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Cultures all over the world have dishes that excite and stimulate your palate with spices that add heat and flavor to everyday ingredients. The right balance of spices can enhance any dish, ranging from appetizers to desserts.

While some people prefer more subtle flavors, those who like it spicy can never seem to get enough. If you are looking to heat up your everyday meal, spices such as turmeric, curry, red chilies and hot peppers (such as jalapeno and habanero) may be just what you are looking for!

Hot = Health

Hot Equals HealthyStudies have also proven fiery foods to have far ranging health benefits, possibly due to their high levels of antioxidants. Some of the ailments spicy foods can control or prevent include:

  • constipation
  • depression
  • digestive issues
  • headaches
  • some types of cancers
  • weight control.

While spicy foods have a number of health benefits, they have also been considered exacerbate other health issues including high blood pressure, ulcers, and other digestive problems. However, research has now dispelled this misconception. Hot food increases the secretion of stomach acids, aiding the digestion process. Additionally, they can actually increase your metabolism, help you burn fat faster and even reduce the occurrence of a range of digestive ills.

 

Spicy Food Remedies!

If you are feeling ill, a tea made of honey, lemons and cayenne pepper can help reduce your fever and relieve sinus pressure. Also, eating very spicy foods can help relieve a bout of hiccups.

If the burning sensation caused by sharp foods upsets you, eat starches such as bread and rice. You can also alleviate the sensation with citrus fruits, a glass of milk or even a cold beer. If a child accidentally eats something hot, place a little sugar on their tongue and the pain should dissipate quickly. Although your first reaction may be to chug some cool water, remember that water actually increases the effect of the spice!

 

Capsaicin

Chili PeppersThe chemical that puts the heat in hot peppers, is a colorless compound derived from plants of the genus Capsicum, including jalapeno and habanero peppers. Not only is it responsible for the fiery flavors of peppers, but it can also produce a burning sensation wherever it comes into contact with skin. In fact, chilies and peppers produce it to protect themselves from herbivores in the wild.

The Health Benefits of Capsaicin

Capsaicin has a number of medical benefits that can treat various ailments, including:

  • colds
  • flu
  • headaches and migraines
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • muscle pain
  • sinus pressure
  • slow metabolism.

It has also been shown to reduce the occurrence of strokes and heart disease, especially for those who regularly use this spice in their cuisine. Scientists are looking at the spice as a treatment for some forms of cancer. Several studies have shown that it can help inhibit the growth of cancerous cells, especially those that contribute to leukemia and colon cancer.

 

Diabetics, Take Note!

Capsaicin contains vitamins A, C and beta-carotene, all of which have been shown to help with symptoms of diabetes. It has also been shown as an effective pain treatment for diabetic neuropathy when used as a topical ointment.

 

Turmeric

Turmeric, a cousin of the ginger plant, is plant native to Asia. It is the main ingredient of curry and it is made by grinding down the bulb roots into a fine powder. The compound curcumin is responsible for its spiciness.

The Health Benefits of Turmeric

Curcumin, has been studied for its curative properties. Because it functions as an effective antioxidant, turmeric promotes better blood circulation and even helps to protect the liver. As a topical ointment, circumin is not only an effective anti-bacterial agent, but it also helps alleviate the pain associated with arthritis.

 Posted on : September 25, 2013