11 Benefits of Eating Spicy Food for Health

Benefits of Eating Spicy Food for Health

Do you like to eat spicy? Do not deprive yourself; it is excellent for your health. Spicy food would indeed allow us to live longer but also to lose weight.

Many of us are suspicious of spicy food and we are quite wrong. Indeed, chili, pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, saffron, or curry provides many benefits. To begin with, spices help ward off a number of diseases. But that's not all.

Spicy, more than a flavor, is a sensation that is perceived through nociceptors (pain receptor nerve endings) when we eat food rich in chemical compounds, among which capsaicin, piperine, or allicin stand out, present in foods such as chili, chili peppers, peppers, pepper, or garlic. Apart from functioning as a flavor enhancer, spices arouse your appetite. Research shows that chili sauce has a variety of hidden positive effects on your health. Eating chilies can also help improve the performance of the body's immune system, as well as stimulate the kidneys, lungs, and heart.

Still, need to be convinced? 

Here are 11 reasons that might surprise you why spicy food is good for you.

 1. Spicy Food to Lose Weight

The effect of spicy food on our body is not limited to a simple burn in the mouth. Hot foods stimulate the body's metabolism, which can help support weight loss. It is proven that a person who sweats when eating spicy food burns more calories. The active compound capsaicin helps stimulate metabolism as part of a healthy diet, something shown in an experiment carried out by the University of Wyoming.

 Research reveals that the sensation of heat from capsaicin encourages the stimulation of brown fat which can boost the body's metabolic performance by up to five percent. Increasing the body's metabolism will result in more optimal fat burning, which reaches 16 percent. Other studies have also shown that capsaicin has a thermogenic effect, which means that by producing heat in your body, capsaicin burns extra calories for twenty minutes after eating.

If you're afraid of spiciness, the compound is also found in milder spices like turmeric and cumin. It is an activator of energy metabolism. Foods like mustard or pepper can activate one of the key enzymes in metabolism regulation and energy control. 

So it can help in the treatment of overweight, obesity, and other metabolic diseases such as diabetes since it also modulates blood glucose levels. Cinnamon is also very effective in fighting obesity. According to a study presented during the Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association, cinnamon could be very useful in the fight against fat storage in the body. 

In addition, eating spicy food also helps suppress appetite and cravings, and reduce the number of calories you eat. The spices bring a feeling of satiety which postpones the moment when going to seek to nibble something. We recommend consuming turmeric, curry, ginger, and cayenne pepper. These spices make it possible to space out meals and eliminate fat more quickly. 

Of course, reaching the ideal body weight cannot only be achieved only by eating spicy foods. Eating spicy food for a diet program is okay, but it must also be accompanied by regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle.

2. Spicy Food for Better Heart Health

Studies show that cultures that eat spicy foods have a lower incidence of heart attacksand strokes. The reason is that the capsaicin in chilies is effective at lowering bad cholesterol (LDL) and increasing good cholesterol (HDL) levels in the body. In 2012 a team of nutritionists from the Chinese University of Hong Kong in an experiment with rodents detected that capsaicin helped destroy the so-called “bad cholesterol”. The compound also blocks the action of the gene that constricts the arteries, restricting blood flow.

The vitamins A and C in chilies strengthen the heart muscle walls and the warm sensation of capsaicin can increase blood circulation in the body and cause a drop in blood pressure due to the effect of nitric oxide in capsaicin on dilating blood vessels.

Capsaicin can also help prevent blood clots. In fact, capsaicin is still being researched for its ability to treat blood circulation problems, hardening of the arteries, and abnormal heart rhythms (cardiac arrhythmias). Capsaicin in peppers also fights inflammation, which has been identified as a risk factor for heart disease. 

3. Spicy Food Lowers Blood Pressure

Capsaicin also has a vasodilator effect and thus ensures better blood circulation. Spices and especially hot peppers are excellent for blood circulation because they dilate the blood vessels. Eating chili is the best way to quickly drop blood pressure.  Spicy foods contribute to good blood circulation and have the ability to lower blood pressure. 

