While it's true that some people despise spicy foods, a good portion of us love the food and crave it on a daily basis. We live for hot peppers, fiery-hot wings and spicy seasonings on top of just about everything (except for desserts — that would just be wrong). Thankfully, spicy foods are generally good for us. As with anything, though, it's important to remember to eat a balanced diet so our bodies get what they need on a daily basis. Due to the health benefits that spicy foods provide, we can add "spicy foods" to our daily diet, guilt-free!
Spicy foods are good for your heart. Cultures that regularly eat foods rich in spice are significantly less likely to experience a heart attack or stroke. Capsaicin — a compound found in peppers and hot chilies — helps lower bad cholesterol and reduces inflammation.
Did you know? Turmeric's root can be used for headaches, colds, stomach pain, arthritis, heartburn and menstrual problems, according to WebMD.
Though spicy foods are not a full-on cure for cancer, they can help prevent it. Capsaicin has been found to kill some cancer cells, according to the American Association for Cancer Research. Another spice — turmeric — has been shown to help slow down the spread of certain cancer cells, such as prostate. Turmeric is an Indian spice and is actually the main spice in curry.
Spicy foods help rev up your metabolism — so eat up! After eating something spicy, you burn more calories than if you were to have eaten something bland. Also, studies show that spicy foods leave you feeling more satisfied than their nonspicy counterparts. This means you're more likely to stick to your diet and not overeat. Try adding some hot sauce to your next meal and see if you notice a difference.
Though heart health, cancer prevention and weight loss are reasons enough to add more spice to your life, there are some smaller, hidden benefits to eating spicy foods as well. These include:
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