Spicy foods are popular all over the world and despite the fact they may cause stomach problems, scientific studies proved they also have positive health effects when consumed moderately.
Hot pepper contains capsaicin, which slightly accelerates the metabolism and helps the body consume calories faster. Moreover, studies have shown that people who eat spicy foods tend to be satisfied with smaller servings, thus eat less calories.
2. Healthy heart
Chilies can also improve your heart’s health having the ability to destroy blood cloths and fight against inflammations known to increase the risk of heart disease. Hot peppers also reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack and lower the negative effects of LDL (bad cholesterol).
Spicy foods are rich in vitamins A and C, which contribute to strengthening the blood vessel walls. According to scientific research, chilies contain a substance that is effective for lowering blood pressure and cause blood vessels to relax.
4. Cancer-fighting properties
Several studies proved that regular intake of chilies and curry lowers cancer risk. In certain cases, capsaicin decreases growth of cancer cells and even destroys some, without affecting healthy surrounding tissue.
5. Improve digestion
Eating chilies and other types of hot peppers can boost the production of gastric acid in the stomach and capsaicin helps kill certain types of bacteria such as Helicobacter Pylori. Still, if you have a sensitive stomach you may need to limit the level of spiciness of your foods and take an antacid if you’ve overdone it.
The curcumin found in turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic agent. Studies showed that using curcumin supplements under a highly bioavailable form was more effective at alleviating rheumatoid arthritis symptoms than the traditional diclofenac sodium treatment.
Another study found turmeric supplements can lower the destruction and inflammation of joints.
7. Reduce cold and flu symptoms
Capsaicin induces sweating and calms the discomfort brought by flu, cold and sinusitis symptoms. It also helps clear a stuffy nose and can be used as a safe, natural treatment compared to over-the-counter nasal sprays which can have side effects, especially when overused.
8. Increase sleep quality
Australian researchers found that people who regularly eat spicy food have less trouble falling asleep (and staying that way). They also wake up easier in the morning and feel more energetic throughout the day.
Chili peppers and other hot peppers raise the levels of endorphins and serotonin (euphoric mood enhancers). Endorphins don’t just induce feelings of euphoria; they also have minor pain relieving properties. When you eat chili peppers, capsaicin is released causing the hot feeling in your mouth. To reduce the pain, the body releases endorphins and the effect can last up to 1 hour.
10. Helps with respiratory problems
Chili peppers thin the mucus in the sinuses, clearing blocked airways. Acting as decongestants and expectorants they can reduce and prevent rhinitis, emphysema and bronchitis as well as alleviate cold and flu symptoms.