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6 Reasons Why Spicy Foods Are Good For You

It is common to think that spiciness is a taste, like sweet, bitter, sour, or salty. However, spiciness is a burning sensation on the tongue's pain receptors rather than a taste.

Therefore, if food substances considered spicy are exposed to other body parts without taste buds, they may cause similar sensations to those produced in the oral cavity, such as heat, pain, or burning. These sensations are caused by the active chemical substance responsible for the spiciness, capsaicin.

Compared to bland food, red chilli peppers reduce your calorie intake by 75 per cent [1]. Moreover, a Purdue University study found that chemical compounds in peppers called capsaicinoids help reduce cravings for sweet, salty, and fatty foods. So, how about we start now? The answer to the question "is spicy food healthy?" is yes!

Reasons Why Spicy Foods Are Good For You

1. Help prevent obesity

Eating foods with capsaicin increases satiety and reduces the number of calories and fat consumed during meals. It has also been shown that eating foods with capsaicin increases energy expenditure and fat tissue oxidation, which might prevent weight gain.

Numerous studies indicate that spices such as cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, peppers, and chillies can increase your metabolic resting rate and decrease appetite [2].

2. May help prevent cancer development

According to preclinical research, capsaicin kills cancer cells and inhibits their growth by causing them to die. Although research on this subject is minimal, and there's no solid evidence that eating spicy chilli peppers will prevent cancer, researchers are discussing the potential of medicines containing capsaicin [3][4].

3. Provides relief for colds

Because capsaicin in the oral cavity and throat causes fluids to flow in the respiratory tract, eating spicy foods may also help relieve breathing during colds, respiratory tract infections, sinusitis, and asthma. In addition, phlegm is easier to expel when it becomes looser and softer [5].

4. Soothes, stomach aches

Perhaps counterintuitive, spicy foods may be just what you need when your stomach hurts. Researchers say chilli peppers and marijuana interact with the same receptors in the stomach to calm an irritable bowel [6].

Anandamide causes the immune system to calm the intestines, including the oesophagus, stomach and pancreas. The chemical also binds to another receptor to recruit immune cells, preventing inflammation.

5. May help extend the longevity

According to a large study conducted by Harvard and China National Center for Disease Control and Prevention, eating spicy food six or seven days a week reduced mortality rates by 14 per cent [7].

6. Eases congestion

One of the most common benefits of spicy foods is that these foods help to ease your sinus congestion and relieve clogged nasal passages. Spicy foods like pepper increase body temperature, which could effectively fight fever and relieve flu symptoms [8].

On A Final Note...

Eating spicy foods in a controlled manner can have a lot of benefits. However, when consumed in large quantities, capsaicin, the fiery compound found in chilli peppers, can cause intense short-term symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. Fortunately, there is no permanent damage to the intestinal lining due to overstimulation of the nervous system.

Story first published: Saturday, August 27, 2022, 13:35 [IST]
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