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Is Spicy Food Actually Good For You?

Ever heard of people who detest spicy food so much that they actually completely avoid it, citing reasons ranging from stomach problems to intolerance? Are you someone who has feared spicy food as well? Well, you may rest easy because we’re about to change that scary perception surrounding hot and spicy food. For many, many years, spicy food has gained a rather negative reputation for being the cause of health problems. But while the heat might be a tad difficult to handle, spicy foods in themselves are actually not harmful and hot food, when eaten in moderation, are actually beneficial for health. So, while you don’t necessarily have to make yourself tear up with the addition of explosive spices to your meals, eating a bit of chilies and peppers is not such a bad idea. Here’s why:

Turn up the Heat:

A lot of recent research has provided evidence that a diet consisting of hot and spicy food can be very good for health. The reason being that capsaicin, which is present in chilies and peppers (providing that heat/burning sensation), are capable of killing pancreatic, prostate, and lung cancer cells. They do so without harming other healthy cells and researches claim that Indians and Mexicans, who incorporate a lot of spices in their diet, are therefore less prone to suffering from certain cancers than those of their Western counterparts. An Australian research has discovered that chilies can also protect cholesterol buildup in blood, while another says that chili peppers may reduce need for insulin injections. They also prevent the release of gastric acid, and a daily intake of chilies can reduce the risk of peptic ulcers.

Lose that Weight:

It is no longer a debate whether or not hot foods can help fight weight – research has already proven that. Jalapeño, habanero, cayenne, and other varieties of hot peppers help in stimulating brown fat that speeds up metabolism. In fact, a research conducted by Laval University in 1998 has established that eating chilies and red peppers helps increase metabolism and this, in turn, causes the body to burn energy more effectively and much faster than otherwise. Eating chili peppers can also aid in easing constant hunger pangs, and can be a good way to control that stubborn weight.

Eat a bowl of Curry:

Scientists and doctors have discovered that peppers have a host of health benefits including positive effects on the body’s circulation. Curry, often associated with a very spicy Indian broth, is actually not just flavorful, but also extremely helpful. A combination of peppers, turmeric, and chilies in a bowl of curry aids cardiovascular health. While chili peppers contain capsaicin, turmeric contains curcumin which is rich in anti-inflammatory properties. In short, eating a bowl of curry can prevent blood clots and reverse any damage to blood vessels.

A Host of Health Benefits:

It may make you cry, but eating hot and spicy food can help relieve clogged noses and fight congestion. Haven’t you wondered why people suggest eating a bowl of peppery chicken soup when you’re sick with flu? Because chilies raise body temperature, eating hot food can relieve flu and fever symptoms. They also work as an expectorant, ease bronchial problems and aid in asthmatic issues. Regular consumption of moderately spicy food can even improve your mood, all thanks to the brain’s feel-good endorphins that are released due to the heat from said food. Scientists believe that eating spicy food can elevate mood and also reduce inflammation and aid in pain relief.

So the next time you feel that burning sensation after eating a bowl of chili, curry, or spicy food, remember it’s just the body’s way to build tolerance. If your heat tolerance is low, start with peppers that are less spicy, eat smaller amounts, or mix it with foods that are bland, such as mashed peas, potatoes, or sautéed veggies. Adding chopped or ground chilies in food items that are otherwise non-spicy is a great way to elevate flavors as well. And remember not to overdo; chilies are great, but excess consumption can lead to stomach problems, and we certainly do not want that, do we? Eating spicy food in moderation is the best way to ensure a healthy body.

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