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Spicy food: Its top 7 benefits

With all the cold weather most of us experience for many months of the year, getting some added warmth in any way possible can help. Adding a little spicy food to your dinner table can benefit you in a number of ways.

Food with a little kick will do. It doesn’t have to make your eyes water and leave you begging for a cold glass of water to reap the health benefits.

Here are seven reasons you might want to add some extra heat to your favorite dishes:

Turns up the calorie burn

Eating spicy food can bring on a good sweat and that, science has proven, can help burn calories. In fact, it can burn calories eight per cent quicker than foods without the heat of spice. It is true, too, that if you choose spicier appetizers, you’re less likely to eat more of your main meal.

Heart health

Studies have indicated that people who live in countries where the diet tends to be spicier have healthier hearts and fewer incidents of heart attacks. Foods like hot peppers tend to lower bad cholesterol. These foods are high in capsaicin which helps to fight inflammation — a culprit that can lead to poor heart health.

Kicks pain in the butt

The aforementioned capsaicin found in spicy foods like chili peppers is thought to help block the brain’s pain receptors. That is why you find capsaicin in pain relief products like ointments. The burning sensations help to alleviate discomfort associated with many conditions.

Adds to longevity

If you want to say “yes” to a longer life, spicy foods may help. A study coming out of China that looked at half a million people showed that those who eat spicier foods on a regular basis live longer.

Full of vitamins

Things that add heat to food — primarily hot peppers — are full of nutrients that can contribute to good health. They’re especially high in Vitamins A and C and contain minerals which are known to keep colds and flu at bay.

Happy, happy

Consuming spicy food turns on the serotonin in your brain which, studies show, apparently makes it easier for you to deal with depression, anxiety, stress and anger.

A thankful tummy

If you have a stomach ache, eating spicier food may lower gastric acid, new research suggests. Spicy foods also cut the chance of the development of gastric ulcers by more than 50%. That’s a great tradeoff for eating a few hot peppers every once in a while!

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