers lower LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol in your body. HDL cholesterol improves blood circulation, while too much LDL cholesterol can lead to high blood pressure and diabetes. Peppers are also rich in antioxidants, which are essential to heart health.
According to recent research conducted by medical professionals, capsaicin, which is found in hot peppers, affects cancer cells in the same way that leading cancer-fighting medicines do. Curcumin, found in most curry powders and pastes, has also been proven to slow the growth of cancer cells in laboratory tests.
Disregard the myths about the dangers of spicy food and the common misconceptions that eating spicy food will burn a hole in your stomach or cause ulcers. Start mild, and slowly work yourself up the spicy food chain until you can handle spicier and spicier meals over time. Not only will you get to experience the heat and intensity of flavorful food, but your body will thank you immensely.