Add some spice to your diet
Add some spice to your diet By Mandy Nix – Nutrition columnist Oct 26, 2018 Save
Do you love spicy foods? Did you know spicy foods such as hot peppers have health benefits? Capsaicin is the ingredient in hot peppers that makes your mouth feel hot and is also the beneficial health ingredient. Capsaicin has been proven to aid in weight loss, manage chronic pain, boost heart health and help prevent certain cancers. People have not only used spices in food for centuries but also for medicine. Check out the following benefits of adding hot peppers to your diet.
» Nutrition benefits. Hot peppers are a rich source of vitamin C. They also contain antioxidants and flavonoids such as vitamin A and beta-carotene and lutein. Hot peppers contain minerals potassium, manganese, iron and magnesium and are a good source of B-6.
» Heart health. Capsaicin found in spicy foods can help lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure. According to a study reported in Cell Metabolism chili peppers helped reduce blood pressure in hypertensive rats. A study from Harvard University published in 2015 in “British Medical Journal” showed that people who make spicy foods a part of their diet have lower rates of mortality.
» Antimicrobial and antibacterial. Capsaicin has been shown to have antimicrobial effects. Peppers also contain vitamin C which help boost your immune system.
» Live longer. A study at the University of Vermont showed that consumption of hot red chili peppers is associated with a 13 percent reduction in total mortality, particularly in deaths due to heart disease or stroke.
» Boost metabolism. According to a study in “Bioscience Reports,” capsaicin has multiple benefits for metabolic health, especially for weight loss in obese individuals. A study in “International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition” concluded that chili peppers can help in weight management and the consumption of chili can help accelerate weight loss.
» Anti-inflammatory properties. Capsaicin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.
» Helps with pain/headaches. Many topical pain relief creams and patches contain capsaicin. According to the Arthritis foundation, in a 2010 German study, joint pain decreased nearly 50 percent after three weeks use of 0.05 percent capsaicin cream. A study in “International Journal of Clinical Practice” showed that topical capsaicin may relive migraines.
Not a fan of spicy food? You can still get the health benefits by adding spices with a milder spice to your dishes. Spices such as ginger, cumin, coriander and red pepper flakes provide health-promoting benefits as well.
To add more spice to your recipes, try adding green or red chili peppers to chili, make a homemade curry sauce to pair with your stir-fry, or make a spicy homemade salsa with jalapeno peppers to keep on hand for snacking.
Mandy Nix is a registered dietitian in Morganton who writes a weekly nutrition column for The News Herald. For questions, contact her at .