Have you ever heard someone recommend “spicy food” as a weight-loss strategy? It sounds pretty farfetched, I know. All those years of “experts” telling us that “spicy foods cause ulcers, IBS, and or hemorrhoids!
Yeah, so that is actually wrong, and we’re going to dive into this right away!
Let’s start with the technical stuff. Capsaicin (Cap-Say-Sin) is what gives a pepper its heat. It is called a Capsaicinoid (Cap-Say-Sin-Oid). It is as natural as the hot pepper itself, and it’s proven to have many health benefits. Let’s dig deeper into that.
A study done in 2015 by BMJ concluded a mortality risk reduction of 14% in people who ate scorching-spicy foods 6 times a week, compared to those who consumed spicy dishes only one time per week. Increase longevity even more by skipping the Cerveza.
Ulcers? Think twice before blaming the hot tacos. You’re more likely to get ulcers from popping ibuprofen after an injury. Capsaicin will reduce the amount of stomach acid the stomach is producing, if not inhibiting it completely while digestion happens.
UCLA also conducted a study with lab mice, Capsaicin, and prostate cancer cells. They saw a reduction in the cancer cell growth in the mice treated with Capsaicin. Now, that is not a definitive treatment, but it is a cutting-edge science project and, I bet they’ll go places with it!
And of course, the weight-loss aspect: increasing the metabolic resting rate, slowing down the appetite. “Increased energy expenditure and core temperature” was noted during a study on (hot) red peppers. So the Capsaicin is raising the body temperature and encouraging your body to burn more calories. It means hot peppers alone are not enough of a diet plan to help you shed those unwanted pounds, but adding them to a healthy diet and exercise program, will put a little boost in a slowed-down metabolism or during a weight loss plateau.
So no matter how you look at it, and whether you enjoy spicy foods and hot peppers or not:
- Spicy foods are healthy.
- Wash your hands before rubbing your eyes or using the bathroom.
- They won’t cause hemorrhoids but, any anal fissures would be irritated. And, if you DO have digestion issues or spicy foods cause stomach upset for you – it’s not the food – it’s you. Sorry.
- Wear gloves when handling ghost peppers, and use caution when trying the hot pepper challenges.
Turmeric is another spice with recently publicized health benefits. It has been used in many different cultures as an anti-inflammatory and is also a great source of OMEGA-3’s. Traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine uses Turmeric to treat allergies and skin conditions as well.
So if you’re heading out spice shopping any time soon, be sure to add your chili peppers and Turmeric to your list.