10 Things That Happen To Your Body When You Eat Spicy Food Every Day
Are you one of those people who carries a bottle of hot sauce with you? If so, you’re not alone by any means. For hundreds of years, spices were a major trading commodity throughout the world. Hot and flavorful dishes from Central and South America, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East have made their way around the world.
Whether it’s hot peppers, curry, or cumin, spice is pretty nice. But what does spice actually do for you, nutritionally? As it turns out, a lot.
But is it safe to eat spicy foods on a daily basis? Here are 10 things that happen to your body when you eat spicy foods every day.
Spicy food can be good for your heart
One of the compounds that makes spicy food hot is called capsaicin. You may have heard of it because of its health properties. Capsaicin has been shown in studies to have good effects on cholesterol, boosting HDL (“good”) cholesterol and suppressing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. It also has shown a beneficial effect on blood circulation, which reduces risks of stroke or heart attack.
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Spicy food eases inflammation in your body
Inflammation is caused by your immune system overcorrecting for a minor threat. This can lead to such conditions as arthritis in your joints and ligaments. However, hot peppers are loaded with capsaicin, which is also a natural anti-inflammatory full of antioxidants. Studies so far are showing promise, and some people take capsaicin as a supplement. But if you can handle the heat, you may as well get your capsaicin the old fashioned way, by eating it.
Spicy food makes your sinuses happy
Capsaicin has another benefit you may have already figured out: spicy food makes your nose run. This is a good thing, especially if you have sinus issues and need to take over-the-counter decongestants.
Rather than taking those, you can keep your sinuses flowing with a little spice in your food. Peppers are high in vitamin A, which help strengthen your body, so it’s also doing you a favor in helping keep your nasal membranes healthy.
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Spicy food may help you lose weight
Here’s a benefit to spicy food that you probably never considered: spicy food is like the polar opposite of sweet food. If you are trying to lose weight, you may have trouble with sugar cravings.
One great way to knock out a sugar craving is to eat something spicy instead. You won’t want to follow it up with anything sweet and you can reduce your sugar intake without feeling deprived. So take a spicy snack instead!
Spicy food may reduce your risk of cancer
Capsaicin has another trick up its sleeve: in medical studies, it has shown to be effective at combating some kinds of cancer cells. This does not mean that this is a cancer cure, or even a cancer treatment.
It does mean that capsaicin has a negative effect on cancer cells, which can help reduce the spread of malignancy. More tests need to be done, obviously, but anything that helps the body fight off cancer is welcome.
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Spicy food is great for your immune system
Peppers can also give you a little extra help fighting off illness and everyday stresses thanks to their high vitamin C content. For instance, one cup of chopped red pepper contains almost three times more vitamin C than an orange, 190 mg.
But other not-so-hot peppers like green or yellow bell peppers can also increase your intake of vitamin C. Peppers of all heat levels also contain vitamin E, folate, and potassium, among other beneficial minerals. So whether you like it spicy hot or mildly hot, peppers do a body good!
Spicy food helps you manage pain better
The skeptical person would say of course spicy food “helps” with pain, because it can cause pain to eat! But that’s not the case at all.
Once again, capsaicin is to thank, as it has shown an effect in lessening chronic pain. This is an added benefit to its ability to keep your circulation healthy. Headaches and other chronic pains can be caused by restricted blood flow to the extremities.
Not only that, but capsaicin also interacts with your brain’s ability to process pain, lessening its intensity. So if you are having constant aches and pains, you may want to supplement your treatment with just a little bit of spice.
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Spicy food may increase your longevity
What does spicy food have to do with how long you live? It’s a cumulative effect. The added benefits of consuming food that has antioxidant properties, reduces your craving for sweets, keeps your sinuses and blood circulation clear, and increasing your intake of water mean that people who eat spicier food are improving their health without even meaning to, which leads to an overall increase in life expectancy.
Spicy food can give you gastrointestinal problems
Let’s get the obvious downside out of the way. Spicy food makes some people uncomfortable. Whether it’s heartburn or stomach issues, some people can’t handle the heat.
The flip side of this is that spicy food can also help keep you regular, since hot foods make you thirsty and staying hydrated is vital to good bowel health. However, spicy food can also trigger loose bowels. You just have to learn what your balance is.
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Spicy food can change your palate
If you haven’t been exposed to much heat in your food, there’s never a bad time to start. You can develop a palate for spice if you take it in slow degrees. You have to build up tolerance for spice, and it’s important not to overwhelm yourself or your dishes.
Learning to enjoy spicy foods can open up a whole new world of tastes for you. Don’t be afraid to try. And spicing up your food may lead you to decreasing your salt intake, which is a good thing.