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The Health Benefits of Spicy Food

By Sara Butler

Spicy food is more than just something you eat on a dare -- it’s something that is incredibly good for you, too. You may love spice and think you have a gut made of iron, or you may be on the other end of the spectrum and think ketchup is spicy, but there are some really good reasons to try to expand your palate to include some spicy foods. Here are just a few of the health benefits they can offer.

It’s Great for Your Longevity

Everyone wants to have a long and happy life. It turns out that spicy foods may just help you get your wish! Studies have shown that eating spicy foods most days of the week lower mortality rates by up to 14 percent.

It Speeds Up Metabolism

Several studies over the years have all found the same thing: Certain spices, such as turmeric, cumin, chilies, cinnamon, and peppers help to reduce your appetite and raise your resting metabolism. The effect is admittedly mild, but spicing up your life may be that little something extra you need to get over your healthy hump.

It Combats Inflammation

A compound found in turmeric, curcumin, may help to reduce inflammation in the body. Ginger and garlic have also been used for their anti-inflammatory properties by people for hundreds of years to treat conditions such as headaches, nausea, autoimmune disorders, and arthritis. Adding a few of these spices to your diet can’t hurt!

Some Caution

It’s worth mentioning that just as with anything else you eat, moderation with spices is key. Capsaicin, the substance that makes peppers hot, can cause severe short-term symptoms such as vomiting and stomach pain if too much is eaten. This is because it can overstimulate the nervous system and though it won’t cause permanent damage, it can be unpleasant.

If you’re new to spicy foods, then you should start slow and work your way up to spicier things. You won’t have a very pleasant experience if you go from no spice to super spice at the drop of a hat!

The good news is that if you learn to include spices in your diet, it has some legit benefits for your health and wellness. It adds flavor to foods in lieu of salt and can help you cut back on other unhealthy things such as sugar and fat. So go ahead and spice it up!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Albuquerque, N.M.

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