By Ana Margarita Olar | Foodfindsasia.com
Spicy foods such as chilli peppers, peppercorn, garlic, and onion are common ingredients found in our kitchen. But, aside from their culinary uses, here are some benefits of eating spicy foods:
- Aids in weight loss and improves digestion. Eating spicy food increases satiety which means that a person feels full or satisfied even on a small meal. It also helps deter overeating. Spicy foods such as hot peppers contain capsaicin, a compound that gives it the spicy kick. This compound is responsible for decreasing calorie intake, lowering blood fat levels, and shrinking fat tissue. Another benefit of this compound is that it helps to kill the bacteria like H. Pylori, an organism that causes stomach ulcers. Also, capsaicin is a thermogenic substance that temporarily increases thermogenesis in our body, and helping burn calories.
- Heart Health. On an animal study, when hamsters are given food spiced up with capsaicinoids here are the following findings: LDL (bad cholesterol) levels declined, plaques in the arteries decreases, and lower blood pressure. On another rodent study, a diet rich in capsaicin show positive effects on metabolic syndrome, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, cardiac hypertrophy, and stroke risk.
- Protect your immune system. Many spicy foods have natural antibacterial power and high antioxidant phenolic content help ward off infections and protect your body against infection.
- Relieve Pain. Capsaicin has a potent anti-inflammatory property and it also provides pain relief by decreasing the substance P in your body. Substance P is known to transmit pain signals to your brain. Chronic skin exposure to capsaicin produces an analgesic effect. Topical treatment with 0.025% capsaicin cream is found to relieve pain associated with osteoarthritis. It has also been found that it helps reduce stinging, itching, burning sensation, and even relieve pain associated with a migraine.
- Protection against food-borne illnesses. One study shows that adding spices to dishes kills bacteria and fungi present in the meal. Among these spices are onion, garlic, and cumin.
- Combat cancer. Spicy foods contain a high level of carotenoids and flavonoids which attack cancer-causing free radicals in the body. Capsaicin is shown to activate cell receptors in the intestinal lining, creating a reaction that lowers the risk of tumors. A correlation has also been found between a high intake of chilli peppers and suppression of the growth of human prostate cancer cells while leaving normal cells unharmed.
- Other benefits.
- Ginseng- has the ability to boost energy levels and speed up metabolism.
- Cinnamon- ideal seasoning for diabetics because it has the ability to regulate blood sugar, boost metabolism, reduce triglycerides, and bad cholesterol.
- Black Pepper- has a substance called piperine which blocks the formation of new fat cells.
Despite its benefits, you should consider your present health condition before consuming spicy foods. You should not eat spicy foods before bedtime if you have UTI, and if you have an active ulcer.