When you eat spicy foods, your body temperature rises. As a result, blood flow increases and the heart beats faster. Peppers help strengthen the walls of blood vessels, as they are rich in vitamins A and C.

In case of hypertension, it is recommended to avoid prepared meals that are too salty. Salt is indeed to be banned or, at least, to be greatly reduced when you want to lower your blood pressure. Using hot spices can be a good substitute for salt, a fact that can promote better control of high blood pressure. 

On the spice side, we recommend red pepper, black pepper, chili powder, cinnamon, paprika, curry powder, dry mustard, onion powder, or even garlic powder. Add it to each of your dishes. They will add flavor and very effectively replace salt.

4. Spicy Dishes Help You Live Longer

According to a study conducted by a team of researchers from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, a well-spiced food would lead to a better life expectancy. To reach this conclusion, the researchers followed nearly half a million Chinese for several years. They were able to observe that the daily consumption of spicy dishes made it possible to reduce the risk of dying prematurely by 14% compared to weekly consumption. 

Furthermore, those who ate spicy food only twice a week had a 10% lower risk of death compared to people who ate spicy food only once a week. Among female participants, those who like to eat spicy food were associated with lower mortality from cancer, as well as heart disease and respiratory problems.

These results are in line with previous work showing potential protective effects on the human health of spicy foods.  Spices can indeed reduce the risk of cancer, coronary heart disease, and respiratory disease. 

5. Spicy Dishes Prevent Cancer and Tumors

Spices are rich in vitamins, minerals, pigments but also in antioxidants such as quercetin, polyphenols or even curcumin. However, as we know, antioxidants make it possible to fight effectively against the aging of cells and thus prevent the appearance of certain cancers.

Capsaicin has been shown to activate cell receptors in the inner lining of the intestine to create a reaction that reduces the risk of tumor growth by turning off over-reactive receptors. Where this molecule is miraculous is that it only attacks cancer cells without damaging the healthy cells that surround the tumor. Eating hot pepper is therefore recommended in the fight against cancer.

According to the American Association for Cancer Research, the compound capsaicin (which is also found in peppers like chili, cayenne, or hot peppers) has anti-invasive and anti-migratory effect with the ability to kill certain types of cancer and leukemic cells. Researchers also found that capsaicin was able to kill 80 percent of prostate cancer (in mice) without harming the surrounding normal cells.

Capsaicin has also been linked to effectiveness in the treatment of breast, pancreatic, and bladder cancers, although you may have to take an inadequate amount of capsaicin for this to work - for example, five habanero peppers a week. 

6. Spicy Dishes Reduce the Craving For Sugar 

Sugar is bad for your health, in so many ways. Sugar is one of the reasons for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, even it start tooth decay.  The great news is that spicy foods help to suppress sugar cravings almost instantly.  The spicy flavor is satiating and makes your palate not want to eat sweets after consumption. An experiment conducted by the Australian University of Adelaide found that the interaction between capsaicin and the stomach lining creates a feeling of fullness.

7. Spicy Foods Can Help Promote Digestion

Spicy spices also improve the digestive process because they stimulate gastric secretions and increase the secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. . This, in turn, will increase blood flow to the stomach as well as the mucous lining around it. 

So the consumption of spicy foods in moderate quantities is good for digestion. The active principle of capsaicin will stimulate the nerves: a sensation of increased heat is felt, which can turn into a burning sensation in the mouth. It stimulates digestion, by increasing the movements of the stomach and activating the secretion of gastric juices. Ginger also supports digestion and prevents nausea and vomiting from pregnancy or chemotherapy.

Chili is also considered very effective for protecting you from stomach ulcers caused by H. pylori bacteria that cause boils to grow, and capsaicin can help to kill these bacterial colonies. One study found that people who regularly consumed Chinese food, which contained less concentrations of capsaicin, were three times more likely to develop stomach ulcers caused by H. pylori bacteria than a group of participants who ate spicy Malay or Indian foods that had higher concentrations of spices and capsaicin. However, if you have heartburn from spicy foods, try taking an antacid pill that will neutralize stomach acids.

