Spice it Up!

An interesting and funny conversation with a friend got me thinking about the health benefits of spicy foods. Some people hate it, some people love it and some people are not sure how to feel about it. Regardless of which tip of the scale you fall under, keep reading for all the benefits to make your decision. Capsaicin compound is what makes chilies spicy and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial to the body, providing three times more vitamin C than oranges.

  • Brain function – Capsaicin along with his best friend curcumin compound decreases the risk of developing degenerative brain and nervous system conditions. Alzheimer's leads to the growth of harmful plaques in the brain, and curcumin may be able to slow this process.

  • Sniff Sniff – Eating spicy foods promotes sweating, opens the sinuses, and encourages expectoration, making spicy foods a good thing to eat if someone has a cold.

  • Ouchy Ouch – Spicy foods also appears to be beneficial for pain management and inflammation when used topically on the skin. Capsaicin works by first stimulating and then decreasing the intensity of pain signals in the body. WebMD states: “Capsaicin stimulates the release of a compound believed to be involved in communicating pain between the nerves in the spinal cord and other parts of the body”. Capsaicin cream offers pain relief for many conditions including arthritis, nervous system problems such as shingles, skin conditions like psoriasis, pain caused by surgery, and mouth sores caused by chemotherapy or radiation.

  • Loose it – Eating spicy foods also increases the metabolism, encouraging people to process food more quickly, leading some researchers to suggest that spicy foods may help with weight loss. Red peppers suppressed appetite and led people to reduce their fat, protein, and caloric intake. Now I know why the lemonade diet uses cayenne pepper as one of its three ingredients. As a side note, this diet will make you loose a few pounds and sure make your tummy look flat, BUT will make you drowsy and tired, BEWARE!

  • <3 Health – Eating chili peppers may also improve circulation and lower blood pressure, which reduces strain on the heart

  • SMILE – Eating chili peppers boosts the production of endorphins, "natural opiates" that dull pain and promote a sense of wellbeing.

  • Spice up your sex life – We all know about the great benefits of sex, and chilies can help you heat up your sex life, due to capsaicin. Capsaicin stimulates nerve endings to release chemicals, raising the heart rate and possibly triggering the release of endorphins giving you the pleasurable feeling of a natural high. Spicy foods get the heart pumping and induce sweating.

Note to all the sensitive folks out there … to lessen the pungency

  • the seeds can be discar

  • if you eat bananas along with the peppers, you may reduce the burning sensation!!! (as a side note: bananas are also known to be an aphrodisiac, because they contain chemicals that reportedly have a mood-lifting effect on the brain and raises self-confidence)

Eating LARGE amounts of chili peppers may cause stomach ulcers! Everything is moderation is key.

Have a spicy day