There’s a new study going around advertising the benefits of eating spicy foods.
Most people enjoy a nice spicy or flavor-filled meal every once in a while. Going to a Chinese restaurant or ordering hot wings really adds some flavor to your diet, but now we will take a further look into why these spicy foods, whose flavor can’t help but do a little dance on your tongue, can prolong your lifespan.
The notion that eating meals with a little kick to them is good for you isn’t necessarily new. In fact, many of the healthiest cultures emphasize the use of the most intense spices. The new study is finally opening the eyes of eaters in the United States, which is long overdue. Interestingly enough, the study links eating spicy foods with living longer, but researchers can’t pinpoint the exact reason why.
Cure The Common Cold
Before we dive into what it is in spicy foods that make you live longer, we’re going to review some of the health benefits. These benefits may be the cause of a longer life considering it’s building up your overall health. For instance, researchers found that eating spicy food ingredients such as peppers or horseradish helps treat the symptoms of the common cold.
They don’t call it the common cold for nothing. Nobody is immune to it—nearly everyone has experienced cold-like symptoms such as coughing, running nose, sneezing, fevers or even aching bodies. You may not know it, but if you eat foods that include pepper or horseradish ingredients it might actually be a better cure than taking Benadryl.
It’s an undisputed fact that spicy foods can also contribute to weight loss. You may ask how weight loss relates to living a longer life, but if you’re overweight, you’re facing a greater mortality risk with each day. Obesity can lead to heart disease and, although the Centers for Disease Control doesn’t list obesity as a direct cause of death, nearly 598,000 people die each year from heart disease related symptoms that are tied to obesity.
By eating a spicy meal, it’s said that your metabolism increases by up to 8 percent. You also sweat more by eating spicy foods and, while sweating may sometimes lead to uncomfortable situations, it does help accelerate fat loss.
Want more proof?
A recent study found that when a group of men ate an appetizer with hot sauce, they ate 200 fewer calories than those who didn’t have hot sauce. This leads to cutting food portions while eating—another proven manner of keeping fat away.
The spicy food increases satiety, thereby allowing you to feel full while eating less. The capsaicin ingredient also destroys nerve fibers that carry information from your gut to your brain. Additionally, capsaicin shrinks fat tissue and lowers blood fat levels, thereby decreasing your chance of becoming obese.
This ingredient contains a thermogenic substance that increases the heat level within your body, which is the reason why we sweat sometimes while eating spicy foods. Your body burns fuel such as fat to create that heat. Thermogenic ingredients increase fat burning by up to 16 percent.
Many studies show how spicy foods can stop cancer cells from reproducing. Obviously this can lead to a longer life because cancer cells are being stopped or prevented from spreading.
Turmeric is a peppery flavored spicy food that is native to India. It contains an active antioxidant called curcumin, which has shown anti-cancer effects in some studies. Although the curcumin can’t be used as part of cancer treatment just yet, it has positive results on slowing down cancer cells.
The American Cancer Society suggests further studies need to happen for it to be considered a possible cancer treatment. It’s also worth noting that one of the most significant ingredients in spicy foods is capsaicin, which activates cell receptors in the lining of your intestines that reduces the risk of developing tumors.
While spicy foods cannot directly be linked with curing or battling cancer, they’ve definitely been linked with helping prevent and aid in the fight against the disease so hitting the Tabasco sauce couldn’t hurt!
Having a healthy heart is a huge contributor to living longer and a diet rich in spicy foods can definitely help. One of the main active ingredients found in jalapenos, cayenne pepper and red chili peppers has been proven to lower bad cholesterol, which leads to improving heart functions and overall health. The ingredient of note is called capsaicin (which, as stated above, also has links to preventing obesity). Capsaicin helps reduce the accumulation of cholesterol by increasing the rate at which the heart breaks it down.
