People love eating spicy food. They crave for its flavor, regardless of its burning and heat-producing properties. Generally, spicy food is considered unhealthy but this not true, as spicy food possess some hidden health benefits.
There are a number of people who crave for spicy food. The pleasure of eating a spicy meal can be an entirely different experience. A hot, burning sensation which can be discomforting and even painful though for some, it is worth relishing the flavor and they enjoy every bit of it. This is the magic of spicy food. Chili is not the only substance that increases the spiciness of the food, as there is pepper, turmeric, jalapenos and other herbs which add to the flavor and hotness. Though a lot of people think it is unhealthy to eat spicy food, the good news for spicy food-lovers is that this food contains hidden health benefits like improving immunity and heart health and even aiding weight loss too.
It is Healthy to Eat Spicy Food!
Spicy foods like chili and pepper get their hotness from a compound called capsaicin. It also plays a major role in providing health benefits. Higher the content of capsaicin the hotter that food becomes. But on coming in contact with the skin it may cause a burning sensation. It may also cause irritation to your eyes. Hence, be careful while handling chilies and peppers. Excess of spicy food also can be harmful, hence the consumption should always be in moderate amounts. Following are some of the health benefits that you gain from consuming spicy food in moderation.
One of the main compounds of chili is capsaicin which has a thermogenic effect on the body that leads to increased metabolism. This further results in burning extra calories and can lead to considerable weight loss. Apart from this, if you are following a diet or your healthy food is less appealing, then you can just sprinkle certain spices which will not only enhance the taste but can also keep you healthy.
Improves Heart Health
Capsaicin in chilies reduces the effect of LDL or bad cholesterol which further reduce the chances of blood clots that may block the arteries. This helps in the proper circulation of blood through the heart and improves the functioning of cardiovascular system. Various studies have shown that people who eat more spicy food have lower incidents of heart and stroke problems.
Capsaicin also has the ability to inhibit the substance P, which is a neuropeptide, that triggers the body’s inflammatory response. Hence, we can say that consumption of spicy food can help in reducing inflammation. It also prevents the inflammation of arteries.
Chili and pepper are high in vitamin A and vitamin C. Two teaspoons of chili powder provides about 10% of vitamin A and 6% of vitamin C of the body’s daily requirement. It boosts the immune system and improves the first line of defense of the human body.
In 2006, a team of researchers from the Cancer Institute at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, in collaboration with colleagues from UCLA, found out that capsaicin drove human prostate cancer cells to kill themselves. But excess intake of capsaicin has also been associated with stomach cancer. So always be careful about the amount you consume.
Type 2 Diabetes
According to a study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2006, there was a considerable drop in the blood sugar levels in diabetic people after they have a spicy meal. The study was carried out on 36 diabetic people who were asked to eat bland food (without any chili and pepper) for four weeks. And then for the next four weeks their daily diet was supplemented with 30 gm of chili pepper blend. The results showed their blood sugar levels increased less when they consumed chili pepper blend in comparison to when they ate bland food.
- Relieves Congestion: Spicy food increases body heat and helps in clearing the mucus. This reduces sinus pressure and pain.
- Provides Better Sleep: Studies have shown that people who consume chili pepper on a daily bases enjoy a better and longer sleep.
- Boosts Mood: When you eat chilies, due to the instant hot sensation, the brain releases endorphins which are natural painkillers, and are also known as happy hormones, to nullify the effect. This naturally boosts your mood.
- Fights Stomach Ulcers: Stomach ulcers are usually caused due to the bacterial growth. Chili and pepper consumed in moderation are known to kill these bacteria and avoid stomach ulcers.
So, even if you are not a lover of spicy food, you can just spice up your meal a bit to enjoy the goodness of chilies and pepper. To derive its various health benefits, it is very important to consume spicy foods in moderation, as excessive consumption can also cause harm.