6 Surprising Spicy Food Benefits: Turn Up The Heat!

   |  Updated: August 22, 2016 12:35 IST

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6 Surprising Spicy Food Benefits: Turn Up The Heat!
Spicy food is hot right now, and for good reason. Here are 6 spicy food benefits you need to know.

We all love a little spice now and then, primarily for the way it thrills the taste buds and enhances the flavour of any dish. But did you know that spicy food is actually good for you? According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, green and red peppers are a powerhouse of essential minerals and contain high levels of Vitamin C.

Here are 6 reasons you need to set your mouth on fire (besides the fact that everything tastes better slathered in Sriracha)!

1. Promotes Weight Loss

Delhi-based Nutritionist Anshul Jaibharat says, "Spicy food helps in boosting metabolism, which results in fat burning." According to The New York Times, eating spicy food can temporarily boost your metabolism by up to 8%. Turns out that all of that sweating you do while eating spicy food actually serves a real purpose. Eating spicy food also increases satiety, making you feel full while eating less.
 
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2. Prevents CancerCapsaicin, the compound that gives hot chillies its kick, has the ability to kill some cancer cells. According to The American Cancer Society, capsaicin may help slow the growth of prostate cancer cells. Further studies on humans are needed; thus, it is not recommended for treatment at this time.
 
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3. Heart Healthy

Capsaicin, the active ingredient found in cayenne pepper, red chilli peppers and jalapenos may lower bad cholesterol (also known as LDL), thus improving heart health. According to a study presented in the American Chemical Society, capsaicin reduces the buildup of cholesterol in the body by increasing its breakdown rate. This chemical helps to fight inflammation, which is one of the things that can lead to a heart attack.
 
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4. Improves Mood

Spicy food boosts production of feel-good hormones such as serotonin, which help reduce stress, anger and ease depression.
 
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5. Helps You Live Longer

The secret to living longer may very well be eating a chilli or two...or three. A study conducted by the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Harvard School of Public Health in 2015 looked into the eating habits of 500,000 people in China over a five-year period, and found that people who ate spicy foods 6 or 7 times a week had a 14% lower risk of dying prematurely.
 
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6. Relieves Pain

CommentsWhile eating spicy food may cause some temporary pain, applying capsaicin topically is actually known to alleviate it. Capsaicin helps reduce pain by depleting your body's supply of substance P i.e. a chemical component of nerve cells that transmits pain signals to your brain.
 
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Go on, grab those chillies and embrace the heat.

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