One thing is for sure: It does not waste any time with getting rid of the bad cholesterol. Additionally, this same ingredient has been shown to block genes that narrow your arteries. Blocked arteries force your heart to work harder to do even the most mundane task.
By injecting a little heat in your meals, you’ll help increase the blood flow in your vessels, resulting in a healthier heart as well as better circulation, bigger muscles, and better brain function.
It makes it easier for the blood to travel through your body, but most importantly to your heart. The heat of the pepper, along with vitamins A and C, strengthen the heart muscle walls and increase the blood flow throughout your body. This all leads to a stronger cardio system and prevents any clogged arteries or heart palpitations. Capsaicin is also used to exhaust your nerves so they can’t report pain.
What’s worse than feeling down and out, like the world is against you? We can’t think of much that would top that on the list of things you’d want to avoid.
Depression is a serious issue that people deal with everyday.
More than one out of 10 people battling depression commits suicide. It can lead to difficulty concentrating and making decisions, fatigue and decreased energy, feelings of guilt and helplessness, insomnia or excessive sleeping, irritability, loss of interest in any activity, extreme diet changes, aches and pains and anxiety. Spicy foods, however, contain feel-good hormones such as serotonin, which can help ease depression and stress.
You can also add improving your sex life to the long list of things that spicy foods help with. Ginseng and saffron, both found in numerous deliciously spicy foods, have been proven to boost sexual performance.
How does that help us live longer?
Better sex helps in many ancillary aspects of our overall health, especially our mental well-being, cardiovascular performance and general heart health. And, let’s face it, wouldn’t you want to live longer if you were having awesome sex regularly?
We thought so.
Can Spicy Foods Really Help You Live Longer?
Health benefits aside, the aforementioned new research just changed the game when it comes to discussing exactly how spicy foods are tied to helping people live longer, healthier and better lives. Researchers looked at 500,000 people in China and how often they ate hot or spicy foods with the hopes of linking their longevity to their diet. The age range of the test subjects was 30 to 79 years old.
The research team followed up with the people throughout a seven-year period. During that time, about 20,000 of those people died. The ones who ate spicy foods once or twice a week, however, were 10 percent less likely to die compared to the ones who only ate spicy foods once a week. Additionally, the subjects who ate spicy foods more often, (about three or more times a week), were 14 percent less likely to die while the study was taking place. The researchers still don’t know the exact connection between spicy foods and longer lives, but they were able to better understand the cause and effects, ultimately resulting in some better hypothesis on the phenomenon.
As previously mentioned, consuming spicy foods helps limit bad cholesterol in the heart by having a faster breakdown rate, and it has also been shown to lower inflammation, which involves breaking down the fat in the body and changes the make-up of gut bacteria.
Furthermore, eating chili-rich spicy foods is a major cause to living a longer, healthier life as it protects the body from certain diseases including cancer, ischemic heart diseases and respiratory diseases. All of this is directly linked to living longer, but the researchers are endeavoring to do more studies for more in-depth information.
Spicy foods aren’t restricted to just pepper or chilies. There are other spices you can add to your food that also have great health benefits. For instance, cinnamon is added to a lot of treats to give that extra flavor and it definitely does the trick, but it also packs a serious punch of heat.
Much like the other spices, it helps boost your metabolism, but along with that it assists with blood-sugar regulation. This makes it an ideal seasoning for those who suffer from diabetes. Black pepper is another great example. It contains piperine, which blocks the formation of new fat cells contributing yet again to the prevention of obesity and clogged arteries.
Ultimately, eating spicy food is good for you and can be directly linked to helping you to live a longer life.
The best part?
Anyone can enjoy spicy foods, from kids as young as elementary students to pregnant woman and the elderly. And if the heat is too much for you, don’t worry! There are so many spicy options to pick and choose from that you shouldn’t have any problem finding the precise level of kick to suit your tastes.
Our advice: Add some heat to your meals for the health and flavor benefits and live a longer life in the process!
By Shaire Gadson
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