Step into the sweltering land of the hot pepper. Aside from the possible hearburn and even maybe the bad rap associated with eating spicy foods, there are some health benefits that make eating spicy foods worthwhile. Following, I will outline some of these positives. Now be careful, I’m not telling you to go out and just start devouring chili peppers as that probably will not sit well.
Hot peppers contain capsaicin, which is the heat you feel when you eat the hot pepper. The more capsaicin in a pepper the hotter the pepper. With more capsaicin comes more of the wonderful antioxidants and all of the benefits. See what eating spicy foods can do for you.
Weight loss: Capsaicin can help to speed up metabolism, which helps the body to burn calories faster. If you are trying to lose weight, hot peppers help ease hunger pains; with your metabolism sped up, it may help to reduce the amount of calories you consume.
Cancer-fighting Properties: There are a lot of studies that have shown that eating chili and curry dishes regularly will decrease the risk of cancer. Capsaicin helps slow the growth of cancer cells. The main component in curry, is curcumin, which is a pigment that has antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. There was a study done by Rutgers University that looked further into the anti-cancer properties of curcumin and how it could be an effective treatment for prostate cancer. There are a half-million new cases of prostate cancer in the U.S. annually, while in India the disease is rare, where curry dishes are the norm.
Congestion: Capsaicin has powerful antibacterial properties and works very well fighting sinus infections or even just a clogged nose. Since capsaicin increases body temperature and promotes sweating it is helpful in fighting fever and relieving flu symptoms. See our nose clearing lemonade recipe below.
Healthy Heart: Hot peppers can help to protect your heart. Some studies have suggested that peppers can help to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and the formulation of blood clots.
Improved Circulation: After eating spicy foods, your body temperatures are raised (you may even sweat a bit), which in turn increases your blood flow and helps to get your heart pumping. Eating spicy foods when you are hot may help cool you down as well because of the reaction your body has. Peppers are also very high in vitamin A and C, which will help strengthen the blood vessel walls.
With these benefits in mind, it is important to eat spicy foods moderately. You may notice as well that eating spicy foods may become more tolerable over time. If you are sensitive to spicy foods, start slow and just add a little bit at a time to the foods you are eating.
Fun Fact: The Heart Attack Stopper
Using cayenne pepper during a heart attack has been known to help stop a heart attack while it is happening. Renowned healer Dr. John Christopher, N.D. tributes the use of cayenne pepper to stopping multiple heart attacks in his 35 years of practice. This is all from his personal experience and not speculation. He notes that the cayenne pepper must be 90,000 heat units. If the person in question is still conscious while the attack is happening, have them drink a cup of warm cayenne tea. Simply mix 1 teaspoon of cayenne powder in a glass of warm water and have them drink it. This hopefully will help with the attack.
As promised: Cayenne Lemonade
- 1 cup water
- Cayenne Pepper
Bring the water to a boil. After boiled, combine the water with the juice of one lemon and a few dashes of cayenne pepper. Stir well.
This drink will clear a stuffy nose, headache or if you simply want to get rid of the chills on a cold day. You can even try this as a coffee substitute as it may help perk you up.
Now go out and eat something spicy!