Sure, it adds a dose of flavor to mealtime, but is spicy food more than just something that tastes good?
In other words, is spicy food good for you? According to dieticians, kicking up the flavor of your food may indeed come with some health benefits.
Appetite control/weight loss
To begin with, the capsaicin in hot peppers can help you feel full sooner. If you eat spicy food, you’re less likely to overeat because it helps with portion control. It can also boost your metabolism because capsaicin is thought to burn more energy and break down fat. So, if you want to lose weight, adding more spicy food to your diet may just help.
Heart & gut help
Spicy food may also help boost your heart health. Some studies show it may help with things like Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Interestingly enough, it may also be good for your gut and your gastrointestinal tract. Capsaicin has shown promise in inflammation in the gut, which is linked to obesity.
Extremely spicy food sometimes feels a bit “painful”, but the capsaicin extracted from chili peppers is already proving effective for some people in the form of topical creams. Capsaicin-based creams have been used for treating things like arthritis and even fibromyalgia.
The best way to add spicy food to your diet is to start small. To get the most health benefits, steer clear of high fat, heavily processed foods, and instead spice up a healthier, balanced diet, perhaps a vegetable stir fry. Also, don’t try out the hottest foods and hot pepper products in the beginning. Start slow and work your way up the pepper Scoville scale. You’ll probably find your tolerance to “heat” increasing over time, so enjoy getting the most from each and every pepper flavor you sample.