8. Spicy Foods Relieves Sinusitis

If you have a cold, it's a good idea to add a pinch of dried chili powder to a cup of warm tea. Drinking slowly while inhaling the warm steam will help stimulate the mucous membranes lining your nasal passages to drain mucus, so you can breathe better. Surely you have never noticed how the nose becomes suddenly runny when it is hot. 

The capsaicin in chilies is similar to a compound found in many decongestant medicinal herbs, so the spicier your food, the runny your nose will be. Hot peppers act as a decongestant and can help people with asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, sinusitis, and other diseases of the respiratory system. They also help us breathe better by opening the blocked nasal passages. 

Eating or drinking spicy foods containing capsaicin as one of the ingredients, warms the whole body, and eliminates the feeling, accelerates sweating, and alleviates the discomfort caused by the flu and the symptoms of the common cold. It also helps to open the nasal passages. It can also reduce sinusitis and other flu-related symptoms.

In addition, capsaicin is also rich in vitamin A, which helps strengthen mucous membranes. The mucus membrane acts as a barrier to prevent bacteria from entering the body through the nose.

9. Spices Combat Pain and Symptoms Of Depression

When the capsaicin receptor is stimulated, it responds by sending signals to the brain that result in a burning and itching sensation in the oral mucosa.  This painful reaction promotes the release of serotonin and endorphins (also called happiness hormones). These hormones are responsible for the feeling of happiness and give us a sense of well-being. 

They can act as an antidepressant and as a strong anxiolytic. It is also a natural pain reliever. Its pain-relieving action is due to the fact that it "tricks" the central nervous system by acting on pain receptors, which is why this substance is also used in pharmacological formulas in diseases such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, or neuralgia. 

It is also studied to minimize sores and canker sores derived from cancer treatments, radiotherapy, or chemotherapy. Reporting to the Huffington Post, capsaicin when used as a local treatment can help relieve pain.

10. Spices Have Anti-Inflammatory and Antiseptic Properties

Some spices are natural anti-inflammatory drugs. In the case of rheumatism or arthritis, turmeric is very effective for example. For muscle pain or headaches, ginger can work wonders. This is also the case for cinnamon, which acts on the central nervous system, and cayenne pepper, which acts on the mechanisms of pain perception.

Spices also have antiseptic properties. Some can indeed fight effectively against pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, or fungi. This is particularly the case of cloves or cinnamon, which are rich in essential oils known for their anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties. Capsaicin is a bioactive component of chili, which also has many benefits against infection resistance. Note that the use of these spices does not cause any side effects.

11. Spices Stimulate The Immune System 

These types of spices are rich in antioxidants and antimicrobial properties that protect against bacteria in the body. The combination of several minerals found in the ginger root has many benefits for boosting our immune system. 

Do Not Overeat Spicy Food Either

Although, there is numerous potential health benefits spicy food provides us to live a healthy life, but beware, while eating spicy might be good for you, eating too spicy can also have its downsides.  It is important to consume spicy foods in moderation especially if you have a sensitive stomach or just a relative intolerance to them. 

In healthy people, excessive consumption of spicy foods can damage the mucosa of the gastrointestinal tract, causing nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, ulcers, diarrhea, and hemorrhoids. Also, some studies have linked long-term capsaicin abuse to stomach cancer.

Therefore, the excessive consumption of spicy foods are especially contraindicated in people who suffer:

  • Gastroduodenal ulcer
  • Gastritis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Liver problems
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women
  • In children under six years of age.

Learn to eat your food spicy and enjoy the benefits out of them.

Limit spicy foods at night. Eating spicy food just before bedtime can cause indigestion that makes it almost certainly difficult for you to sleep well. Even if you are among the ones who can eat spicy food without having to get upset stomachs, chili and spicy foods are associated with longer waking hours at night and taking longer to sleep soundly. This is due to capsaicin which affects your sleep patterns by changing your body temperature.

benefits of eating spicy food for health

As for how much spicy the food you need to consume to get its benefits, doctors and experts recommend that you start including chilies and turmeric in your diet at least 2-3 times a week - whether eaten raw, used as chili sauce, a marinade for grill dishes, stir fry, or roasted whole.

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