Spicy foods – some of us love it, some of us hate it, some of us can handle it in moderation. Wherever you fall on that spectrum, spicy foods can have their ups and downs.
- Longer Life
A study of over half a million people conducted in China began in 2008 and spanned over seven years. The study found that the group who ate spicy foods at least six times a week lowered their risk of dying by 14%, and eating spicy foods twice a week reduced the risk of death by 10%.
- Weight Loss
Capsaicin creates the scorched feeling when you eat spicy foods, which tends to slow down your eating. Hot peppers are also known to reduce your appetite and aid in speeding up your metabolism. And when you eat spicy foods, you feel fuller longer, further contributing to weight loss.
- Relief From Pain
Capsaicin is also known to encourage the release of endorphins, which help you to feel better naturally.
- Antimicrobial Effects
Spices also show antibacterial properties and slight antifungal benefits.
Capsaicin helps to deal with many autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. It has also been shown that autoimmune diseases are not as common in countries where spicy foods are prevalent.
- Good For Your Heart
Researchers believe that spicy food have a positive effect on your heart. Capsaicin helps to fight inflammation and spicy chilis are able to keep blood from clotting. Spicy foods are also able to lower cholesterol which contributes positively to heart issues, including a decrease in stroke risk.
- Prevents Cancer
Curcumin, found in turmeric, was proven to reduce cancer cells from growing and may prevent them from forming in the first place.
- Clears Sinuses
Many people already know this and often order spicy foods when they are stuffy so they can get relief quickly.
- Scorched Taste Buds
As mentioned, your mouth often feels like it’s on fire after eating spicy foods. Luckily the feeling is only temporary, and can be assuaged by drinking whole milk.
- Blood Thinner
While this was mentioned in the pros section, because capsaicin aids in thinning blood, those who are taking blood thinning medicine should avoid spicy foods.
- Heartburn & Acid Reflux
If you are eating large amounts of spicy foods, you could end up with heartburn and even acid reflux.
- Digestive Issues
If you have a sensitive stomach, spicy foods may easily upset your stomach. If you continue to eat past the pain and fill yourself with spicy foods, the lining of the stomach could become inflamed and you may end up with gastritis. Your upset stomach could also lead to diarrhea, and, depending on how spicy the foods are, you may end up intensifying any existing hemorrhoids.
- Sleep Troubles
Eating spicy foods near bedtime can interrupt your sleep, possibly because your body is unable to cool down right away. If you’re going to eat spicy foods, try eating them earlier in the day rather than near your bedtime.
There are plenty of people who enjoy spicy foods, but there are also those who do it to look cool or tough. Eat it if you enjoy it, but if you’re doing it as a stunt, remember the potential side effects we have just discussed.